808s & Heartbreak
|808s & Heartbreak|
|Studio album by Kanye West|
|Released||November 24, 2008|
|Recorded||September – October 2008|
|Kanye West chronology|
|Singles from 808s & Heartbreak|
808s & Heartbreak is the fourth studio album by American recording artist Kanye West. It was released on November 24, 2008, by Roc-A-Fella Records. West recorded the album during September and October 2008 at Glenwood Studios in Burbank, California and Avex Recording Studio in Honolulu, Hawaii, with the help of producers No I.D., Jeff Bhasker and others.
Conceived in the wake of a series of distressing personal events, 808s & Heartbreak marked a major musical departure for West from his previous rap records, instead featuring a sparse, electronic sound and West singing through an Auto-Tune vocal processor. His lyrics explored themes of loss, alienated fame, and heartache, while the album's production abandoned conventional hip hop sounds in favor of a minimalist sonic palette, which included prominent use of the titular Roland TR-808 drum machine.
808s & Heartbreak debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, selling 450,145 copies in its first week. Despite varying responses from listeners, the album received positive reviews from most critics and was named one of 2008's best records in several year-end lists. Four singles were released to promote the record, including the hit singles "Love Lockdown" and "Heartless".
808s & Heartbreak has since been cited as a prominent influence on subsequent hip hop, pop, and R&B music, as a new wave of rappers, singers, and producers came to adopt aspects of its style and thematic content. By 2013, it had sold 1.7 million copies in the United States.
Following the release of his third studio album Graduation, the remainder of 2007 and the following year featured events that profoundly affected Kanye West. On November 10, 2007, West's mother Donda West died due to complications arising following cosmetic surgery involving a tummy tuck and breast reduction procedure. Months later, West and fiancée Alexis Phifer ended their engagement and their long-term intermittent relationship, which had begun in 2002. At the same time, West struggled to adapt to his newfound pop star status he had once striven to achieve, often becoming the subject of media scrutiny. The loss, loneliness and longing for companionship and a sense of normality served to inspire 808s & Heartbreak. West stated that "This album was therapeutic – it's lonely at the top." A photograph taken by Danny Clinch of West kissing his mother on the cheek was included in the album's booklet liner notes.
West felt that his emotions could not be fully expressed simply through rapping, which he said had limitations. There were "melodies that were in me", he explained. "What was in me I couldn't stop." West went to classify 808s & Heartbreak as a pop album, asserting his disdain towards the contemporary backlash to the concept of pop music and expressed admiration for what some pop stars have accomplished in their careers. He later stated that he wishes to present the music as a new genre called "pop art," clarifying that he was well aware of the visual art movement of the same name and wished to present a musical equivalent. "Either call it 'pop' or 'pop art,' either one I'm good with," he later stated.
Recording and production
The album was recorded over a span of approximately three weeks from September to October 2008. Recording sessions took place at Glenwood Studios in Burbank, California and at Avex Recording Studio in Honolulu, Hawaii. As implied by its title, 808s & Heartbreak prominently features the Roland TR-808 drum machine. Drawing inspiration from 1980s synthpop and electropop performers such as Phil Collins, Gary Numan, TJ Swan and Boy George, West felt that the 808 is a resourceful instrument that can be used to evoke emotion; the concept was introduced to him by Jon Brion. West utilized the sounds created by the 808 and manipulated its pitch to produce a distorted, electronic sound, an effect he referred to as "heartbreak". He felt the characteristic of the sound was representative of his state of mind. According to West, the fact that Hawaii's area code was "808" was coincidental, as he had already developed the album's title before being informed. The realization inspired him to pursue his direction with the album, however. In terms of musical direction, West's intentions, according to Mike Dean, were to go against the typical sound of hip hop beat, instead evoking the presence of tribal drums. Overall, West maintained a "minimal but functional" approach towards the album's studio production.
The album makes prominent use of the voice audio processor technology of Auto-Tune. West had previously experimented with the technology on The College Dropout for the background vocals of "Jesus Walks" and "Never Let Me Down", but he had not used it for lead vocals until 2008. "We were working on the remixes for Lil Wayne's 'Lollipop' and Young Jeezy's 'Put On' and he fell in love with the Auto-Tune", producer Mike Dean explained. Towards the end, West enlisted T-Pain for coaching on how to utilize the technology. West himself openly stated that he loved using Auto-Tune and was dismayed that the term has been commonly associated with being "wack". He considers the technology "the funnest thing to use" and compared the situation to when he was a child and thought the color pink was cool until someone told him "it was gay", producing an analogy of how the views of society can rob people of their confidence and self-esteem. He later went on to state that he enjoyed the electronic feel produced by Auto-Tune and sought out to juxtapose the mechanical sounds with the traditional sounds of taiko drums and choir monks.
Rapper Kid Cudi, who had signed onto West's G.O.O.D. Music label, contributed to two of the album's songs. Young Jeezy contributed a rap verse on the track "Amazing" while "See You in My Nightmares" is a duet with Lil Wayne. Singer-songwriter Esthero provided the few female vocals found on the album; credited under birth name Jenny-Bea Englishman, she co-wrote three tracks. When "RoboCop" appeared on the Internet, West disclaimed responsibility and was upset that the leak had occurred as the track was an unfinished version. Mike Dean had previously stated that the track was expected to receive additional treatment by Herbie Hancock before the album's release.
Music and lyrics
Sample of "Amazing", where West's Auto-Tuned voice is showcased.
