Music » CD Reviews

Kanye West

Graduation (Roc-A-Fella)

by

comment
1398674.0.jpeg
Kanye is the most exciting man in rap music. That's because he puts out quality albums. Forget the artless 50 Cent and ditch Akon -- Kanye tries much, much harder than both of them.

Graduation, which has 13 bangers and zero skits, reflects the man's tireless work ethic. Having united backpackers and clubbers with his first two albums, he's now shooting for the entire planet. From touring with the Rolling Stones and U2, Kanye's learned to craft simple arena jams that an international audience can sing along to. "La, la, la, la, wait till I get my money right," he croons on "Can't Tell Me Nothing," which is ridiculously catchy. The same goes for "Good Life," featuring T-Pain, and "Stronger," spotlighting Daft Punk and a downright industrial beat.

Graduation isn't deep lyrically, but it works because it trims the clunky, metaphor-heavy lyricism people merely tolerated on Kanye's earlier records. Here, Kanye lets Lil Wayne do the heavy lifting on "Barry Bonds," while Chris Martin sings the chorus on the gorgeous "Homecoming."

Though some of Kanye's lines are corny (see the Jay-Z tribute, "Big Brother"), Graduation will nonetheless be the mega-smash that the rapper wants it to be. It may not outsell 50's album, but we'll still be talking about it when both men are dead.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at news@clevescene.com.

Cleveland Scene works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Cleveland and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Cleveland's true free press free.