Kanye West
Late Registration


5.0
classic

Review

by Alex Getter USER (13 Reviews)
October 18th, 2011 | 16 replies


Release Date: 2005 | Tracklist

Review Summary: With every worthless word we get more far away.

Kanye West has always been somewhat of a perfectionist. If anyone would just put aside all the references to the drama and controversy that surrounds his persona to really focus on what matters they would know that Kanye has always put an enormous amount of heart into his music. His debut The College Dropout is considered one of the best hip-hop albums of the decade and with good reason too. Bringing back the use of heavy sampling and re-popularizing sped up gospel samples in mainstream hip-hop music, Kanye showed many flashes of brilliance. Late Registration shares the most in common with his acclaimed debut. However, Late Registration is the most fully realized piece between the two.

Musically Late Registration is almost just like his debut, but Kanye brought in film composer Jon Brion (who had never worked with hip-hop before) to mix up the writing process. The cinematic vibe to the album gives it a much more cohesive feel, something that The College Dropout desperately needed. Everything here has layers of grandiose strings and horns that make the finished piece a lot more grand and important than it really is. It really injects much needed life into some of these tracks. Imagine the song Crack Music without the “la la la's” and the vicious horns to back up Kanye's aggressive and militant approach to emphasize the political lyrics he spits. Kanye is still very arrogant as most successful rappers are, but he has always had that self-conscious personality that makes him truly unique. But the real highlight of the album is how well Kanye has moved on from the sentimentality and soul of The College Dropout to the much darker material found here.

Kanye doesn't completely abandon the mushy nature of previous songs like Family Business but instead injects his new cinematic approach perfectly like he does in standout track Roses. Here Kanye tells a story of his grandma in the hospital who's battling something possibly fatal but coming through in the end. He even finds room to include a song dedicated to his mother entitled Hey Mama. It's easy to complain about the skits and interludes that break up the cohesiveness of Late Registration and bloat up the track listing to a whopping twenty one tracks, but the hard-hitting beats of songs like Diamonds From Sierra Leone will erase that silly little thought out of your head. Although the humor of these skits (which contain chants of a ridiculous fraternity that shuns having money named “Broke Phi Broke”) don't really fit in with the serious subject matter, no one should complain with a track as comical as Gold Digger. But this isn't even close to the weakest song on the album. The tracks Celebration and Bring Me Down are probably the least amusing songs here.

But for the few weaker songs present it's made up by the more sprawling epics and the chemistry between Kanye and his collaborators. Look at We Major where Really Doe and Nas (who has been less than impressive after releasing the gritty urban-masterpiece Illmatic) completely dominate the old-school boom of the beat. Kanye surrounds himself by a few superior MC's every once in a while, but he doesn't let that steal the spotlight away from him. Although Consequence and Cam'Ron spit great verses on Gone, Kanye shows that the track ultimately belongs to him. Fellow Chicago rapper Common even has his track with the sober My Way Home which is very similar to the woozy Drive Slow. The beats here seem to bring out the best of even a southern-rapper like Paul Wall.

Perhaps Late Registration is Kanye's one moment of perfection. After all it is the most emotionally and musically compelling album he's released so far (which is rivaled by 2010's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy), and probably his most ambitious attempt too as well. Kanye shows superb growth and maturity with the song-writing here and is pretty big step from The College Dropout. Here Mr. West finally sits us down and shows us that his brilliance doesn't just come in as flashes, but that what he's making is really artful.



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user ratings (1588)
Chart.
3.9
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other reviews of this album
OrangeHologram (4.5)
The best album of Kanye West's career, and easily one of the best rap albums of all time....

Maximilian Harkness (4.5)
Late Registration is Kanye West at his very best, with a wide variety of soulful, emotionally inspir...

Zesty Mordant (3.5)
...


Comments:Add a Comment 
gotsthedewsdood
October 18th 2011


624 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

long time no reviews.

pizzamachine
October 18th 2011


12571 Comments


A whole month!

gotsthedewsdood
October 18th 2011


624 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

i was writing a review a week for a while...
just stopped.

twlichty
October 19th 2011


3412 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

i have a lot of trouble trying to decide if this is a 5 or not

Maize
October 19th 2011


155 Comments


they claim you never know what you got til its gone, I know I got it I don't know what y'all on.

Maize
October 19th 2011


155 Comments


best song he's ever done^

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
October 19th 2011


23909 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

only Kanye album I haven't heard yet, gonna check it out today

Digging: RATKING - So It Goes

jdennis31
October 19th 2011


6511 Comments


addiction is easily my favorite hiphop song ever

Tupik
October 19th 2011


673 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

funny I was just listening to this. I can't understand how Kanye is so underrated on here (though it's
been better since MBDTF dropped). Those average ratings make me rage so hard since I don't have one of
his album rated lower than a 4.

Great review, I think you gave a pretty good description of the meaning of this album compared to the
other ones.

Kanye is a genius.

Ethics
October 19th 2011


4112 Comments


Definitely his best album.

gotsthedewsdood
October 20th 2011


624 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

did you check it out aids?

WhiteWallStargazers
October 20th 2011


2647 Comments


Fish Sticks

Pheromone
December 23rd 2013


3633 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Ugh, Gone is still sweet as hell
Consequence isn't the best solo artist but whenever he is featured he's also sweet as hell.

Digging: Squirrel Bait - Skag Heaven

ShitsofRain
December 23rd 2013


5911 Comments


we major?

Digging: Round One to Round Five - 1993-99 Main Street Records

Hep Kat
December 23rd 2013


15351 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

hav u eva ben hypnotic 4 henney shits???

oltnabrick
September 18th 2014


31093 Comments


sweet as hell

Digging: Ariel Pink - Pom Pom



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