"Heartless" features a cold, detached aesthetic.
|Problems playing these files? See media help.|
808s & Heartbreak is a radical departure from West's previous hip hop albums. According to 33⅓ writer Kirk Walker Graves, 808s & Heartbreak is an avant-garde electropop album. Rolling Stone magazine called it an "introspective, synthpop album," while The 405 described it as West's "experimental pop record." According to The Independent, West abandoned his customary hip hop sound in favor of sparse, drum machine-based electropop. Pitchfork's Scott Plagenhoef also categorized the album as "an introspective, minimal electro-pop record", but added that it is "steeped in regret, pain, and even more self-examination than a typical Kanye West album". Music writer Robert Christgau called it a "slow, sad-ass and self-involved ... breakup album" and analyzed that West's choice to "robotize as well as pitch-correct his voice both undercuts his self-importance and adds physical reality to tales of alienated fame that might otherwise be pure pity parties". Christgau asserted that its final track "Pinocchio Story" is "the only track here about what's really bringing [West] down: not the loss of his girlfriend but the death of his mother, during cosmetic surgery that somewhere not too deep down he's sure traces all too directly to his alienated fame." Andre Grant of HipHopDX wrote that "to combat this trenchant melancholia, he poured himself into an all-autotunes R&B album" which would prove divisive in hip hop. West's singing has been characterized as "flat" and "nearly unmelodic" which "underscores his own cyborgish detachment." Canadian writer Stephen Marche viewed that West used "the shallow musical gimmickry of Auto-Tune, a program designed to eliminate individuality, and produced a hauntingly personal album."
The music of 808s & Heartbreak draws heavily on electronic elements, particularly virtual synthesis, the Roland TR-808 drum machine, and explicitly auto-tuned vocal tracks. Tracks on the album utilize step input drum machine and synth-bass parts. Step input sequencing, a product of vintage analogue devices limited to recording only 16 individual notes, was popular in music production during the 1980s, but also became available in digital workstations. The album's music features austere production and elements such as dense drums, lengthy strings, droning synths, and somber piano. Andy Kellman of AllMusic writes of the music, "Several tracks have almost as much in common with irrefutably bleak post-punk albums, such as New Order's Movement and The Cure's Pornography, as contemporary rap and R&B." These musical elements help convey moods of despair and dejection that reflect the album's subject matter. NJ.com columnist Trist McCall wrote that the record "stripped modern art-pop down to its iconic rudiments — beats, charismatic personalities, hand-selected melodies, and computer-assisted vocals." Most of the lyrics are directed at an ex-lover; West refers to her treatment of him as "the coldest story ever told" on "Heartless", and on "RoboCop", she is called a "spoiled little L.A. girl" and is compared to the antagonist in the 1990 film Misery. On "Welcome to Heartbreak", West's character faces an existential crisis as he dispassionately recounts sitting alone on a flight, with a laughing family seated ahead of him. He longs for his late mother on the album's penultimate track "Coldest Winter", which samples the desolate 1983 song "Memories Fade" by Tears for Fears.
Release and promotion
On September 24, West announced that he had finished the album and would be releasing it sometime in November. In his blog post, he wrote "I changed my album to November something cause I finished the album and I felt like it..I want y'all to hear it as soon as possible". West later stated that the album would be released on November 25, 2008. However, Island Def Jam, the distributing label, brought the date forward by one day to capitalize on Thanksgiving weekend. 808s & Heartbreak was also released on November 24, 2008 in the United Kingdom and the Philippines. A limited edition in a digipak case was first released in Germany on November 21, 2008. A special edition of the album was released on December 16 that contains the album in CD and dual LP format, and also features album artwork redone by the artist of the original cover, KAWS.
On October 16, West released an excerpt of "Coldest Winter" on the radio station Power 106 in Los Angeles. The track recreates elements of the song "Memories Fade" by the band Tears for Fears. The song "Paranoid" later leaked onto the Internet and features Mr. Hudson in the chorus. A remixed version of "Paranoid" was reported to feature pop singer Rihanna, but did not materialize. Also appearing prior to the release date were "Amazing" featuring Young Jeezy, "See You in My Nightmares" featuring Lil Wayne, "Street Lights", "Say You Will", "Welcome to Heartbreak" and "Bad News". An additional track, "Pinocchio Story" is a freestyle recorded at a live concert in Singapore. It was included in the album at the request of Beyoncé Knowles.
On October 14, West, in collaboration with Italian artist Vanessa Beecroft, hosted a promotional album listening event at Ace Gallery. Over 700 guests were invited to preview the entirety of 808s & Heartbreak. Under Beecroft's guidance, the event featured approximately forty nude women wearing nothing besides wool masks who silently stood in the center of the room. The women were illuminated by multicolored lights that would change as the music progressed. When it came time for him to speak, West stated that he'd been a fan of Beecroft's work and strong imagery, saying that he liked the idea of nudity because "society told us to wear clothes at a certain point". Beecroft had been contacted a month prior and conceptualized and generated the installation in a week. Beecroft admitted that while he had caught her offguard, she had the opportunity to hear the album for herself and heard things that touched her own life. Five days later, promotional photos for the album by photographer Willy Vanderperre were released. The images portrayed West wearing a grey glen plaid suit, large browline glasses, and a heart-shaped pin.
In October 2009, West was scheduled to embark on a tour, Fame Kills: Starring Kanye West and Lady Gaga tour, in promotion of Gaga's The Fame, and West's 808s & Heartbreak. It was canceled on October 1, 2009, without reason. Several songs from the album were performed by West during his live VH1 Storytellers performance, such as "Heartless", "Amazing" and "Say You Will." In the interim, director Nabil Elderkin directed two additional promotional videos for the album. "Welcome to Heartbreak", which featured an artistic use of liberal compression artifacts, was released in June 2009. A remixed version of "Coldest Winter" was released in February 2010. This video featured a woman in a wedding gown running away from a cult group through a moonlit forest.
