Kanye West, Graduation (Def Jam, 2007)
So it’s finally come to this. On 9/11 Fisty Cent and Kanyezee will hijack the hip-hop landscape, launching their respective musical airplanes into the Twin Towers of your cultural consciousness. May the battle of the musical terrorists commence! Let’s just pray Kanye wins so Fisty has to follow through on his promise to stop releasing albums. I do hope this also covers Tony Yayo.
A relatively strong opening for Mr Tight Jacket 2007, all punchy clipped drums and insistent vocal delivery. Clearly Mr West has been listening to gay Italian disco, as there’s plenty of weird synth noises bouncing about.
Kanye’s vocal delivery is stronger than ever, and the Steely Dan sample is tight. But not perhaps as tight as Kanye’s jeans.
Daft Punk’s original didn’t need bettering, and this isn’t the track to do it.
The world’s first case of a rapper metamorphosizing into a white pop-rock group between albums.
GOOD LIFE featuring T Pain
This dirge brings to mind We Don’t Care from his debut album. T-Pain does his vocoder thing.
CAN’T TELL ME NOTHING
If Kanye’s such a hot-shot producer then why does he need DJ Toomp to produce his single?
BARRY BONDS featuring Lil’ Wayne
Hip-Hop Gay Pride 2007. Weezy asks you to ‘suck my back bitch’. Is that like tossing salad?
DRUNK & HOT GIRLS featuring Mos Def
An original take on 6/8 time, with some seriously filthy bass. Very European-sounding (as is much of the album), which is unsurprising as the track samples Can. Seems Mr West is developing a habit of exclusively sampling Caucasian people these days. Somebody stop the hate!
FLASHING LIGHTS featuring Dwele
A masterstroke from West (nullus), both original and instantly catchy. More worryingly though is the following lyric: ‘I hate these niggaz more than the Nazis’. It seems my theory about Kanye’s twisted race (self) hatred could have credence.
EVERYTHING I AM
Who knows what this is all about, but it’s pleasant enough. DJ Premier provides scratches which (unusually) add little to the track.
Sounds like a leftover from his sophomore joint. It seems that he’s now employed a better ghost-writer than Rhymefest
HOMECOMING featuring Chris Martin
This is the track Home from his early mixtapes but with a new and crappier beat. The dude from Coldplay features much to my total despair.
Kanye’s love song to Hov. I won’t spoil the surprise but there is some mild controversy. Oh ok, I will spoil it. Kanye is upset because Jigga didn’t recognise that he’s the greatest ever. Poor little Kanye.
People expecting more chipmunk soul will be initially disappointed but he’s delivered a strong and original album. I do believe 50 Cent may be in trouble, especially considering that his new offering Curtis is a big old shit wrap.
BONUS VIDEO: "Stronger"