Kanye West’s ‘808s & Heartbreak’ Turns 10

The album that made it okay to cry in hip-hop.

It’s been 10 years to the day since the release of Kanye West’s 808s & Heartbreak.

Recorded in a cloud of extreme personal anguish, following the accidental death of his mother, Donda West, and the broken engagement with a his fiancée of 5 years, Kanye secluded himself in the studio to craft one of the most influential and conceptually strong pop albums of the 21st century.

Raw, exposed, minimal and grey, the album is a bad dream that keeps recurring. It’s a broken heart you can’t mend, an expression of deep pain and profound sorrow over loss. It’s a meditation – amid mourning, emotional devastation and existential turmoil – kept afloat by a desperate determination to make it through.

But most importantly, it’s a universal parable on love, both lost and found; a universal human trial that will always ring true.