|The A.V. Club||B|
808s & Heartbreak received generally positive reviews from critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream publications, the album received an average score of 75, based on 36 reviews. Chris Richards from The Washington Post called it "an information-age masterpiece", while USA Today critic Steve Jones said "West deftly uses the 808 drum machine and Auto-Tune vocal effect to channel his feelings of hurt, anger and doubt through his well-crafted lyrics". Dan Cairns from The Times stated, "This so should not work...Yet 808s & Heartbreak is a triumph, recklessly departing from the commercially copper-bottomed script and venturing far beyond West’s comfort zone." Rolling Stone's Jody Rosen commended West's incorporation of the Roland TR-808 drum machine and described the album as "Kanye's would-be Here, My Dear or Blood on the Tracks, a mournful song-suite that swings violently between self-pity and self-loathing". In the Chicago Tribune, Greg Kot called it West's "most radical yet" and said while West's fans may be disappointed, "this one is for him. It remains to be seen if he goes back to making records for everybody else. For now, this is one fascinatingly perverse detour." PopMatters critic Dave Heaton was impressed by West's "song and album construction, and with the way he captures a particular feeling through unusual, evocative, carefully crafted music that’s both simple and complex, cold and warm, mechanical and human, melodic and harsh". Writing for MSN Music, Robert Christgau found it "brilliant" with a unique "dark sound" and "engaging tunes", despite a second-half drop-off, and praised West's use of Auto-Tune, which he felt "both undercuts his self-importance and adds physical reality to tales of alienated fame that might otherwise be pure pity parties".
In a less enthusiastic review, The Independent found West's "immersion in personal misery" uncomfortable and commented that the "stylistic tropes quickly become irritating". AllMusic editor Andy Kellman stated "no matter its commendable fearlessness, the album is a listless, bleary trudge along West's permafrost". Charles Aaron from Spin criticized the songs' musical structures, calling the album "a long processional that starts and restarts and never reaches the ceremony". Slant Magazine's Wilson McBee panned West's singing, while Jon Caramanica from The New York Times singled it out as the "weakness for which this album will ultimately be remembered, some solid songs notwithstanding." Caramanica wrote that, "at best, it is a rough sketch for a great album, with ideas he would have typically rendered with complexity, here distilled to a few words, a few synthesizer notes, a lean drumbeat. At worst, it’s clumsy and underfed, a reminder that all of that ornamentation served a purpose". Chicago Sun-Times writer Jim DeRogatis stated, "If West had interspersed the more mechanical tracks with some that were the exact opposite—say, simple piano interludes provided by his old collaborators John Legend or Jon Brion—he might have made a masterpiece. Instead, he's merely given us an extremely intriguing, sporadically gripping, undeniably fearless and altogether unexpected piece of his troubled soul."
808s & Heartbreak was voted the tenth best album of 2008 in the Pazz & Jop, an annual poll of prominent American critics. The album was also named one of the ten best albums of 2008 by a number of publications, including the Associated Press (number four), The Hartford Courant (number seven), NOW (number four), The Observer (number eight), Vibe (no order) and Time (number six). Pitchfork named 808s & Heartbreak the twenty-first best album of 2008. Dan Leroy of LA Weekly cited it as one of the top ten hip hop albums of the year. Jam! named it the top album of 2008. Chicago Sun-Times writer Jim DeRogatis included the album on his list of the year's ten best albums and wrote, "With every listen, the poignancy of these personal tales of loss grows deeper, perfectly matched by the cold, lonely, robotic but nevertheless winning grooves that accompany them. Upon further reflection, it is a brave and daring 4-star effort that deserves to be heard by any fan of adventurous pop music." Time Out New York featured the album on its list of the Best and Worst Albums of 2008. The magazine's writer Colin St. John cited 808s & Heartbreak as one of the worst of 2008, and editor Steve Smith named it third on his best-of list, while calling the album "the year's most misunderstood triumph."
Despite its accolades, 808s & Heartbreak was largely overlooked as a contender for the 52nd Grammy Awards. According to Vibe magazine editor-in-chief Jermaine Hall, West's controversial incident at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards and the ensuing backlash against West "probably hurt him", but perceived West's stylistic change on the album as the primary reason for it not being nominated. West received one solo nomination, Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group for "Amazing", and five other nominations for his guest appearances and collaborational work. 808s & Heartbreak received a nomination for Outstanding Album at 40th annual NAACP Image Awards. The album also received a nomination for Best Album at the 2009 MOBO Awards. In 2009, Rolling Stone ranked it number 63 on its list of the 100 Best Album of the Decade, and Q named it the decade's 81st best record. On similar lists, Slant Magazine and PopMatters ranked it 124th and 42nd, respectively.
In its first week of sales, 808s & Heartbreak reached the number one spot on Billboard 200, selling 450,145 units in its first week. In the last week of the year, 808s & Heartbreak sold 165,100 copies, jumping from the eleventh spot back up to the number five on the Billboard 200. The album moved up again the following week, selling 70,900 units and landing at number three. On January 27, 2009, 808s & Heartbreak was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America, serving as West's fourth album to ship one million copies in the United States. As of June 14, 2013, it has sold 1.7 million copies in the US, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
Despite the debate and uncertainty surrounding the album's conception, its preceding singles demonstrated outstanding chart performances. Upon its release, the lead single "Love Lockdown" debuted at number three on the Billboard Hot 100 and became a "Hot Shot Debut". It is the highest debut of West's career, the second highest debut on the Hot 100 that year and the tenth song of the millennium to debut in the top three. Grossing over 1.3 million copies at the iTunes Store alone, the single was certified platinum by the RIAA by the end of the year. On August 18, 2010, it was certified triple platinum by the RIAA, for shipments of three million units in the US. The single was also met by positive reviews from music critics, eventually culminating with being crowned "Song of the Year" by Time. The second single, "Heartless" performed similarly and became his second consecutive "Hot Shot Debut" by debuting at number four on the Billboard Hot 100. It was certified double platinum by the RIAA, having shipped two million units in the US. Due in part to the momentum produced by the album's release, certain tracks were met by chart success despite not actually being released as singles. The tenth track "See You in My Nightmares" became yet another "Hot Shot Debut," peaking at number twenty-one in the US and at number twenty-two in Canada while the fourth track "Amazing" charted at 81 on the Hot 100. Following suit, "Welcome to Heartbreak" peaked at number eighty-seven on the Pop 100.
