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Foster Lancaster

Kanye West has come a long way and has a large discography of under-appraised albums and LP's under his belt. Cruel Summer essentially marks the beginning of his journey into collective-structuring his G.O.O.D. Music record label. With that said, although Kanye West and Hit Boy's production are fantastic, the members of the collective are not quite as consistent. This is not to say that the rapping is sub par, its just that the instrumentals out shine every rapper and singer on this album. It almost feels like the sequel to Kanye and Jay-Z's collaboration album Watch the Throne stylistically. As such, Kanye seems to have found a predecessor: Big Sean, and interestingly enough there is a song called Clique where JayZ, Kanye, and Big Sean celebrate their collective power. On this album, the entire collective seems to follow the musical strategy of placing memorable lyricism far above lyrical complexity. The most important song on this album is "Mercy" by far. It begins with a sample from the song "Dust a Sound Boy" that says, "Its the weeping the moaning and the gnashing of teeth/ when it comes to my sound its the champion of sound." Now there are some who beleive this is satanic but in light of Kanye's openness about his beleifs and the growing amount of crypticlly religious songs emerging, and the title of the album being cruel summer, that seems to contradict logic. Every rapper on this song raps at a desturbingly balanced level and Kanye comes in for a second verse/ bridge toward the end of the song. One interesting note is that Two Chainz makes an appearance on this track despite not being signed to the label directly but instead to the parent label, Def Jam. Kanye is an innovator. It's refreshing to see someone with so much money create a release this highly promoted that is still so in-tune with current music trends. This is one of the most mainstream releases of its kind with its level of artistic integrity. The members of G.O.O.D. Music could improve a bit lyrically but their work overall is very solid.

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