Friday, September 07, 2007

doin' pretty hood in my pink polo

"At the grammy's I went ultra-Travolta. Yeah the tuxedo mighta been a little Guido, but with my ego? I could stand there in a speedo and still be looked at like a fuckin' hero."

Kanye's Graduation has been making the rounds on the internets for a while now, but I wanted to let the album digest before I threw up a post about it. I haven't really listened to anything too much since this leaked (minus the new Springsteen which hit last night, more on that to come) and this is my favorite rap album of the year. It's also one of my favorite albums overall.
I know I'm in the minority in saying that Late Registration did not grab me as much as other people. I felt it was Kanye trying to fit too much into one album. What he had Job Brion do was commendable and I respect that 'Ye was doing something different than anyone else, but the strings and songs like Hey Mama and Celebration were a bit much for me to take.
Ever since Through the Wire dropped I was checking for West and College Dropout was and still is one of my favorite rap albums. Graduation is full of huge synths and Kanye's even larger ego. A great portion of the album is him addressing "haters" and fashion and women.
The production is something serious here. As I just said, the synths on these tracks are not too be messed with. He's almost abandoned the chipmunk soul that he built his name upon, only showing up on one highlight, The Glory. The T-Pain assissted track, The Good Life, should have been one of the first singles. It's feel good nature is just screaming for summer jam status, but will just have to settle for being blasted in night spots and parties this fall and winter.
A lot has been made of the album's closer, Big Brother. It's West's homage to Big Homey and is interesting just for the fact that it's this guy who's ego is so incredibly big right now, but he's still in somewhat of an awe of Jay, "J-A-Y and 'Ye so shy." He also mentions how he told Hov about having a song with "Coldplay" then "next thing I know he got a song with Coldplay." Well, rest assured Kanye, your Chris Martin assissted track takes Jay's Beach Chair to task.
The Chris Martin track on Graduation, Homecoming, is the reinvention of one of West's best non-album tracks, Home. I always loved the original of this record. Kanye went in and rerecorded the vocals and I'm assuming Martin dropped the piano in on it. While it is kind of unusual for Kanye to take a track that's been around since before College Dropout, he couldn't have picked a better one and I'm not complaining about how it turned out.
One beef I have with the record is the lack of guest spots on the album. While I'm a bigger fan of West's skills on the mic than most other people who will write on him, his other records always benefitted from great drop-ins. On Dropout he had Mos Def and Freeway spit hard and Cam'ron's verse on Gone from Registration are a few of the man's best bars for the past couple of years. Wayne's verse here, on Barry Bonds, is alright, but his half-assed drug addled verse feels a bit out of place on such a focused piece of work (the beat is a monster however).
It is yet to be seen if Kanye will outsell Fiddy on the 11th, but this is one dude that will be supporting The Louis Vuitton Don and not shedding a tear if Curtis actually does retire when he's outsold on Tuesday.


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