Before its release, reaction to 808s & Heartbreak was mixed, ranging from anticipation to bewilderment and indifference to the album's concept. Upon the unveiling of the lead single "Love Lockdown" at the 2008 MTV Video Music Awards, music audiences were taken aback by the uncharacteristic production style and the presence of Auto-Tune. The negative feedback intensified when West revealed that the entire album would be primarily sung with Auto-Tune rather than rapped and would focus on themes of love and heartache.
Numerous hip hop fans and certain rappers mocked West for becoming "sappy" while others deemed the upcoming LP as a throwaway experimental album. Comparisons were drawn to Electric Circus, an album recorded by West's labelmate and close friend Common. MTV eventually interviewed Common to share his thoughts and views on the artistic direction of the album. Common expressed both his understanding and his support for West's intentions, stating "I love it. I'mma tell you, as an artist, you wanna be free. I'mma do what I feel. You can't just cater to the audience. You gotta say, 'Hey, y'all, this is where I'm at.' For him to do an album called 808s and Heartbreak, you know that's where he is at this moment. I heard some songs, and I think it's fresh. I think the people are ready for it."
West received similar approval from Lil Wayne and Young Jeezy, both of whom contributed to the album. During an interview, when asked what music today inspires him, Wayne stated "everybody's doing their thing, but they're not exciting. Everybody is doing the same thing. That's terrible. Do I love the music that's out right now? I love it with a passion. Does it motivate me? Not one bit. That's because 808s & Heartbreak isn't out yet." Despite the approval from the rap superstars, as well as the record-breaking chart performances of the first two singles, hip hop audiences remained indifferent towards the album, predicting it would flop. Responding to reviews, West stated that he didn't care about sales or getting good ratings, saying that it came from the heart and that's all that matters to him. When asked about the current state of hip hop, West compared it to a high school, stating that hip hop used to be all about being fearless and standing out, and that now it is about being afraid and fitting in.
Legacy and influence
Although West designed it as a melancholic pop album, 808s & Heartbreak had a significant effect on hip hop music. While his decision to sing about love, loneliness, and heartache for the entirety of the album was at first heavily criticized by music audiences and the album predicted to be a flop, its subsequent critical acclaim and commercial success encouraged other mainstream rappers to take greater creative risks with their music. During the release of The Blueprint 3, New York rap mogul Jay-Z revealed that his next studio album would be an experimental effort, stating, "... it's not gonna be a #1 album. That's where I'm at right now. I wanna make the most experimental album I ever made." Jay-Z elaborated that like West, he was unsatisfied with contemporary hip hop, was being inspired by indie-rockers like Grizzly Bear and asserted his belief that the indie rock movement would play an important role in the continued evolution of hip hop.
The album impacted hip hop stylistically and laid the groundwork for a new wave of hip hop artists who generally eschewed typical rap braggadocio for intimate subject matter and introspection, including B.o.B, Kid Cudi, Childish Gambino, Frank Ocean, The Weeknd, and Drake. Jake Paine of HipHopDX dubbed the album as "our Chronic", noting West's effect on hip hop with 808s & Heartbreak as "a sound, no different than the way Dr. Dre's synthesizer challenged the boom-bap of the early '90s." Fact described the record as an "art-pop masterpiece [which] broke the shackles of generations of one-upmanship [in hip hop]." Rolling Stone journalist Matthew Trammell asserted that the record was ahead of its time and wrote in a 2012 article, "Now that popular music has finally caught up to it, 808s & Heartbreak has revealed itself to be Kanye’s most vulnerable work, and perhaps his most brilliant."
According to Greg Kot, 808s & Heartbreak initiated the "wave of inward-looking sensitivity" and "emo"-inspired rappers during the late 2000s: "[It] presaged everything from the introspective hip-hop of Kid Cudi's Man on the Moon: The End of Day (2009) to the wispy crooning, plush keyboards and light mechanical beats of Bon Iver's Justin Vernon and British dub-step balladeer James Blake." Consequence of Sound credited it with shaping subsequent developments in "indie R&B or electropop or whatever you want to call it": "808s' is flooded with R&B and it digitizes the raw emotion and isolated feelings that [James Blake and The Weeknd] have carved their brands out of today." Craig D. Linsey from The Village Voice wrote that the album's "naked humanity ... practically set off the emo-rap/r&b boom that everyone from Drake to Frank Ocean to The Weeknd now traffic in." Marcus Scott of GIANT said rappers such as B.o.B, Drake, and Kid Cudi followed West's album with similarly-minded works, citing West's introspective, emotional themes and synthpop/"Vangelis-inspired" music as influences. In the opinion of Billboard senior editor Alex Gale, the album was "the equivalent of (Bob) Dylan going electric, and you still hear that all the time, in hip-hop and outside of hip-hop." Drake's 2009 mixtape So Far Gone received comparisons from critics to 808s & Heartbreak. Todd Martens of the Los Angeles Times cited 808s & Heartbreak as "the template [...] for essentially the entirety of Drake's young career", and that wrote that he "shares West's love for mood and never-ending existential analysis". In a 2009 interview, Drake cited West as "the most influential person" in shaping his own sound. In 2014, Rolling Stone named 808s & Heartbreak one of the 40 most groundbreaking albums of all time. On September 26, 2015, West performed the album in its entirety at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles.
