Kanye sets off a Cruel Summer
TEENage Hitlist with Dominic Bell
Album: Cruel Summer by GOOD Music
Artiste: Kanye West
EVERY rapper, that is considered to be a legend within the hip-hop genre, has released a compilation album, (and maybe a few more) from a group of artistes on their label. Artistes, who have done so include Tupac Shakur, the Notorious BIG, Eminem, Nas, Jay-Z, 50 Cent and others.
Recently, hip-hop juggernauts Lil' Wayne and Rick Ross have done so for their respective record labels Young Money Entertainment and Maybach Music Group. Not wanting to be left out the loop, Kanye West has decided to release the first compilation album from his GOOD Music outfit entitled Cruel Summer.
The compilation surprisingly begins with the vocals of R Kelly, a non-GOOD Music cast member, on the track To The World. The R&B legend croons lyrics exuding self-satisfaction regarding his success, before Kanye West comes in rapping similar tales. Teyana Taylor closes the opener track with her signature raspy vocals.
The Clique is the next number, and features the all-star cast of Big Sean, Jay-Z, and Kanye West in that particular order. Each rapper packs a punch with braggadocious rhyme after rhyme over a slick electronic rap production meshed with harmonic orchestral effects.
The album's first single Mercy is similar in nature to The Clique both lyrically and production wise. Contributors for this monster single are Big Sean, Pusha T, Kanye West, and 2 Chainz, and a repetitive sample from Jamaica's own the late Fuzzy Jones. The sample used here is Super Beagle's Dust A Soundboy, that Fuzzy Jones provided the introductory toasting for.
New God Flow is an anthemic production where Kanye West and Pusha T highlight the trials and tribulations that they have overcome to become the new "gods" of music. This new album version of the song has a hidden verse from Wu-Tang Clan's Ghostface Killah.
Kanye West's new found Jamaican influence in his production continues with The Morning. The song features Nigerian D'Banj doing an interpolation of the popular reggae rendition of Get Me To The Church On Time. The song features raps from Wu-Tang Clan member Raekwon, Common, Pusha T, 2 Chainz, all of whom executed an anti-illuminati theme and championed hard work for their successes.
The Kanye West and DJ Khaled boastful Cold has a remastered production from the single version earlier this year.
Higher features light falsetto vocals from The Dream and Cocaine 80s, with raps about extravagant wealth from Pusha T and rapper-turned-pastor-turned-rapper again Mase.
Sin City is another posse cut that has raps from Travis Scott and CyHi Da Prince, spoken words by Malik Yusef, and crooning duties courtesy of John Legend and Teyana Taylor. As the title suggests, the theme of the track is about the exhilarating excesses of a Las Vegas inspired life, but also of the toll that this can have on a person negatively.
The One is a motivational gem that is sure to be a favourite amongst listeners. Kanye West diverges from his recent wealth-related themed lyrics to that of inspiring words and insists to listeners that he is musically the best that hip-hop has to offer to them. Similar lyrical tones came forth from CyHi Da Prince and to a lesser extent 2 Chainz. Marsha Ambrosius provides a vocally impressive chorus and the same for the outro by James Fauntleroy.
Kid Cudi received the only solo cut on Cruel Summer with the short self-retrospective track Creepers.
John Legend and Teyana Taylor narrate a story of young lovers on Bliss, providing the sole R&B song on the album.
Cruel Summer closes with the remix of young Chicago rapper Chief Keef's Don't Like. The song was a viral sensation this summer with verses from Kanye West, Big Sean, Pusha T, Jadakiss and Chief Keef himself.
TEENage Hitlist believes that Cruel Summer has placed the notion of a compilation album in whole new dimension.
The album is not a compilation of songs from member of Kanye West's GOOD Music members, but is a cohesive project that can stand on its own as a solid album.
Cruel Summer is a checkmate to other hip-hop labels that Kanye West has assembled a team just as relevant as Lil' Wayne's Young Money Entertainment and Rick Ross's Maybach Music Group.