We recently got to sit down with rapper/producer/designer Kanye West’s GOOD Music’ newest label compilation, Cruel Summer and gave it a simple and fair review after sitting on it for a few days. Check out our thoughts after the jump.
Since the creation of the G.O.O.D music imprint in 2004, Kanye West (creator) has pushed the label from side project status to the top tier of tastemakers in the rap game. Although we’ve all heard various singles with the G.O.O.D music collective before, never has a full album been establish. Despite the early leak the anticipation was high as everyone including me wanted to know is the album worth the fan fare its been receiving.
First impressions are everything and the first track “To The World” simply failed in my opinion. Despite slightly majestic vocals by R. Kelly over the West produced tracked it seemed as though it was lacking something. When “Power” dropped it seemed to have meaning, “To The World” seemed almost empty. Kanye has clearly perfected a lazy formula for producing tracks and it didn’t seem like he tried much on this one. Of course Kanye delivered his lyrics well with his confidant “brag rap”, it lacked anything new. Also, this being the first single I found it almost pompous for only Kanye West to grace the first single. Not a good way to open the first debut G.O.O.D Music imprint first album.
Without a sense of cohesiveness we dive into “Clique” which is made with intentions of being a hit single on the album. Jay-Z doesn’t just drop features for fun any more folks. Despite Big Sean repeating the same word this song is the perfect takeover song for any young ambitious crew. At sometimes the song is catchy, ( I repeated the hook at least ten times randomly since hearing it) and at sometimes it may seem too slow however, it still bumps. The only problem is how do you make a song about your clique and don’t include your whole G.O.O.D music crew? Props to Hit-Boy on the track. Right after “Clique” is the already infamous “Mercy” which sent illuminati fanatics into shock with is unrecognizable chant, and gave Rick Ross and his odes to Maybachs a run for his money with the song’s Lamborghini references. This song still sounds fresh on the album despite its premature release and 2chainz delivered on the final verse that almost convinced doubters his addition to G.O.O.D music isn’t as far fetched as it looks.
The next track is “New God Flow” which is another track released ahead of time. The addition of Ghostface KIllah was amazing as he lyrically murders the beat beside his new generation counterparts. Pusha T brings energy to the track in a manner only he can do while dropping coke references at least five times. Kanye flexes on the beat proving why he’s in the hip-hop god talk. Keeping the Wu-Tang pattern going, we finally see the whole crew on the track “The Morning”. The lullaby trancelike track goes into a more upbeat pattern as Raekwon opens up with a decent verse. This might be one of the best songs to judge the talent of the crew. Cyhi always sound like the black sheep, Common verse was nowhere as memorable as 2chainz, and I loved the creative Cudi breakdown croon. Kanye then follows up the track alongside DJ Khaled on the single “Cold” which we all are familiar with from leaking earlier this year.
Nobody would even fathom to put The Dream and Ma$e on the same album, and Kanye does it on the same song with “Higher. The song is decent to listen to just random which correlates with the theme I’m getting from the album. Ma$e also might need to reconsider preaching again since his delivery isn’t what its used to be. He sounds more like an aging 50 cent. Going into the review I heard people buzzing about “Sin City” with John Legend ft Teyana Taylor, Cyhi, and Travis Scott. After listening I thought I heard the wrong song. The beat sounds like a Watch the Throne reject, and the song is slow. Everything is a tangled messed of random artistry. Cyhi verse sounds like random adlibs put together. Based on artist alone, “The One” sounds as if it has the potential to be a banger with Marsha Ambrosius, 2chainz, and Big Sean and Kanye first at bat. The gospel/motivational flow almost threw me off a little. The production is good however, the track seems really slow like a long car ride that puts you to sleep. Once again I was let down. I’ve been a fan of Kid Cudi since I was in high school and I can honestly say the 10th track on the album “Creepers” wasn’t his best. I’m happy the singy songy Kid Cudi is back and the beat is a nice touch but Cudi’s first verse in the beginning could be easily removed.
Before the album ends with the controversial “I Don’t Like” remix, we get to hear “Bliss” a heavenly sounding beat layered with a nice electric guitar sample and John Legend vocals. Personally, this might be one of the only flawless pieces on the album that we’ve never heard. Even the random eagle sound seems to fit.
I decided to be more critical with this album since its Kanye West. His penchant for pushing the bar when it comes to aesthetic appeal and talent This lacks in that and seems to be more of a mesh of songs the group made together. There is no cohesion and instead of setting the standard of art in rap it seems to be artsy for the sake of being artsy. I wouldn’t pay for this especially seeing most of the good songs already leaked in the past few months. Definitely not what I expected from the caliber of the G.O.O.D music family.