|1.||"Say You Will"||West||6:17|
|2.||"Welcome to Heartbreak" (featuring Kid Cudi)||4:22|
|4.||"Amazing" (featuring Young Jeezy)||
|6.||"Paranoid" (featuring Mr Hudson)||
|10.||"See You in My Nightmares" (featuring Lil Wayne)||
|12.||"Pinocchio Story (Freestyle Live from Singapore)" (hidden track)||West||6:01|
- "RoboCop" embodies portions of "Kissing in the Rain", written by Doyle
- "Bad News" contains a sample of the recording "See Line Woman" as performed by Nina Simone and written by Bass
- "Coldest Winter" embodies an interpolation of "Memories Fade", written by Orzabal
- Kanye West – executive producer, primary artist
- Kid Cudi – primary artist
- Lil Wayne – primary artist
- Mr. Hudson – primary artist
- Young Jeezy – primary artist
- Romeo Johnson - Vocals
- Kevin Dorley – vocals
- Jim Gilstrap – vocals
- Phillip Ingram – vocals
- Glenn Jordan – vocals
- Kadockadee Kwire – vocals
- Jenny-Bea Englishman – vocals
- Tony Williams – backing vocals
- Olga Konopelsky – violins
- Emma Kummrow – violins
- Luca Mazzochi – violins
- Charles Parker – violins
- Igor Szwec – violins
- Gregory Teperman – violins
- Davis A. Barnett – viola
- Alexandra Leem – viola
- Jeff Bhasker – keyboards
- Vlado Meller – mastering
- Jeff Chestek – engineer
- Andrew Dawson – engineer
- Anthony Kilhoffer – engineer
- Rick Friedric – assistant engineer
- Montez Roberts – assistant engineer
- John Stahl – assistant engineer
- Alan Branch – marketing
- Chris Atlas – marketing
- Don-C – marketing
- Danny Clinch – marketing
- Willy Vanderperre – marketing
- Kris Yiengst – artwork
- Brian Donnelly – deluxe edition artwork
- Virgil Abloh – art direction
- Larry Gold – string Arrangements, string Conductor
- James J. Cooper III – cello
- Jennie Lorenzo – cello
- Carol Corless – package production
- Miles Davis – bass
- Kyambo Joshua – executive producer
- Erik Madro – assistant
- Manny Marroquin – mixing
- Christian Plata – assistant
- J. Peter Robinson – package design
|Australian Albums Chart||12|
|Austrian Albums Chart||50|
|Belgian Albums Chart||21|
|Canadian Albums Chart||4|
|Dutch Albums Chart||42|
|European Top 100 Albums||23|
|French Albums Chart||52|
|German Albums Chart||30|
|Irish Albums Chart||11|
|Italian Albums Chart||65|
|New Zealand Albums Chart||15|
|Norwegian Albums Chart||19|
|Russian Albums Chart||18|
|Swiss Albums Chart||13|
|UK Albums Chart||11|
|US Billboard 200||1|
|Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums||1|
|Canada (Music Canada)||Platinum||80,000^|
|United Kingdom (BPI)||Gold||200,000^|
|United States (RIAA)||2× Platinum||2,000,000^|
*sales figures based on certification alone
- Greene, Jayson (September 22, 2015). "The Coldest Story Ever Told: The Influence of Kanye West's 808s & Heartbreak". Pitchfork. Retrieved February 10, 2016.
- Glover, Scott (November 20, 2008). "Doctor Talks About Donda West's Death". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on December 4, 2008. Retrieved November 23, 2008.
- McGee, Tiffany. "Kanye West's Fiancée 'Sad' Over Breakup". People. Archived from the original on December 7, 2008. Retrieved November 23, 2008.
- STADTMILLLER, MANDY. "GIVE IT A WEST! - KANYE FINALLY WEARS OUT WELCOME; BOOR DE FORCE." New York Post, New York, N.Y., 2009.
- Breihan, Tom (2008). "Post-Graduate Depression". The Village Voice.
- Thorogood, Tom. "Kanye West Opens Up His Heart". MTV UK. Viacom International Media Networks. Archived from the original on December 17, 2008. Retrieved November 24, 2008.
- 808s & Heartbreak (Media notes). Kanye West. Roc-A-Fella Records. 2008. 0-06025-1791919-8.
- Reid, Shaheem. "Kanye West Inspires The Question: Should Rappers Sing?". MTV. Viacom. Archived from the original on December 4, 2008. Retrieved November 24, 2008.
- "MTV News RAW: Kanye West". MTV. Viacom. Archived from the original on December 9, 2008. Retrieved November 24, 2008.
- Bainbridge, Luke (November 30, 2008). "OM Goes On the Road With Kanye West and His New Album Heartbreak". The Observer. London. Archived from the original on February 13, 2009. Retrieved February 21, 2009.
- Macia, Peter. "FADER 58: Kanye West Cover Story and Interview". The Fader. Archived from the original on December 2, 2008. Retrieved November 25, 2008.
- Caramanica, Jon (November 25, 2011). "Kanye West, Flaunting Pain Instead of Flash". The New York Times. Retrieved August 7, 2009.
- "MTV News RAW: Kanye West". MTV. Retrieved November 23, 2008.
- Shaheem, Reid (October 13, 2008). "T-Pain Describes His Involvement On New Kanye West LP; Fat Joe Salutes Lil Wayne's Carter IV Rock Edge: Mixtape Monday". MTV. Viacom. Archived from the original on October 17, 2008. Retrieved November 2, 2008.
- Shaheem, Reid (October 15, 2008). "Kanye West's 808s & Heartbreak Album Preview: More Drums, More Singing, 'No Typical Hip-Hop Beats'". MTV. Archived from the original on October 20, 2008. Retrieved November 2, 2008.
- "Kanye West Focuses On Melodies On 'Minimal But Functional' 808s & Heartbreak". MTV. November 19, 2008. Retrieved November 23, 2008.
