Kanye West - Late Registration, 2005
Signed up the 07/06/2017Back at it again!
Where to begin with this review? I think the truth will be the best place to start. This may/may not be a big secret, but I happen to be a Kanye West Stan. For the most part, he is the reason why I got into hip hop, so you would think I would know most of his albums off by heart… and to a certain extent I do but I only paid attention to the albums that made a big impact on my life. music is very subjective and a lot of us relate to certain songs simply based on how they made you feel at the time. So… when it came to Kanye’s sophomore album, I had to listen to it with new ears.
I do have to mention, when it comes to all aspects of art, there is an overwhelming pressure for the artist to outperform their initial work. No one wants to be known as a “One Hit Wonder” or be told that their work will never be as great as their initial work. I think, this in turn, puts artists into boxes that either forces them to form a generic formula to succeed (or avoid conflict from critics) or give them an opportunity to revamp their creative style to show people that they are versatile which can go well… or flop immensely.
But then again, I think, when it comes to how well an artist’s work is critiqued depends on the person critiquing the work, what criteria they are using to critic the work and what the masses think at that certain stage. Let’s look at Nas for example: In 1996, Nas released “Illmatic” which received critical acclaim worldwide. In 1998 he released “It Was Written” which also received critical acclaim worldwide but also surpassed Illmatic in sales which at the time, it was defined as the “better album” between the two BUT here’s the tricky part, although “It Was Written” had more numbers in sales, a lot of people regard Illmatic as the better album because they critic the album with a different criterion nowadays. You see?
That was a long-winded history lesson, but it had to be done to understand this review. So back to Kanye’s review. How did I find the album? Surprisingly nice. Did ya’ll know this album was the very same album that gave us “Gold Digger,” “Heard ‘Em Say” and “Touch the Sky?” (ya’ll probably knew but didn’t tell me. Smh) Those songs were my anthems back in the day. Gold Digger had slick visuals, Heard ‘Em Say had slick visuals and Adam Levine [Author’s Note: I am a sucker when it comes to crossover genres. Hip Hop and Rock, Hip Hop and Soul, Hip Hop and anything is a definite yes from me.] Touch the Sky was my “I’m going to be great in this world” hype man song. So, when it came to the first four songs, this album did great.
It took a deep turn though. I mentioned in my “College Dropout” Review that Kanye’s album can be read as an oral storybook that follows Dan Harmon’s story circle (that is an adaptation of Joseph Campbell’s Monomyth/” Hero’s Journey”). This album follows the same pattern. But I think, to understand Kanye’s Trilogy, you must look at the albums individually then take a step back then analyse them holistically. Individually, each album has a different message to give us and gives us an overview of where Kanye’s head space was back then. I think in this album, we were dealing with the same man who walked onto a tv broadcast just to say, “George Bush doesn’t care about Black people.” It was deep. It was real. This album reflects that. Songs like “Roses” and “Diamonds of Sierra Leone” will have you questioning how humanity interacts with one another despite all the good and bad that always seems to be a constant in our lives.
The Broke Man fraternity skits were my favourite. Mostly because they were hilarious and because I am financially slacking aka broke, so I could relate to that fraternity on a spiritual level. Drive Slow is a jam (wow.) for a second album, this album did quite well.
According to me (the critique using her own criteria to critic an album in her day and age. See what I did there?) the album isn’t the College Dropout, but it comes second best. Because… you know… it’s the second album :’)
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