Like anything it's subjective. Kanye gained notoriety primarily through his productions, not necessarily his lyricism or song writing. He has a demonstrated talent for sampling and beat composition. He really brought the 808s to the forefront and now they pretty much dominate the genre. So his influence in terms of production is undeniable. But in his later years he's sustained more by his personality and persona than his music.Is Kanye that good musically? I don’t know a thing he does (but I’m admittedly not his target audience).
I taught students with autism who just needed social support for two years. Had a 9th grader who was taking French 3, Japanes 2 (skipping one cause he took the book home and learned it that summer), and Spanish 3. Wonder what he’s doing now.
Again, it's subjective. Some people praise Life of Pablo and later works as avant garde and works of creative genius. Others? Shit. Self-indulgent nonsense. Put me in that latter group. Kanye's representation, to me, is disproportionate to the quality of his music. As a producer it may be fair to say he's created works of genius. But nothing I'd put on par with DJ Premier, The RZA, or Dr. Dre. Lyrically.. no, just no. He's not Nas, he's not Jay, he's not Em, he's not Pac or Biggie. He's a mediocre lyricist.
Kanye occupies an interesting cross section of the emergence of self-indulgent attention seeking and vacant narcissism and emotional and mental vulnerability and drug chic (look at all the ands!). He arrived there from the ghettos of Chicago and infiltrated an entire generation of multi-racial listeners with a mix of soul, pop, r&b, and electronica. That much is fact.
But musical genius is a comparative evaluation in my estimation. I don't have him top 5 or top 10 in anything but I'm a 40 year old mixed raced male living in a suburban development. I'm not exactly his target demographic. I don't worship at the altar of Gucci or Prada.