- "Kanye West Bares All at Album Listening". Rap Up. Devin Lazerine. Archived from the original on October 18, 2008. Retrieved November 2, 2008.
- "Video: Kanye West Visits Conan O'Brien". Rap Up. Devin Lazerine. Archived from the original on December 17, 2008. Retrieved November 26, 2008.
- Perkins, Brandon (October 1, 2008). "Kid Cudi speaks on 808's & Heartbreak". URB. Archived from the original on October 7, 2008. Retrieved November 2, 2008.
- Powers, Ann (November 21, 2008). "Review: 808s & Heartbreak". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on December 10, 2008. Retrieved November 22, 2008.
- Kaufman, Gil. "Kanye West Swears He Didn't Leak 'Robocop'". MTV. Viacom. Archived from the original on October 30, 2008. Retrieved November 23, 2008.
- Newton, Matthew (December 2008). "Is Sampling Dying?". Spin. SPIN Media LLC. 24 (12): 32. Retrieved March 25, 2012.
- Graves, Kirk Walker (2014). "A (Very) Brief Aside Re: 808s & Heartbreak". Kanye West's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. A&C Black. p. 49. ISBN 1623565421. Retrieved August 3, 2014.
- "Day 'N' Nite by Kid Cudi". Rolling Stone. Retrieved August 3, 2014.
- De Souza, Kris (27 February 2013). "Kanye West - Hammersmith Apollo, London 24/02/13". The 405. Retrieved 19 July 2016.
- "Album: Kanye West, 808s & Heartbreak(Roc-a-Fella/Mercury)". The Independent. London. November 28, 2008. Retrieved August 3, 2014.
- Plagenhoef, Scott. Review: 808s & Heartbreak. Pitchfork. Retrieved August 7, 2009.
- Christgau, Robert. "Consumer Guide: 808s & Heartbreak". MSN Music: 2009-01-12. Archived from the original on August 7, 2009.
- DC Staff. "Power: The Three Kanye West Albums That Changed Music". HipHopDX. Retrieved 19 July 2016.
- Kellman, Andy. Review: 808s & Heartbreak. AllMusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved August 7, 2009.
- Stephen Marche et al. Holt (2011), p. 231.
- Hodgson (2010), p. 61.
- Bennett, Stephen (April 2, 2007). "Step Sequencing In Logic". Sound on Sound. SOS Publications Group. Retrieved March 25, 2012.
- Hodgson (2010), p. 60.
- McCall, Tris. "Album review: Kanye West's 'My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy'". Inside NJ. Retrieved 26 July 2016.
- "Kanye West's Coldest Winter sample of Tears for Fears's Memories Fade". WhoSampled. Retrieved March 25, 2012.
- Shaheem, Reid (June 26, 2009). "Kanye West Moves Up Release Date Of 808s And Heartbreak To November Something". MTV. Viacom. Retrieved September 23, 2011.
- "Kanye West Performs A Part Of Heartless". The Amajanes Blog. August 4, 2008. Archived from the original on December 19, 2008. Retrieved November 17, 2008.
- Montgomery, James (November 10, 2008). "New Albums From Kanye West, Ludacris, Killers To Get Rare Monday Release On November 24". MTV. Retrieved August 12, 2008.
- "Kanye West Discography". discogs. 2008. Retrieved November 16, 2009.
- "Kanye West 808's & Heartbreak Special Edition In Stores Tomorrow!". Roc-A-Fella Records. Roc-A-Fella Records LLC. December 15, 2008. Archived from the original on December 17, 2008. Retrieved December 17, 2008.
- Canwest News Service (October 18, 2008). "Kanye West gives us more 808s and Heartbreak". The Vancouver Sun. Canwest Publishing Inc. Archived from the original on October 21, 2008. Retrieved November 2, 2008.
- "Available for Airplay". FMQB. Friday Morning Quarterback Album Report, Inc. December 17, 2008. Archived from the original on December 16, 2008. Retrieved December 17, 2008.
- "Kanye West – 808's & Hearbreak (Album Review)". The Hip Hop Chronicle UK. November 12, 2008. Retrieved September 24, 2008.
- Appleford, Steve (October 15, 2008). "Kanye West's Listening Party: Lights, Heartbreak, Nudity". Rolling Stone. Wenner Media. Archived from the original on November 4, 2008. Retrieved November 23, 2008.
- "Kanye's 808s & Heartbreak Promo Shots". The Clones. Retrieved November 23, 2008.[dead link]
- "Kanye West and Lady Gaga 'Fame Kills' Tour Canceled". Rolling Stone. October 1, 2009. Archived from the original on October 12, 2009. Retrieved October 26, 2009.
- Plagenhoef, Scott. Review: VH1 Storytellers. Pitchfork. Retrieved January 27, 2010.
- "808s And Heartbreak by Kanye West reviews". Any Decent Music. Retrieved November 2, 2016.
- "Kanye West: 808s & Heartbreak (2008): Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved April 18, 2009.
- Rabin, Nathan (November 25, 2008). "Kanye West: 808s & Heartbreak". The A.V. Club. Retrieved August 14, 2016.
- Greenblatt, Leah. Review: 808s & Heartbreak. Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved August 7, 2009.
- MacPherson, Alex (November 21, 2008). "Kanye West: 808s & Heartbreak". The Guardian. London. Retrieved August 31, 2010.
- "Album: Kanye West, 808s & Heartbreak(Roc-a-Fella/Mercury)". The Independent. London. November 28, 2008. Archived from the original on December 1, 2008. Retrieved September 16, 2012.
- Rosen, Jody. Review: 808s & Heartbreak. Rolling Stone. Wenner Media. Retrieved August 7, 2009.
