Kanye West’s ‘Graduation’ Ten Year Anniversary: His Rock Sta Breakout

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Saturday, June 27, 2015. 130,000 people are standing in the middle of a field in England, gazing in wonder at a giant glowing pyramid. It’s the annual Glastonbury festival and the object of their amazement, Kanye West, is stalking the stage like a caged lion. A massive lighting rig hangs over his head, flashing varying arrangements of a yellowed hew. Just before ripping into “Gold Digger” a thought enters his brain, a claim, a boast he wishes to share with his army of worshippers.

“I’m going to say this tonight, ‘cause 20 years from now, 30 years from now, 40 years from now I might not be able to say it,” he begins. “Play it, I’m gonna say it right before the beat drop,” he commands his musical director Mike Dean.” The sound of Jamie Foxx’s voice fills the fields, and then Kanye drowns him out. “You are now! Watching! The greatest living rock star on the planet!” All hell breaks loose below.

Who knows what the landscape of pop music, rock music, or rap will look like, who will rise, who will fall in two, three or four decades’ time, but in that moment, Kanye was right. He was the greatest living rock star on the planet. Actually, he had been for eight years leading up to that moment. From the day the “Louis Vuitton Don” closed out Ye’s College trilogy with the release of his third album Graduation, Kanye transcended petty things like genre and became the true rock star he always proclaimed himself to be.

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