Kanye West
Graduation


4.5
superb

Review

by YoungOne88 USER (4 Reviews)
September 11th, 2007 | 21 replies


Release Date: 2007 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Save for a few questionable decisions Kanye has put out an amazing album and although he is still reaching for the elusive classic album he is well on his way to getting it.

Many people will get caught up in the hype of Kanye vs. 50 Cent (which I will not get into). But, step away from that and look at the albums. Now we have Kanye's junior effort in Graduation.

Kanye is known production wise for his inventive and almost addictive use of samples, which although does not stray in this album is used a lot differently than his usual work. Gone are the happy fluid beats from his debut album, College Dropout. Gone are the darker, melodic toned beats from his sophomore album, Late Registration. What you have here is not just a combination of the two, but an evolution of Kanyes production style. Production wise Graduation’s direction is pushed to an unfamiliar avenue not only for Kanye, but Hip-hop itself. Using more techno/punk instruments and samples separates him from the trap that a lot of rappers with one producer headlining the whole album such as Little Brother, and Eminem have (in Little Brothers' case had). That is not saying that he doesn’t go back to his usual forte and when he does use these soulful samples its pure beauty.

Lyrically Kanye as usual has stepped his game up as shown on the beautifully produced intro, Good Morning. Kanye playfully dances around the beat as if he was one of the elites. "Goodmorneean/ look at the valedictorians/ scared of the future/ while I hop in the De Lorean". This growth, although not on par with the likes of a Jay-Z, Nas or Lupe, is a major step up from his College Dropout days and shows that he is both an accomplished producer and rapper.

The second track Champion ups the tempo with a sample from Grammy award winning rock band Steely Dan. Kanye's ego leaks out as the sample states "Did you realize that you were a champion in their eyes". But looking deeper into the lyrics Kanye not only boast about his "flyness", but states why he needed to get where he is right now and why Kanye doesn’t need have to be THE champion but, that someone needs to be one period. "Layrn Hill said her heart was in Zion/ I wish her heart still was in rhymin'/ cause who the kids gonna listen to/ I guess me if it isn’t you". One of the two hit singles Stronger is up next and continues to provide the banging energy that Champion left you with.

I Wonder begins to slow the album down with ought taking away the steam from Champion and Stronger over a beautiful Labi Siffre sample and embracive synths. Kanye seems to take a different direction and flows robotically over the beat, but understandably so as it fits the track not perfectly but well enough that you begin to not notice that he goes back to his usually self in and out of it. Good Life featuring T-Pain sounds like it could be a nice single, and although fits the direction of the album seems like it could have been better. Although lyrically Kanye is on his A game, and T-Pain does an ok job, somehow it feels like these two could have done better. Next up is Can't Tell Me Nothing which since is a popular single you can decide for yourself if it is worth another listen to.

Barry Bonds featuring Lil Wayne sounds a little forced, but shows Kanye's growth as he not only keeps up but equals if not betters the popular Wayne. Drunk Hot Girls, which describes itself, is an interesting track which has Mos Def going into singing mode (which has already been proven to not pull him back). In a surprising twist Kanye tries his hand at a sort of melodic/singing flow which sadly cant compare to Mos Def who easily steals the show Not only does he provide a poetic like flow but says some interesting things. Immediately following this is Flashing Lights featuring Dwele, he again dives into the techno/punk instruments and samples, and deals with him, relationships, and his celebrity status.

Next up, one of if not the best track on the album. Everything I Am. The laid back production, the fitting scratches by DJ Premier, the melodic singing of fellow GOOD Music artist Tony Williams all combine to assist what could be seen as more relevant than both Jesus Walks, and Diamonds From Sierra Leone combined. Kanye begins to talk about how he differs from not only rappers, but other artist in general. This then turns into him talking about his own faults and examining his own ego and how it holds him back from some things. It then turns into him going deeper into the rap game itself and criticizing not just the rappers or the industry, but the fans itself for accepting the glory of killing another man and begins to make you look at yourself and face the reality to death.

Moving on, The Glory ups the tempo and gets you out your seat with an amazing introduction. Kanye goes back to his boasting and beautifully so over a Laura Nyro
sample, as he seems to have "Graduated" from his Everything I Am track. Homecoming, bumps in with a thumping base and piano ensemble and although sounds a little weird is an infectious jam session between Coldplay's Chris Martin, Warryn Campbell, and Kanye West.

