Thursday, January 24, 2008

Kanye West - Graduation

Artist: Kanye Wst
Album: Graduation
Release Date: September 11, 2007
Label: Roc-A-Fella

Three Word Review: Enterprising, Synth-Heavy, Irresistible

Favorite Track: “Champion”
Why? The beat is diverse and interesting. The song is at times introspective and even funny at others. It’s got great flow and is tons of fun to listen to.

Least Favorite Track: “Drunk and Hot Girls” [Feat. Mos Def]
Why? I cannot stand this song. While I’ve listened to this album numerous times, I’ve skipped this track all but once. It certainly doesn’t help that I’m not particularly a fan of Mos Def, but that isn’t the only reason. Its boring, its repetitive, its droning, and it flat-out sucks.

My Thoughts:
Judging by the type of albums I review here, you might be able to guess that I don’t listen to rap all too often. However, “Graduation” has really drawn me in upon the suggestion of a friend. The first song I head was “Good Life” when it was featured on HBOs Entourage, and I was immediately a fan. Since the track is one albums most popular singles, that makes perfect sense, but is there more to offer here?

The answer is yes. Kanye is well known for his skills as a producer, not for his abilities as an MC and that is apparent in many cases on this album, but it doesn’t ruin the experience. The majority of the songs are infectious and interestingly produced enough so that Kanye’s lack of rhyming skills can be over looked. You’re bound to hear many of the songs from “Graduation” on the radio in the near future. Particularly, you’ll be hearing “Good Life,” the immensely popular “Stronger” (featuring Daft Punk), and my personal favorite, “Champion.” I also urge you to check out “Bittersweet Poetry” its a crossover featuring John Mayer and is a bonus track on the Japanese release. While you might not want to import the album just for that, I’m sure you’ll be able to come across it somehow.

Why You Might Not Like It:
Kanye is by no means a great rapper. His rhyming skills are more than questionable and his delivery as an MC is less than stellar. If you’re not looking for pop or commercial rap this won’t capture you. Perhaps, you’d be more at home with his 2004 release “The College Dropout.” If you’re looking for rapping about hard times, living in the projects, poppin’ caps and fucking bitches, this isn’t for you. Kanye generally give you a glimpse (at times introspective) in to the “Good Life,” get it?

Final Say:
When the album was released its only competition in the high-profile rap category was from 50 Cent, who has been waning in significance lately. I’ve only made a cursory release of 50’s latest and I prefer “Graduation” handsdown. It’s a great release and a great listen. Its got tons of energy and a bunch of songs that are sure to be crowd pleasers at your next party. Whether you opt to pickup this album or not, you won’t be able to escape several of its songs as they will be getting plenty of airtime and your friends will be loving them.