Kanye West - Graduation, 2007
Signed up the 07/06/2017
Zeus knows how long it took me to write down this review. I had already written down a review towards the end of 2017, the only thing that was left was to edit it and send it out to the world… that didn’t happen. Why you may ask? It wasn’t necessarily the body of work I struggled to comment on, it was what the album meant to me and the artist who released this body of work.
I have never been someone who could separate the art from the artist. I believe art is an expression of who you are. Whether it be music, art, writing, film, etc. I feel like I get to know you as a person through that medium. That’s why I struggle a lot when it comes to writing because I don’t want to reveal too much about myself. But I digress, when it came to Kanye, he was an artist I believed I got to know through his music. He spoke about relatable things in his music and his producing work was also pretty good but I put him on pedestal. Learning the hard way that you should never idolize people because people are flawed and would somehow disappoint you later on in life.
I started feeling a huge disenchantment with Kanye round about the moment he started aligning himself with Trump. Granted, Kanye has done and said awful things in the past and this is the mountain I decided to die on? I understand the hypocrisy I found myself in. I guess looking at the past through nostalgic glasses is the same thing as looking back at the past through rose colored glasses: you don’t see the red flags.But I saw them this time around and they charged at me like a bulldozer.
Where to start? Aligning himself with a white supremist who supposedly has dragon energy maybe? or when he decided to forgo facts and history and decide to rewrite history without a pen by proudly claiming slavery was choice? No, it has to be his hot take on mental illnesses. It could be that, I don’t know anymore. All I know is, I haven’t been able to listen to any of his new music since he stopped being my goat. I didn’t want to review this album anymore since he stopped being my goat… it almost worked until I heard “Can’t Tell Me Nothing” on tv and for lack of better words, I lost all my marbles.
50 cent had the right idea when he told Kanye to go ahead and switch his style up and if we hate, he can watch us hate and watch the money pill up and it sure as hell did. This album was different from the mainstream hip hop we were accustomed to back in the day. The hip hop that was either accompanied by soulful beats or gangster rap (with a hard r at the end) where you had to be a certified G who was molded by the streets, by the time they saw the light, they were already men.
The third installment in Kanye’s tetralogy (a compound of work that is made up of four distinct works) of educational themed studio albums sounded nothing like its predecessors and it was either a hit or miss for people. For me? It was a win. The pop inspired electronica music with a bit of indie rock in it really connected with me (the little black girl who had an adverse reaction to house music but would sing her heart out to The Fray or Fall-out Boys). It wasn’t Jay-Z or Immortal Technique with the lyrics but it still slapped nonetheless.
If we’re keeping it 92 to 8, we can say that Kanye officially earned his goat status here by paving the way for artists of today. One could argue, mixing genres is something that’s been happening for a long time, Run DMC did it long ago and I understand that but it didn’t really have the same reach as Graduation had when it dropped. Largely because hip hop had grown from the 90s to the 00s and also because of the internet. An album that had different sounds that reached not only hip-hop fans around the globe but also indie-rock lovers and alternative music lovers was insane feat to reach back in the day.
Graduation is an album with 13 tracks, that stays true to its story telling within itself by still sounding like an individual album of where Kanye was at the time of his life and within the context of his tetralogy from where he was from “The College Dropout” to “Late Registration.” It is a solid piece of work and I would say out of those 13 songs, 11 are my favorite with “Big brother” being my all-time favourite.
All in all, I would recommend anyone to listen to this album. There’s not much to complain about and if there were, it has nothing to do with the production of the work, it is more of a subjective criticism towards the album. Like taking out a few songs or moving one song up so that it flows more into this song but again, that is subjective criticism towards the album.
If I had to give it a rating, it would be a solid 8/10.
TokolloYou are so well spoken. I know how hard it is to remain objective while still being an overall fan. This review is exactly what i expected it to be. Kanye is a borderline genius, A producer.. I love how he introduced new Sounds in Hip-Hop when he dropped this. Experimenting was never his weakness.
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