Kanye West - "Can't Tell Me Nothin'"

The Bottom Line

Kanye West is a liar. You can tell him just about anything, as long your opinion is not drenched in an inventory of his personal and universal hypocrisy. "Can't Tell Me Nothing" marks the return of the musical genius, rapping about...well, self-hypocrisy.


  • Creative, yet accessible lyrics
  • Stellar production


  • None


  • Buzz single from Graduation
  • Slow and synth-tinged production
  • Stanchioned by vocal samples from Young Jeezy's "I Got Money"

Guide Review - Kanye West - "Can't Tell Me Nothin'" (Def Jam)


First, let's talk about what "Can't Tell Me Nothing" isn't. If you were holding your hands out for another "Heard Me Say" or "Gold Digger Part II," sorry--you won't find it here. Mr. West doesn't like to repeat his feats, but that's another story.

It's not an instant banger. Despite its seemingly basic concept, you'll have to do a double take the first time you hear this song to thoroughly get it. Simply put, "Can't Tell Me Nothin'" is a grower. I've been bumping it for the last three weeks and, like fine wine, it gets better each time.

Kanye seems to create his most alluring music when self-reflection is the topic. In true 'Ye fashion, his lyrics hover between insecurity ("I feel the pressure/ Under more scrutiny/And what I do? Act more stupidly") and arrogance ("Bought more jewelry, more Louis V/My mama couldn't get through to me...I guess the money should've changed me, I guess I should've forgot where I came from") in the same breath.

The southern-baked production signals a new direction in the ever dynamic K.West catalog of hits. I must admit though, when I first learned that DJ Toomp ("What You Know," "I Luv It") was on board for this, the skeptic in me envisaged all sorts of iffy possibilities (Synth showers? Young Jeezy adlibs?).

Turns out that West, Toomp, and Jeezy's adblibs make a brilliant combination. The slow-cooked Toompstrumental coupled with eerie Jeezy vocal samples from "I Got Money" supplies West with a perfect palette for his soliloquy.

See, it's not so lonely at the top, after all. But, if it ever gets solitary, Kanye can always count on his lumberjack ego for company.

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Your Citation
Adaso, Henry. "Kanye West - "Can't Tell Me Nothin'"." ThoughtCo, Jan. 30, 2016, thoughtco.com/kanye-west-cant-tell-me-nothin-2857713. Adaso, Henry. (2016, January 30). Kanye West - "Can't Tell Me Nothin'". Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/kanye-west-cant-tell-me-nothin-2857713 Adaso, Henry. "Kanye West - "Can't Tell Me Nothin'"." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/kanye-west-cant-tell-me-nothin-2857713 (accessed November 19, 2017).