- Cairns, Dan (November 23, 2008). "Kanye West 808s and Heartbreak". The Times. London. Retrieved August 7, 2009. (subscription required)
- Jones, Steve (November 28, 2008). "Kanye weighs what's lost, gained in '808s & Heartbreak'". USA Today.
- Richards, Chris. "Kanye West, in Perfect Auto-Tune". The Washington Post. Retrieved November 10, 2008.
- Kot, Greg (November 21, 2008). "Kanye West turns '808s and Heartbreak' into his most personal album". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved September 16, 2012.
- Heaton, David. Review: 808s & Heartbreak. PopMatters. Retrieved August 7, 2009.
- Aaron, Charles (November 24, 2008). "Kanye West, '808's and Heartbreak' (Roc-A-Fella)". Spin. Archived from the original on January 6, 2010. Retrieved August 14, 2016.
- McBee, Wilson. Slant Magazine Music Review: Kanye West: 808s & Heartbreak. Slant Magazine. Retrieved November 10, 2008.
- DeRogatis, Jim (November 20, 2008). "Kanye West, "808s & Heartbreak" (Roc-a-Fella/Def Jam) [3 OUT OF 4 STARS]". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved November 25, 2008.
- "808s & Heartbreak". Acclaimed Music. Retrieved September 30, 2015.
- "Best Albums of 2008". Metacritic. 2008. Archived from the original on February 27, 2009. Retrieved April 13, 2009.
- Cummings, Jozen (December 26, 2008). "The Ten Best Albums of 2008". Vibe. Vibe Media Group, LLC. Archived from the original on May 9, 2009. Retrieved April 13, 2009.
- Tyrangiel, Josh (November 3, 2008). "Top 10 Albums: 6. 808s & Heartbreak by Kanye West". Time. Archived from the original on March 29, 2009. Retrieved April 13, 2009.
- Dombal, Ryan (December 19, 2008). "The 50 Best Albums of 2008: 21–30". Pitchfork. Archived from the original on April 8, 2009. Retrieved April 13, 2009.
- Leroy, Dan (December 25, 2008). "From Cool Kids to Kanye: Top 10 Hip-Hop Albums Of 2008". LA Weekly. Village Voice Media. Retrieved April 13, 2009.
- Williams, John (December 23, 2008). "Jam's Top 10 Albums of 2008". Jam!. Canoe Inc. Retrieved April 13, 2009.
- DeRogatis, Jim (December 8, 2008). "The Best Albums of 2008 – Music: Via Chicago". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved December 28, 2008.
- Smith, Steve; St. John, Colin (December 18, 2008). "Best and Worst Albums of 2008". Time Out New York. Time Out New York. Archived from the original on April 24, 2009. Retrieved April 13, 2009.
- Jones, Steve (January 28, 2009). "Grammy snubs: What's next for West and Whitney?". USA Today. Retrieved January 31, 2009.
- 52nd Grammy Awards: Nominees. National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. Retrieved January 12, 2010.
- Gonzales, Nicole; Price, Jennifer (January 7, 2009). "Nominees For the 40th Annual NAACP Image Awards Announced" (PDF). NAACP Image Awards. Fox. Archived from the original (PDF) on February 12, 2009. Retrieved January 10, 2009.
- "The MOBO Awards 2009 Nominations List". MOBO. MOBO Organisation Ltd. August 27, 2009. Retrieved August 27, 2009.
- Staff. 100 Best Albums of the Decade: 63) 808s & Heartbreak. Rolling Stone. Wenner Media. Retrieved December 25, 2009.
- Paine, Jake. Hip Hop Album Sales: The Week Ending 11/30/08. HipHopDX.com. Retrieved December 3, 2008.
- Montgomery, James (December 31, 2008). "Taylor Swift Makes It Three In A Row Atop Billboard Albums Chart". MTV. Viacom. Archived from the original on January 14, 2009. Retrieved January 9, 2009.
- Kaufman, Gil (January 7, 2008). "Taylor Swift Dominates Billboard Chart Again, Kanye West Climbs Back To #3". MTV. Viacom. Archived from the original on January 15, 2009. Retrieved January 10, 2009.
- "RIAA – Gold & Platinum". Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Retrieved August 4, 2011.
- "808s & Heartbreak: Music Charts". hitparade.ch. November 30, 2008. Archived from the original on January 1, 2009. Retrieved December 6, 2008.
- "Chart #1645 – Monday December 1, 2008: Top 40 Albums Chart". RIANZ. Media Sauce Limited. December 1, 2008. Archived from the original on December 4, 2008. Retrieved December 6, 2008.
- Nabavian, Evan (February 24, 2010). "Kanye West Returns With 'Coldest Winter' Video – Viral Videos". Billboard. Retrieved August 4, 2011.
- Cibola, Marco (2013-06-14). "Kanye West: How the Rapper Grew From 'Dropout' to 'Yeezus'". Billboard. Retrieved 2013-06-14.
- "T.I. Back Atop Hot 100, Kanye Debuts High". Billboard. July 2, 2009. Retrieved July 11, 2012.
- kanYe West : Blog. Kanye West's Blog. Retrieved December 3, 2008.
- Tyrangiel, Josh. Time, 2008-12-22, pages 47–8.
- Heartless: Hot 100 Charts. Billboard. Retrieved April 20, 2009.
- "Awards: 808s & Heartbreak". Allmusic. All Media Guide. July 2, 2009. Retrieved July 11, 2012.
- See You In My Nightmares – Music Charts. aCharts.us. Retrieved November 10, 2011.
- "Urban Review: Kanye West, 808s and Heartbreak". The Observer. London: Guardian News and Media Ltd. November 9, 2008. Archived from the original on December 1, 2008. Retrieved November 24, 2008.
- Park, Adam (November 19, 2008). "Kanye West – 808s & Heartbreak". Clash. Archived from the original on December 17, 2008. Retrieved November 24, 2008.
