An in-depth analysis of the ‘Kanye Madness’ bracket

The Kanye Madness bracket, created by 610 Sports Radio host Carrington Harrison and friends, went viral on Twitter on Selection Sunday. Via Carrington Harrison

While today is the day that college basketball fans can gush over their smart picks or fuss over their busted brackets in the NCAA tournament, social media has provided the world an outlet for a different kind of March Madness: Kanye Madness.

A bracket of 64 of the Chicago-raised rapper’s greatest hits went viral because of a tweet on Sunday, sending the internet into a frenzy. While the actual bracket will be decided by Twitter polls throughout the month, an in-depth analysis of the field is necessary to truly crack into this blessed tournament of Kanye’s best.

Each of the four “regions” are named after his mom (Donda) and his three children (North West, Saint and Chicago). Starting with the upper left bracket, North West, there is already a plethora of tough decisions to be made. 

North West

For anyone attempting to fill out the bracket, the North West region doesn’t make it an easy start. The No. 1 seed “Can’t Tell Me Nothing” (2007) has a pretty unfair first round against “Amazing” (2009), a track that really shouldn’t be a No. 16 seed. The closest first round matchup of the region? “So Appalled” (2010) versus “Never Let Me Down” (2004), two classic tracks featuring Kanye and Jay-Z.

Other slighted songs include “Real Friends” (2016) and “Famous” (2016) as No. 13 and 14 seeds, respectively, despite being two of the strongest tracks on “The Life of Pablo” (2016). “Hey Mama” (2005) as a No. 12 seed is pretty disrespectful, too.

Songs from “My Dark Beautiful Twisted Fantasy” (2010) should win out in this region, though, as “Devil in a New Dress” (2010) and “So Appalled” are two of the best sleeper cuts on the album and in Kanye’s entire discography. Look out for “Love Lockdown” (2008) and “New Slaves” (2013) as songs that could make a surprising run.

Winner: “Devil in a New Dress”

Runner-Up: “New Slaves”

Donda

Moving on to the Donda region, this set of matchups contains perhaps the most unfair bout of the entire first round: No. 4 seed “Runaway” (2010) and No. 13 seed “Blood on the Leaves” (2013). Both are seeded worse than they should be, and both have the potential to do serious damage in any Kanye Madness tournament if they didn’t have to face each other so early.

The No. 1 and No. 2 seeds of this region should be chalk, as “All Falls Down” (2004) should easily trounce “Addiction” (2005), and “All of the Lights” (2010) has a clear advantage over “School Spirit” (2004). Overall, there probably won’t be too many upsets in this region — the committee that seeded this tournament did a good job with Donda.

The toughest matchup is “The Glory” (2007) versus “Get Em High” (2004), which are both excellent non-singles off of their respective albums. That decision likely won’t matter though, as everyone in this region will have to eventually run into “Runaway,” which will easily win and make its way to the Final Four. “Blame Game” (2010) off of “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” could make an interesting run, too.

Winner: “Runaway”

Runner-Up: “Blame Game”

Chicago

“Jesus Walks” (2004), one of Kanye’s most iconic hits ever, comes through as the No. 1 seed of the Chicago region; “Murder to Excellence” (2011) doesn’t stand a chance. Everything else in the region is pretty close, with tons of tough choices like “We Major” (2005) versus “30 Hours” (2016) and “Slow Jamz” (2003) versus “No More Parties in LA” (2016).

“The Life of Pablo” in general received a lot of unfair treatment in the tournament, getting some awful seeding for the first round. In what world is “No More Parties in LA” a No. 14 seed? It’s clear the person who made this tournament is an old Kanye fan, even though they did a solid job with most of the bracket.

“Jesus Walks” should make it through without much incident, though it’ll be interesting to see how the songs from “The Life of Pablo” will hold up, especially with a lot of younger fans voting on Twitter. “No More Parties in LA” could make a run, but don’t sleep on the lasting popularity of “Gold Digger” (2005) either.

Winner: “Jesus Walks”

Runner-Up: “No More Parties in LA”

Saint

“Late Registration” (2005) gets some serious love here, as it’s represented by four of the tracks here in the Saint region. They’re all excellent tracks, and most of them will likely fall to each other rather than any other song in the bracket.

But, if the Donda region will be known for its lack of upsets, Saint will likely be known for how many it has. “Bound 2” (2013), “Ultralight Beam” (2016), “Dark Fantasy” (2010) and “Homecoming” (2007) all have a decent shot at taking over their lower-seeded counterparts.

“Late Registration” will win the day eventually, though; “Heard ‘Em Say” (2005) and “Touch the Sky” (2005) will meet each other in the championship of the region. “Touch the Sky” is the favorite here, but “Heard ‘Em Say” just might eek it out due to Twitter being averse to anything too popular.

Winner: “Heard ‘Em Say”

Runner-Up: “Touch the Sky”

Final Four

Sixty-four Kanye songs entered, but only four remain. Only one can be crowned champion. Let’s not mince words here, though, it’s Twitter — “Runaway” had this tournament locked up from the beginning. The track has been a fan favorite for years; it is the perfect song to take over a bracket challenge like this.

On the other side of the bracket, “Jesus Walks” will probably take the cake over “Heard ‘Em Say,” as its classic-ness supersedes Twitter’s averseness to popularity. And as amazing as “Jesus Walks” is, it will lose a close battle to “Runaway.”

Winner: “Runaway”

Runner-up: “Jesus Walks”

What a tournament. Every March should have this kind of Kanye devotion for the rest of time. Or just every month in general. The concept has already spun imitations like Drake Madness bracket and has grabbed the attention of hundreds of thousands of Twitter users worldwide.

Kudos to the team that created this idea and the bracket, as it should make for a fun March for all Kanye and/or non-sports fans. They only made one mistake: “Everything I Am” (2007) is nowhere to be found.


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