Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
We inform. You decide.
Thursday, June 01, 2023

With record sales way down and a general lack of memorable rap releases so far this year (sans U.G.K., Common and Talib Kweli), Kanye West hopes to make it his year with his third album, "Graduation," set for release Tuesday.

"Graduation" once again finds West making a drastic sonic shift from his previous material. West, who produces, writes and performs the majority of his music, is assisted this time by high-caliber producers like Jon Brion (Fiona Apple), DJ Toomp (T.I., Young Jeezy) and Timbaland (Justin Timberlake, Nelly Furtado). The result is an amalgam of seemingly contradictory styles that mesh in the most perfect of ways: the sped-up soul and lush orchestration of his previous albums and a new emphasis on synth-heavy, club-friendly electropop.

Thematically, "Graduation" is West's most celebratory and uplifting work yet. Songs like "Good Life" and "Stronger" are danceable, radio-ready anthems. Meanwhile, the piano-driven "Everything I Am," with scratches by the famed DJ Premier, "The Glory," and the Steely-Dan-meets-reggae "Champion" adhere to West's strict standards of maintaining a vintage '90s East Coast hip-hop sound.

Whereas West's first two releases were burdened by excessive skits and guest appearances, "Graduation" is slim and straight to the point: there are no skits, the only guest rap comes from Lil' Wayne, and the vocalists are limited to the eclectic batch of T-Pain, Mos Def and Coldplay's Chris Martin. But don't let any of those names turn you off from listening because each artist comes correct.

In the end, West isn't the most talented of songwriters, and there are cringe-worthy lines littered throughout the album. But his noteworthy lyricism on "Good Morning" and storytelling on "Homecoming," along with his evident passion and dedication to his craft, prevent him from fumbling on "Graduation."

Support your local paper
Donate Today
The Independent Florida Alligator has been independent of the university since 1971, your donation today could help #SaveStudentNewsrooms. Please consider giving today.

Powered by SNworks Solutions by The State News
All Content © 2023 The Independent Florida Alligator and Campus Communications, Inc.