For both Jay Z and Kanye West, the collaborative vanity project might have seemed unnecessary at the time of its release. Did rap’s biggest stars of the moment sincerely need to cement their status as hip hop royalty, and if so, would it meet with the wild expectations of their respective fanbases? Despite some overlap there, both artists were beloved for distinctly different reasons. The combo of Yeezy’s insecure ego and Hov’s grand-statesman posture — presented over some of the slickest production of the decade — proved undeniably effective in the long run, raising the bar for what commercial rap would bring next in the ensuing years.
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