As G.O.O.D. As "Gold"
No Lovin'?

Better Late Than Never

Reviews are still pouring in for Kanye West's CD Late Registration -- some of it is good and some of it is bad. All in all, one of the critical sticking nagging points with the disc is Kanye lyrical skills -- or lack thereof. But mostly all have said that Kanye's production (with assistance from rock producer Jon Brion) on the set is top notch.

This is the last round up of reviews before I offer my take on Kanye's CD. And for the record, when I say the K-Wizzy is a hip-hop genius, I'm not saying he's "the greatest rapper of all time" and that Nas, Rakim or [name your favorite rapper here] should bow down and kiss his feet. HOWEVER, in terms of Kanye's musical input in the rap game -- production-wise and sometimes lyrically -- this man is doing an exceptional job. In my opinion, Kanye is hip-hop personified. Or, as one blogger proclaims, "Kanye West is a very smart man."

I love "Gold Digger" and I think it's a fun rap cut. Yes, Kanye is sub par with his the lyrical skills but so are 50 Cent, Madlib (Quasimoto), Common, Mike Jones, Kano, Slim Thug and others. Like those rhyme-spitters I aforementioned, they shine on some tracks while on others they are horrible.

That being said, Kanye's lyrical flow is an acquired taste. I don't mind K-West's lyrical flow sometimes. And I do believe he has a brilliant mind when it comes to this hip-hop shit. On Late Registration, Kanye seems to broaden his horizons thanks to some studio help from Jon Brion.

And blogger Douglas seems to agree, as well. On his blog, The Armchair Novelist, he dissects each track of Late Registration describing the production values and lyrical output. Douglas says:

"It's hard to compare this to College Dropout, but if I had to, I'd have to say that Late Registration is slightly better. It drags after the first eight tracks, and picks up steam at the end. If this album were only fourteen tracks, it would be rap album of the year.
"[Instead it's] the second best, but this year has been so lackluster for rap music, that if Jay-Z came back and recorded himself taking a bath, he'd have the second-best rap album of the year. We know this is going on a year-end list or two. Maybe Kanye can trim the fat and capitalize on his absurd level of potential when graduation day comes along."
But what seems to hold this CD back from garnering "classic" status is Kanye's lyrical skills. Poet-humanitarian hardCore believes that Kanye is, well, lyrically faking it. "Man, I swear, I don't get the fascination with Kanye," questions hardCore. "I really don't [and] "I'm not hating either. I enjoy[ed] some of the beats, but there is something missing in his [MC] game. When he tries to be deep and educated, I don't believe him. When he tries to be raw, I don't believe him."

Music head Frankie of a hint of red blog also concurs that Kanye needs to step up on his lyrical game:

"I love how everyone claims to like Kanye West yet no one has realized how shitty of a rapper he is. Man-o-man . . . his beats are cool and he's a wonderful producer (listen to Be) but the man just has no talent when it comes to rapping."
And blogger Rizoh believes Kanye is simply a con man:
"Peep the KonMan on the most recent issue of Time magazine as they rightfully attribute the success of Hip-Hop's backpack-mainstream connection to Mr. West (amongst others). His upcoming Late Registration album is obviously one of the most anticipated albums of 2005, so what better way to add fuel to the fire than to have Hov get at the corporate guys at Time."
In the end, I think Joey of Straight Bangin' blog gives an excellent assessment of Kanye's lyrical and production skills on Registration. Joey says:
"Kanye's second album is not nearly as good as his first. Sure, it's more refined. And it will probably make music critics piss themselves while they fight each other for a chance to write absurd, grandiloquent pronouncements like 'With soaring, regal beats and a triumphant aesthetic . . .' But his rhyming is only decent at best; some tracks, like 'Addictive' suffer from [The Roots'] Tipping Point syndrome (different for the sake of it); and others, like 'Heard 'Em Say,' are just horrible. (Phrenology remains the best of the recent attempts to "move the genre forward" or whatever self-absorbed explanation artists give when they do something risky and stupid.)
"Really, this is a pop record made by rappers. There is a decidedly absent hip-hop element to this record. Great beats are important, but the greatest of beats -- even contemporary bangers like 'Grindin'' -- earn such high regard because while they carry the rhythm and melody, they also showcase the MC. That's not the case on this soulless album."
While you wait for the official release of Kanye West's Late Registration, which hits stores on Tuesday, peep these tracks below from the disc:

You can listen to Late Registration in its entirety right HERE. (Warning: you have to fill out a questionaire) (via NME magazine online)

Big-ups to the folks at HipHopGame.com for lacing rap fans with hot Kanye West heaters:

Kanye West (F/ Consequence and Cam'ron) -- "Gone"

Kanye West -- "Touch the Sky"

And peep this joint out: Kanye West and Brandy team up again for "Bring Me Down."
(Via Kevin Daily)
(Additive Note: This is not my favorite song, so already Kanye gets a strike from me with this tune.)

Holla!

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