Kelsey Mayid | firstname.lastname@example.org
Kanye West is still conceited, arrogant and rich. What’s new? Not the material on his latest album, Graduation, which was released Sept. 11.
While Graduation delivers 13 tracks of impeccably produced, sure-to-be-a-hit songs, it’s nothing new for West. The central theme of The College Dropout, Late Registration, and now Graduation, is still West himself. He continues to rap about his ego, his fame, and of course, his fashion.
There’s no denying West is a talented and versatile artist, and I think Graduation showcases his abilities, even if they haven’t developed much since his last two albums. Graduation features several artists from very different musical genres, including emcee Lil’ Wayne, and Chris Martin from Coldplay, to name a few. West adapts flawlessly to the various styles of music and Graduation also offers a satisfying range of laid-back and upbeat songs. Overall, I really enjoyed the album, but I can’t say it took me by surprise.
The opening song, “Good Morning,” is serious and stirring, with an intense drum beat and insight on what graduation means to West. “I guess this is my dissertation,” he says of the album. “Look at the valedictorian, scared of the future while I hop in the DeLorean.”
“Champion” and “Good Life” are upbeat and catchy, with lines like “I don’t see why I need a stylist, when I shop so much I can speak Italian,” and “50 told me go ‘head and switch the style up, and if they hate then let ’em hate and watch the money pile up.” Both songs are fun and fresh, and I can’t wait to hear them over and over on the radio.
“Can’t Tell Me Nothing” is about West’s relationship with “big brother” and co-founder of Roc-A-Fella Redords, Jay-Z. The song walks a fine line between being a complement or a diss to Jay-Z, who isn’t featured on this album.
West’s timing on “Barry Bonds” sounded a little off beat, but the song has some great lines. “I’m doin’ pretty hood in my pink polo,” West challenges critics. “Top five emcees you ain’t gotta remind me. Top five emcees you gotta rewind me. I’m high up on the line, you can get behind me. But my head’s so big you can’t sit behind me,” he brags about how great he is, and doesn’t seem to think there’s anything wrong with that.
I have to say, I like most of the songs on this album, and the more I listen to them, the better they get. Some of my favorites are “Flashing Lights” which features Dwele, and “Homecoming” with Chris Martin. Both are beautifully produced and powerful in their own way. Another one to check out is “Everything I Am,” featuring DJ Premier. West says “Everything I’m not made me everything I am,” and raps “I never be laid back as this beat was” over a very mellow, melancholy harmony.
Bottom line: whether you’re a Kanye fan or not, Graduation is a bangin’ album, and definitely worth listening to.