Friday, August 31, 2007

Kanye West: Graduation

Kanye West needs no introduction. Mr. West has done it again. He's back here with Graduation; the trifecta of his education themed albums. For the most part, this album is tight, focused, and everything you expect from a Kanye album. He's bombastic, pompous, creative, and brilliant. Musically, lyrically, and production wise every album Kanye has put out is ridiculously creative and fresh. The skill it takes to find (obscure 70's soul tracks to sample), mix, and insert catchy beats, takes enormous effort and imagination.

"I guess this is my dissertation / Homey, this shit is basic, welcome to Graduation" Kanye raps in the beginning of "Good Morning (Intro)" to set the tone of the album. Track to track this is one of Kanye's strongest efforts yet. There are few weak spots on this album. The only tracks that I've skipped over and have been disappointed with are "Drunk and Hot Girls" and "I Wonder." Of the two, "Drunk and Hot Girls" is the most infuriating to me. Mos Def is a highly talented free-style MC and all he has is a little sing-songy part near the tail end of the song and that's about it. After listening to this song a few times I don't know what Kanye was thinking, and where the track fits in with the rest of the album. I know what he's trying to say with the song, but doesn't adequately utilize the skills that Mos brings to the table.

I don't want to break down each track because that would be superfluous. The strongest tracks are the aforementioned "Good Morning," "Champion," "The Glory," "The Good Life," as well as the singles: "Stronger," and "Can't Tell Me Nothing." After one listen it's easy to understand why "The Good Life" will be the third single, and even more clear after appearing in the closing credits of a recent episode of Entourage featuring Kanye West and his MarquisJet. The coupling of Mr. West and Coldplay main-man Chris Martin shouldn't go unnoticed either. While this seems like two worlds colliding for a mess, it is anything but. Mr. Martin creates a great hook for Mr. West and the magic goes from there.

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