The Final Track is Big Brother which is an excellent closer to the album which gives homage to his mentor Jay-Z. His secret rivalry and true feelings good and bad about his Big Brother Jay-Z are all shared with him eventually spilling out that in the end he will surpass him as arguably Jay-Z did with his big brother Notorious B.I.G. It truly is a big brother, little brother relationship and Kanye plays it beautifully.

In all, this album like Late Registration is a major step up from his last effort. It seems that Kanye puts his all into everything that he does and gets better with every try. Save for a few questionable decisions Kanye has put out an amazing album and although he is still reaching for the elusive classic album he is well on his way to getting it.


user ratings (1731)
Chart.
3.5
great
other reviews of this album
1 of
  • continuo (5)
    Kanye West loses no momentum in pop friendly effort....

    Nathan Flynn CONTRIBUTOR (5)
    I never thought he would take it this far...

    Ben Thornburgh CONTRIBUTOR (3.5)
    Kanye's fame sucks/rules record rises above the rest through its brilliant production...

    DhA (4)
    Classic, interrupted - a dissapointing mid-trio of tracks hang ominously over an otherwise...

  • Ian (3)
    "Rap and Hip Hop's most arrogant star shines through shaded curtains"...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Jom
Staff Reviewer
September 11th 2007


2690 Comments


Hey, great review to debut - welcome to the site.

Altmer
September 11th 2007


5652 Comments


jom you have a cool avatar

StrizzMatik
September 11th 2007


3220 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Great review, although I don't think this anywhere close to a 4.5.

morrissey
Moderator
September 11th 2007


1688 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Smooth stuff, hope to see more reviews from you.

I still don't have high hopes but I have yet to hear it.

YoungOne88
September 11th 2007


8 Comments


Thanx for your comments im plannin on reviewin some more. I just think you should give the Kanye album a chance it really is an amazing album if you listen to it. Thanks again.

OneManGang
September 11th 2007


18 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

good review. I agree on most points.
Welcome to the site.

jrowa001
September 11th 2007


8750 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

as much as i hate kanye west, there was some ok songs on this

Fosster3567
September 11th 2007


76 Comments


BUY THIS TO DESTROY FITTY

Mikesn
Emeritus
September 11th 2007


3709 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

How many copies are you going to buy, Fosster?This Message Edited On 09.11.07

YoungOne88
September 11th 2007


8 Comments


jus put out a talib review thnx 4 tha support ima try 2 crank out a 50 revew when i finish listnin 2 it

YoungOne88
September 11th 2007


8 Comments


lol thanks

YoungOne88
September 11th 2007


8 Comments


u didnt listen 2 the album


Fosster3567
September 11th 2007


76 Comments


i got 2. gave one to a friend

Fosster3567
September 11th 2007


76 Comments


2 copies that is

Spectrum
September 12th 2007


347 Comments


Is it just me, or do all the cool kids have big House avatars?
Good work, new guy! Make sure to tighten up in the grammar department a bit, and I think we'll have another solid reviewer on our hands. Keep up the good work!

YoungOne88
September 12th 2007


8 Comments


thnx sry bout da grammar check out my common and talib reviews


CarloVonSexron
September 13th 2007


25 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

ok album, not his best, but clearly over Fiddy by a long shot.

morrissey
Moderator
September 13th 2007


1688 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

[quote=Spectrum]Is it just me, or do all the cool kids have big House avatars?[/quote]
we figured if you couldn't identify us by our awesome posts, the avatars would help in weeding us out from the peons.This Message Edited On 09.13.07

ghostface30612
September 13th 2007


141 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

This album was definitely not a 4.5. I was waiting for a truly memorable song like "All Falls Down", "Heard 'Em Say", "Gone", or "School Spirit" to sneak into my headphones but none ever did. Maybe I should take another listen when I have the time. Haven't listened to Curtis yet, so I can't compare, but I'm guessing that, based on track records, Graduation is far better.This Message Edited On 09.13.07

blackmilk
September 13th 2007


584 Comments


wait wait

you think a skit is a memorable song



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