Last week i walked out of work a friend of mine had pulled out front and yelled that I should step into his automobile and hear the piano work of Chris Martin on the new Kanye West album, Graduation. Post listen this friend let me borrow the record and I think it's quite brilliant.
The record is really laid back. The tracks are really mellow yet hold interest by cutting lyrics. I spent some time in the massive liner notes. Each track having who produced it and where it was recorded. You were probably bored reading that last statement now imagine someone attempting to read a fold out of four pages. What I noticed is that he samples songs from the late 70s and early 80s. Elton John, Michael Jackson, and Can can be found as samples and I think it really sets the tone for the rest of the record. There is a lack of songs that want me to avoid messin with Gold Diggers or remind me that he walks with Jesus. This is the biggest critique of this record but should one compare the present with the past? Does it have to have the drop rockin beats to be considered a great hip hop record?
The recod starts with a really slow intro "Good Morning" that sets the tone for the rest of the record. I wondered why he would set up a record that slow. I remember graduating being the scariest and most mellow time in my life. It wasn't what I thought all the other graduation songs promised it would be. It was scary, hard, and wasn't what i thought it was going to be. I am still working in a Coffee Shop months away from my Graduate degree. I am doing the best that I can with what I have. Which is really close to the best song on the record sampling Daft Punk's Stronger and writing his lyrics on top of that. "Whatever won't kill me / will only make me stronger." What I think he did to this song is what Ryan Adams did to Oasis's Wonderwall, West was able to take a great song and make you feel the essence or flavor of the song. I think you get a great use of the song and makes it literally stronger (no pun intended). This is the radio hit and I did hear it pretty much every time I turned on the radio but I think it's a really fun song. Many are saying that there are no huge hits but I would disagree with that sentiment and suggest you give this song another listen. The video below is for Stronger. Make sure you give it a listen (or two).
Other songs on this album are REALLY laid back. Like I mentioned earlier he uses Chris Martin from Coldplay which I think is quite lovely. Chris gives the song "Homecoming" a pretty simple beat. It's very Common-eque. Which if you didn't realize Kanye is the producer for his records. Mos Def is also used as well as Lil' Wayne, these are not the strongest songs on the album but still worth listening to. I really like this record and if you aren't really into hip hop this might still but a record you might like in your collection (no matter how big or small it may be). I love it. Give it a go.
On another note I was also given the 50 cent record. I didn't even listen to it. I was still trying to injest this one. Why would I want to put myself into a record that I am sure will tell me why he is so tough and why the ladies want him. BORED....I know that's what it would be. He was getting a hand job in the liner notes.