Published: Thursday, September 20, 2012
Updated: Monday, November 5, 2012 20:11
Album: Cruel Summer
Release Date: Sept. 18
Label: G.O.O.D./Def Jam
Numerous record labels have attempted to release the ideal compilation album. In 2009, Lil Wayne and his Young Money crew presented We Are Young Money, which received lukewarm reviews from critics. Rick Ross and his Maybach Music Group released two collaborative albums in 2011-12, Self Made Vol. 1 and Self Made Vol. 2. Both were successful but didn’t reach the masses they were set out tograsp.
Even Kanye West and Jay-Z’s Watch The Throne (WTT) wasn’t an undisputedly flawless album, but West has learned from his last effort and brought together all of his G.O.O.D. Music artists for their first joint project, Cruel Summer.
West took a similar approach to WTT by taking a step back to allow his protégés and peers shine. But it’s knowing how to merge all of these artists, as well as his featured artists, in a cohesive manner which carries Cruel Summer.
Fans have had all summer to enjoy tracks “Mercy,” “New God Flow,” “Cold,” “I Don’t Like (Remix)” and most recently, “Clique,” but having a track with the resurfacing of R. Kelly hit listeners with a surprise they weren’t prepared for. R. Kelly hasn’t been in the mainstream eye, so a feature like this is definitely a treat – a treat Kanye West makes sure his listeners are aware of.
“R. Kelly and the king of rap/ S******* on you, holy crap,” West raps.
There’s no question the G.O.O.D. Music roster is phenomenal; artists like Big Sean, Common, Kid Cudi and John Legend have reigned supreme for years. Cruel Summer gives G.O.O.D.’s newcomer an opportunity to prove why Kanye signed them, as well.
On “The Morning,” West introduces singer D’Banj and fuses his reggae-influenced sound with the rawness of Pusha T and Wu-Tang member Raekwon’s lyrics.
West also gives rookie Teyana Taylor the chance to sing alongside John Legend on “Bliss.” The Harlem native was also given the hook to “Sin City,” which incorporates her soft, soulful voice well. She can also be heard as a background vocalist on “To The World.”
“Higher” features singer/producer The-Dream, who uses his production knowledge to make his voice an instrument itself. This combined with stylistic opposites Pusha T and Ma$e somehow makes sense.
Similar to R. Kelly’s feature, fans will be elated to hear the infamous bad boy rap.
“One, two, guess who back again/Harlem in this?/Yeezy let Manhattan in,” raps Ma$e.
Although Cruel Summer barely made the season deadline, there is no question that this is the rap album of the summerand will probably continue to shadow over competition for the rest of 2012.