Album Review

Graduation - Kanye West

The Kanye vs. 50 rivalry is one of the best of the decade. Curtis has got to regret his bet that if he lost to West in the album charts, he would retire. 50's not gone yet. He forgot to mention that when he said album chart he didn't mean just America because he had a little asterisk saying the Irish chart counted too.

Graduation wasn't really about competing with 50 Cent though, rather it was Kanye competing with himself. No other rapper in recent memory has been able to produce such high quality work so consistantly in such a short amount of time. Graduation is a great album, but it pales in comparison to The College Dropout and Late Registration.

Mr. West has always had a knack for speaking his mind. Wheather it was his own greatness or politics, Kanye is able to be blunt about almost anything and get away with it. When he told the nation that "George Bush doesn't care about black people." you just had to love him for it, regardless of your politic views. Graduation just isn't very political. There's no songs about blood diamonds or AIDS or how radio stations won't play songs about Jesus.

Still, Graduation has its strong points. The album is a skitless affair which helps with its flow. West's embrace of synthesizers has got to be the most seismic plug-in since Bob Dylan. "Stronger" certainly showcases his production shift. One of his most commercial singles to date, when compared with the Daft Punk track that was sampled, "Stronger" sounds more like a remixed mash-up. Other samples are embedded alot more craftily such as Michael Jackson's "P.Y.T." in "Good Life". "Flashing Lights" pulses confidently while being almost haunting (especially after seeing the video). The Chris Martin duet, "Homecoming" shows another side of the Brit more than anything, but stands as one of the top tracks on the album and one of two that samples absolutley nothing! There's nothing ironic about Martin reminding us about fireworks at Lake Michigan.

The biggest surprise is "Big Brother", Kanye's tribute to Jay-Z. Did he really just rap, "It was the pride in me that was driving me. At the Grammies I said I inspired me, but my big brother who I always tried to be...I guess beanies style was more of a slam dunk and my s*** was more like a finger roll."? Kanye West being humble? I'd take that over being political anyday.


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