'Cruel Summer' Is A Hip-Hop Revelation
Let’s face it: whenever Kanye West opens his mouth, we hold our breath and hope for the best. But when he opens his mouth to release a new album, we hold our breath and expect only the best. With his latest album Cruel Summer, listeners are given the very best of G.O.O.D. music. West stays just as cruel, raw and candid as only his true nature allows.
The buzz surrounding the album peaked when it was officially mentioned in the 2012 Cannes Film Festival alongside his eponymously titled film. The widely-anticipated album created quite a stir when the controversial single "Theraflu" was re-titled "Cold," following disputes with the company of the same name. Adding to the excitement, this single also put the relationship of his current love interest Kim Kardashian on the mediatic radar.
After his 2011 “Watch the Throne" with Jay-Z, West’s second collaborative album takes the opportunity to introduce his newly-signed G.O.O.D. label artists: Rapper Common, well-known R&B artist John Legend, Kid Cudi and Big Sean are just a few of the names featured on the album. Together with Big Sean, Jay-Z adds a few bars to the previously-released single "Clique" — one of the best songs among the listed tracks. Once again, his Kardashian girlfriend is mentioned: “my girl is a superstar all from a home movie,” referring to the intimate video recording of Kardashian and her then boyfriend Ray-J that put her on the map. "To the World" keeps listeners' heads nodding, featuring R. Kelly and Teyana Taylor in a track comparable to Fun’s "We Are Young" with lyrics such as: “to the world, to the world, then I'm on my Sinatra, I'm doing it my way.” Additional featured artists also include veterans such as Mase, Ghost Face Killah, Raekwon and Jadakiss.
With a phenomenal track listening, this album is a must-have in any hip-hop lover’s collection. "Super luva" featuring Starshell and Big Sean has an upbeat tempo with a futuristic undercurrent that will no doubt play at every edgy party and runway this year. "Mercy" features Pusha T and vocal samplings from the late dancehall legend Fuzzy Jones in a stylistic mashup of dancehall and southern rap, while "New God Flow" is so reminiscent of the 80s that we keep expecting Nas’ voice to burst through. Pusha T and Raekwon assist vocally over a slow piano beat as West pays homage to the late Whitney Houston, and everything slows down with "Bliss" featuring Legend and Taylor. This track has an 80s soft rock feel with a hint of R&B that rounds out the album and is a perfect break from the verbally sharp and explicit content of previous songs.
Overall, we won’t go so far as to call Kanye West a Hip Hop god, but the undeniable fact can’t be contested: West has conquered rap greatness. His cockiness may get the best of him everywhere else, but in the rap arena he deserves stellar reviews — and you can expect upcoming Grammy nominations for West and the G.O.O.D. production roster. Cruel Summer promises to remain on listeners' playlists for a long time. Like his lyrics suggest: “Come and have a good time with G.O.O.D.”
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