Back In Black
Better Late Than Never

As G.O.O.D. As "Gold"

I got a prob with niggas speaking gossip/
Talk about what cha know nothing in this nonsense/
That's a Bronson, Charlie take precaution/
Get cha sold on the block/ no not an auction/
Dearly departin' / I'm not a G/
But I move like they move with a head full of smarts, man/
Here these niggas go ram-blin'/
'Cause they don't know about the business we be han-dlin' . . .

-- Rapper Big Pooh of Little Brother, "Lovin' It"

Although Bol thinks super producer-rapper Kanye West is gay, I, myself, think that K-West is a hip-hop genius. (Yeah, I said it! Whuuut!)

Exhibit A:

I'm totally lovin' Kanye's video for "Gold Digger" (F/ Jamie Foxx). The clip is a visual eye candy featuring Kanye's swagger and video pin-up girls. The video is mad funny, tastefully done and visually brilliant. Ryan from the coolest music-video blog, Purpology, describes 'Ye's clip as "classy."

Ryan pens (or types):

"[Kanye] spends most of this clip with his back to the camera as if he's too good to fully turn around in his own damn video. It's brilliant and cocky and it makes you want more. Though there would be no Little X (or X, whatever) without Hype Williams, the fisheye-friendly director seems to be eating himself (influentially speaking) as this one comes off as a classy X "just shoot the star against a bright background" rip. Classy because the women are wearing vintage lingerie instead of cut-off jeans and they're posing in front of backgrounds that look like old-school Playboy ads."
Exhibit B:
Music reviews are already pouring in on Kanye's Late Registration CD, which has been leaked on the Internet within the last couple of days.

Everyone's favorite hip-hop blogger Oliver Wang gives Kanye West's disc a partial thumbs up.

O-Dub writes:

"For those praying for the sophomore slump . . . it's not happening. This isn't just a passable album nor is it College Dropout, Part 2. Everything on here sounds more mature and fussed over. That doesn't necessarily make it better than College Dropout (I'm not ready to make that kind of assessment) but it's no fall-off either. Believe me -- I would have been happy if the album sucked and Kanye was forced to dial his diva-ego down a notch but really? I couldn't believe how many times I heard a song off here and thought, "damn, this is really kind of good."
But Bol of thinks Late Registration is straight garbage and that Kanye is mucho teh ghey.

Bol spits in his acidic intro:

A year from now, after he's run afoul of the Jews and hence gone broke and taken up karate, people are going to look back and say, "You know what? Byron Crawford was right: Kanye West really does have very little actual talent." What a poor fucking album.
But writer Sach of Chungking Express in Brooklyn blog has written -- in my humble opinion -- the best critical review of Late Registration. He gives a track-by-track description of each song and its aesthetic appeal.

Overall, Sac describes the disc as such:

"Beyond quality material, West himself has learned to play his strengths and minimize his weaknesses: he's bumped his emceeing up a notch with a more agile flow and by inviting more guests to fill in verses, a smart move considering a little West goes a long way. Production wise, West has come a long way from the Blueprint's "chipmunk soul."

Realizing that he wanted a bombastic, operatic sound, Kanye hired film-composer/rock producer Jon Brion to assist him behind the boards: the result is a warmly mixed, synth heavy album that reinforces Kanye's bombast but at least does so consistently. This is not an album for fans of hip-hop's '88 sound, but those who appreciate the modern aesthetic will find themselves hard pressed to find a better produced album this year, even if the over the top grandeur may or may not be looked back on as the rap equivalent of Styx/Foreigner or at best, Queen."

And for those of you who are wondering, who is this guy -- or in Bol's case douche bag -- named Jon Brion, MP3 blog 15 Minutes To Listen offers a short discography on Jon's production work. But Jon is mostly known for his studio time with reclusive rocker Fiona Apple (both her debut album Tidal and the 1999 follow-up When the Pawn . . .).

Finally, blogger (Mike) Shep really enjoyed Kanye's Late Registration but hated the bonus tracks. He believes there should be a ban on bonus tracks by artists because they are often gimmicky and unnecessary.

Shep opines:

"The album (Late Registration) is going to be one of the best albums of the next year or so. The production on it is stellar. But in general, these bonus tracks are pointless and can be left off. Pressure the artists to release good music and people will buy again. You don't need gimmicks like this to make people buy the album, all you need is good music."
And it's safe to say, that Kanye West makes G.O.O.D. Music.

I'll give my take on Late Registration when I have an official copy in my hands.