- Barbour, Shannon (November 10, 2008). "Kanye West – '808s & Heartbreak' Review". About.com. Archived from the original on December 29, 2008. Retrieved November 25, 2008.
- Reid, Shaheem (October 3, 2008). "Common Praises Kanye's Singing; Lupe Fiasco Plays CEO: Mixtape Monday". MTV. Archived from the original on December 5, 2008. Retrieved November 23, 2008.
- Reid, Shaheem (October 31, 2008). "Lil Wayne Isn't Inspired By Today's Music; Rick Ross Borrows Beats From Jay-Z, T.I., M.I.A. For New Tape: Mixtape Monday". MTV. Archived from the original on December 8, 2008. Retrieved November 23, 2008.
- "MTV News RAW: Kanye West". MTV. Retrieved November 2, 2008.
- Carmichael, Emma (September 21, 2011). "Kanye's '808s': How A Machine Brought Heartbreak To Hip Hop". The Awl. Retrieved March 13, 2012.
- Kash, Tim; Reid, Shaheem; Rodriguez, Jayson (September 3, 2009). "Exclusive: Jay-Z's Next LP Will Be 'The Most Experimental I Ever Made'". MTV. Retrieved September 3, 2009.
- Kash, Tim; Montgomery, James (September 3, 2009). "Jay-Z Hopes Bands Like Grizzly Bear Will 'Push Hip-Hop'". MTV. Retrieved September 3, 2009.
- Caramanica, Jon (June 11, 2013). "Behind Kanye's Mask". The New York Times. Retrieved June 13, 2013.
- Barli, Nick Huff (2011-11-29). "Childish Gambino AKA Donald Glover talks Kanye West, Nas, Kendrick Lamar". hardknock.tv. Retrieved 2012-12-01.
- Sterling, Scott (November 18, 2011). "Concert review: Frank Ocean reveals the softer side of Odd Future". 89.3 KPCC. Southern California Public Radio. Retrieved March 13, 2012.
- Paine, Jake (November 12, 2011). "Parkbench Studies: Is 808's & Heartbreak Our Chronic?". HipHopDX. Cheri Media Group. Retrieved March 13, 2012.
- Rabin, Nathan. Review: Thank Me Later. The A.V. Club. Retrieved June 15, 2010.
- Twells, John. "Drake: Thank Me Later". Fact Magazine. Retrieved 25 July 2016.
- Trammell, Matthew (July 7, 2012). "Kanye West Claims the Stage in Atlantic City". Rolling Stone. Retrieved July 7, 2012.
- Kot, Greg (November 13, 2011). "Drake album review; Take Care reviewed". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved November 13, 2011.
- "Dusting 'Em Off: Kanye West – 808s & Heartbreak". Consequence of Sound. June 15, 2013. Retrieved November 30, 2014.
- Linsey, Craig D. (January 14, 2013). "The Kanye You Once Loved Is Dead and Gone". The Village Voice Blogs. Village Voice Media. Retrieved January 19, 2013.
- Scott, Marcus (2010-08-11). 3 Electro Hop Superstars | GIANTLife. GIANT. Retrieved May 31, 2011.
- Ryan, Patrick (February 9, 2016). "Is Kanye West the greatest artist of the 21st century?". USA Today. Retrieved February 10, 2016.
- Rodriguez, Jayson (May 28, 2009). "Drake Says Kanye West Is 'The Most Influential Person' On His Sound". MTV News. MTV. Retrieved August 5, 2012.
- Martens, Todd (November 14, 2011). "Album Review: Drake's 'Take Care'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 15, 2011.
- "The 40 Most Groundbreaking Albums of All Time". Rolling Stone. New York City: Wenner Media LLC. December 5, 2014. ISSN 0035-791X. Retrieved December 5, 2014.
- Appleford, Steve (September 26, 2015). "Kanye West Turns '808s & Heartbreak' Into High Art at Hollywood Bowl". Rolling Stone. Retrieved August 30, 2016.
- "Pinocchio Story Freestyle Live from Singapore (Legal Title): BMI Work #10481772". BMI. Retrieved December 14, 2015.
- "Credits: 808s & Heartbreak". AllMusic. All Media Guide. July 2, 2009. Retrieved July 11, 2012.
- "Kanye West – 808s & Heartbreak". aCharts.us. 2008. Archived from the original on December 1, 2008. Retrieved November 10, 2008.
- "ARIA Top 50 Albums Chart". ARIA Charts. Australian Recording Industry Association Ltd. Archived from the original on December 7, 2008. Retrieved November 30, 2008.
- "Classifica settimanale dal 28-11-2008 al 04-12-2008". FIMI. FIMI. December 4, 2008. Retrieved April 11, 2009.
- Россия Top 25: Centr - Эфир в норме (in Russian). 2M-online.ru. 13 December 2008. Archived from the original on 24 July 2011. Retrieved 30 August 2016.
- "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2008 Albums". Australian Recording Industry Association.
- "Canadian album certifications – Kanye West – 808's & Heartbreak". Music Canada.
- "2008 Certification Awards – Platinum". The Irish Charts. Irish Recorded Music Association.
- "British album certifications – Kanye West – 808s & Heartbreak". British Phonographic Industry. Enter 808s & Heartbreak in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select album in the field By Format. Select Gold in the field By Award. Click Search
- Kanye West (2008). 808s & Heartbreak (PDF). (iTunes digital booklet). The Island Def Jam Music Group, 825 Eighth Ave., NY, NY 10019.
I Am... Sasha Fierce by Beyoncé
|US Billboard 200 number-one album
December 13–20, 2008
Circus by Britney Spears
I Am... Sasha Fierce by Beyoncé
|US Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums number-one album
December 13–20, 2008
I Am... Sasha Fierce by Beyoncé