I copped Kanye West's Late Registration CD on Saturday. After three repeated listens, here's my take on the disc "a la Bol" style (this is not a full album review). These are my afterthoughts -- stream of consciousness type stuff.
You can also listen to the disc in its entirety via EJ Flavors' Radio Blog.
Before you begin reading, I decided to not mention any of the "Me Phi Broke" skits that are featured on Late Registration because they were dumb and totally unnecessary. Hey Kanye, stick with the music and leave the interludes for DJ/producer/skits master Prince Paul. Now on with the recap:
"Heard 'Em Say" (F/ Maroon 5's Adam Levine)
The beat is bangin'! Kanye said some poignant things on here. This is a dope kick-off song to the set. This is a standout track.
"Touch the Sky" (F/ Lupe Fiasco)
Just Blaze is a great producer. This is a kick-ass anthemic song and I love the Curtis Mayfield horn-sampled loop on here. This is a radio-ready single. A hot contender for Song of the Year honors.
"Gold Digger" (F/ Jamie Foxx)
Another great rap song. It's fun and cheeky. Rap music needs to be fun nowadays.
"Drive Slow" (F/ Paul Wall and GLC)
I like how that jazzy horn sample comes in and out of the song. Paul Wall is a dope rhyme-slinger and a shining star in the Dirty South. I would love to hear his debut CD The People's Champ. Paul Wall is about to blow up so don't sleep on him. I like GLC, too. This is a nice track.
"My Way Home" (F/ Common)
I like this track, but I betcha this song was axed from Common's Be. Nevertheless, this is a skippable track for me.
"Crack Music" (F/ Game)
This joint is siiick! Kanye is trying to get socially consciousness, once again. Kanye says that the crack era/Ronald Reagan-era birthed gangsta rap -- duuhhh! At least 'Ye is trying to educate a few fools who didn't know that. It's cool, but it's not impressive. White critics will probably fawn over this song because of Kanye's attempt to get hardcore. But Kanye gets a C for his efforts. But he geets props for trying to bring some type of socially awareness in the rap game. Game should have not appeared on the hook -- he should have spitted a rhyme. All and all, this is a very dope track. It's crack music, nigga. Whuuut!
No relation to Andre 3000's "Roses" on The Love Below. And quite frankly, Andre's song is way better. I like the beat, but I'm not feeling Kanye's lyrics on here. He keeps talking about the AIDS epidemic, which is cool but let's move on, Kanye, because you are not offering us any real serious thoughts about the situation. The beat is sick, though. Kanye is a dope producer.
"Bring Me Down" (F/ Brandy)
I'm not feeling this track. This is the requisite R&B/hip-hop song for the album. Some say that this is a radio-ready single. Ahh, nope, this isn't it. This tune falters because K-Wizzy and B-Rocka are boring on this song. This number should have been cut from the disc. This song brings me down. Next track, please!
Oh, boy. Kanye is fucking up now. He's trying to get all abstract. K-Wizzy is not an abstract dude. I kinda like the beat, but I'm not feeling Kanye on this song. This sounds like Kanye's abstract love ballad. This is definitely a skippable track.
"Diamonds" (Remix) (F/ Jay-Z)
I like this song. Nice sample -- James Bond theme shit or whatever. Jigga is dope as usual. I believe Kanye's sincerity on this track. Yes, I do believe that Kanye is concerned about the issue of Africans dying in diamonds mines because of America's fascination for the bling-bling.
"We Major" (F/ Nas and Really Doe)
I like this track but it's not my favorite. It sounds too lazy. Nas is okay on here and Really Doe . . . well, I just don't know about him. In the end, this is a skippable track for me.
Great! Kanye is back on track. This is a nice joint. Any rapper who dedicates a song to his mama, get props from me. And I don't care how teh ghey that it is. Niggas need to love their mamas more and stop acting like stank bitches. This is a standout track. Props!
Oh, brother. I'm not feeling this song. Kanye is in his "let's get experimental" mood again. And Kanye ain't saying shit on this joint. This is definitely a throwaway track. Wooo-wheee, this is poo-poo. I'm not feeling this joint at all. Damn, what's up with this track, Kanye?
"Gone" (F/ Cam'ron and Consequence)
Thank you, Kanye. THIS BEAT IS SIIICK!!!! Crrrazzy! Another standout track!
A straight BANGER! Cam'ron blazed the track with his nursery rhymes. Consequence is dope, too. Holy shit, this is Hot! This is a rap radio-ready single. I love the piano loop and dramatic violins. A rewindable track, fo sho. Blazing! You got another hit here K-Wizzy! Yessir!
"Late" (Hidden Track)
I like this song, it's kinda soulful. It's ii-ight. But in the end, it's a skippable track, for me.
There is no sophomore jinx here. This is a very good album. The good parts are that Kanye's production acumen is as sharp as ever. There are some tight beats here. Kanye's average lyrics skills are a problem, but not so much that it hampers the cohesiveness of the disc. As oppose to the other rhyme-spitters in the rap game right now -- who are average at best when it comes to lyrics -- Kanye fits right in. I think 'Ye should have trimmed the song selections down to about 11 tracks.
Now the real important question: Is Late Registration a hip-hop masterpiece?
But it's certainly one of the finest rap albums in 2005. It will definitely grace my Top 10 year-end list, but not very high. I love Kanye's latest and I'm currently dumping joints into my iPod. Kanye didn't impress me lyrically on this disc. But like I say before, 'Ye shines lyrically on some tracks, while on others he's horrible. He's your average rapper. And most of the rhymers who are topping the music charts right now are average, at best . . . so what's the fuss?
Kaye West's CD Late Registration is not bad at all -- in fact, it's great. There are some definite bangers on here.
Horray for Kanye! He did it again!