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Album Review: Kanye West Presents G.O.O.D Music’s “Cruel Summer”


Rating: 8.5/ 10

For anyone with a somewhat solid grasp on the career arc of Kanye West, this should at least sound a little familiar. It’s not the first time we’ve heard of him revamping an entire album; Kanye did that for his debut album, and it turned out to be one of the best moves he’s ever made. Kanye’s also familiar with making people wait; throughout the G.O.O.D. Friday releases, he’s at times dropped them so late it could be considered Saturday to some. So Ye’ suddenly post-poning the iTunes version of his latest G.O.O.D. Music creation, Cruel Summer, until late Tuesday afternoon isn’t that big of a deal. As long as the music’s still good, then most of us will tune in. Those who waited to cop the iTunes version indeed got a better-sounding project, but the content – and the overall feeling of déjà vu – is still intact.

The entire album is paced to flow together, but the LP manages to do that well despite five of the tracks being out well before Cruel Summer’s release. From R. Kelly’s teaming with Kanye on “To The World”, to the perfect addition of Ghostface Killah on “New God Flow”, to the seemingly revamped mixing of songs like “Sin City” and “The One”, all of this seems to be in the name of doing something different from the rest of the industry. That thought’s furthered by “Higher”, which features a solid rhyme from Ma$e and an overall infectious sound due to Cocaine 80’s influence. To top it off, Marsha Ambrosius laces the hook for the aforementioned “The One” with relative ease (even if the content is somewhat weird to hear her vocalize), and Raekwon’s verse on “The Morning” is another reason why the Wu-Tang still pose lyrical problems.

The biggest issue with Cruel Summer isn’t that it’s released four days before Fall begins on September 22, or that it’s only 12 songs, or that it officially cosigns Chief Keef into the mainstream market, or even the fact that to get the best-sounding version of the LP you have to cop the iTunes version. Instead, it’s more so the fact that as good as the music is, it still can be considered (sonically) an extension of Kanye’s Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy and his joint LP with Jay-Z, Watch The Throne. With the roster that Yeezy has built, it wasn’t far-fetched for some to expect an album of the year candidate, but it is disappointing and ironic that G.O.O.D. Music could only crank out a good LP. This could be one of the few cases where the overproduction pocket that Kanye’s quarterbacked from in the past actually hurts the replay value of Cruel Summer in the end.

With that said, Kanye’s still showing why he’s musically relevant, as he refuses to get stuck in a “box” like others, even at the risk of alienating the few of his fans that think he’s doing too much. If you liked his last two outputs, then chances are that you’ll enjoy this one as well, if not more. Bangers like “Mercy” and “Cold” are still as aggressive as ever, while seemingly everyone on the label has incredible outings whenever they’re featured. Although almost half of the songs here have been heard before, Cruel Summer is still a solid play that accurately displays the potential of the G.O.O.D roster; that’s undeniable from any angle.

  • Frankey Shears

    good album, I didn’t skip a song listening to it!

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  • Negro Peligro

    It was aight.

  • soft..not feelin it

    • jay

      Good. Thats one less hater g.o.o.d. Music needs to worry about.

      • MDL88

        what a fag response ..Album is for gay Europeans..weak lifestyle rap

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  • Lamonte Johnson

    The only good songs were 1-7 tho. It’s like he aint care about 8-12 and the fact that chief keef punk ass is on there even after he tried to shit on kanye pisses me off

  • It was definitely a better album than the self made vol.2 album by MMG and to date definitely one of the best hip hop albums releasd this year easy 8/10.

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  • WillVetterGoodin

    lamed out, #THISRADIOBULLSHITISNOTHIP-HOP

  • Rasta

    I like Pusha T, the rest suck (Kanye Included)

  • Ph3n0M47

    what is a Chief Keef? am I missing something? that dude is about as good for hip hop as Elvis. I don’t get it…I dont wanna get it

    • CaliTransplant

      garbage..just garbage! i’m tired of being labeled a hater cause i think the young boy’s music is trash…it’s trash! only one worse than him (worse than anyone really) is lil b. THAT dude is the worst thing ever..i’m still waiting to ‘get’ it…sorry i haven’t…

      • Ph3n0M47

        Definitely not a hater…in order to be that you would have to consciously piss on something that was of some value. This dude is producing nonsense.
        The real haters are the people that listen to this and believe that it’s hip hop because its destroying the culture. A real MC is intelligent, witty, clever, and believable. Apply those standards to 99% of what’s out there today and what you have is not hip hop..its foolishness. The Art of Rap documentary wasn’t perfect, but the segment with KRS is all you need to see to understand what hip hop culture is all about

      • CaliTransplant

        thank you! this mophead shit is so frustrating, it’s sickening what our culture has become! we used to be beautiful; artistic in so many ways..i’m actually a teacher and everyday i see our kids lining up to co-sign this gang-banging, snapback and tattoos bullshit! the other day this kid told me that he thought biggie was wack and couldn’t touch 2 chainz..i almost gave him detention for that dumb shit…just makes me ill…there is no skill or talent whatsoever in any of this! anybody can come up with a hit song by saying mollys and choppas in every song, repeat the one-word title of something random over and over//hell, even vets are sounding like trash lately; both jada and fabolous’ last mixtapes were trash..! more slaughterhouse, less french montana..

      • Ph3n0M47

        First…MUCH respect for shaping young minds, I know its not easy, but I see you.

        My nephew and his friends are in that group that you are talking about. I call them the Lost Boys because of what they are forced to listen to on Hot 97 (from NYC)…and who they believe is “hot”. I played them Step Into a World by KRS a little while ago and they were STUCK. Their raised eyebrows said it all, because they weren’t used to being challenged or forced into actual thought when listening to music. I hit them with Scenario Remix next and it was OVER. YouTube was on fire after that and they were sharing links on facebook for the next week and a half.

        Your right…its very frustrating. Especially when listening to real hip hop cause reactions like that. Like I said in an earlier post…I would have no problem with the stupidness on the radio these days if they just stopped calling it hip hop.

      • CaliTransplant

        Thanks, man. That means a lot.

        The Lost Boys…hmm, it fits…

        And respect to you for having good taste in music! Step Into a World is one of KRS’ (the real GOAT, imo) best songs; makes me hype every time I hear it! That’s what I’m talking about! It’s almost 20 years old and STILL knocking…

      • Sexy_Sabe

        amen!!! I cosign this 110% Im 25 an i was lucky to be a 80’s baby an 90’s kid because im part of the last few who got the real GOOD music.. Almost Everyone born in 95 or later are lost smdh lol Anyone can get rich off rap music now, its like the neighborhood whore everybody gets a shot..

  • pockets_hot_from_pepperoni

    Bottom line if you aren’t nice with your lyrics i’m not fooling w/ya.
    and most of these cats just don’t have it. I’m sorry but if you’re voice is the instrument
    you better be able to come up with something that sounds like you tried. aka big sean
    this dude is terrible it still blows my mind ye snatched this dude up. He sounds like he has down syndrom and always sounds a bar behind on the beat. his flow sucks just as bad as his typical lyrics. it’s a shame to see pusha,ghost and common on a cd with these clowns.