West’s ‘Summer’ hot and cold

Released: Sept. 18, 2012

Label: Getting Out Our Dreams, Inc. / The Island Def Jam Music Group

 

Kanye West Presents Good Music Cruel Summer is the first album from the hip-hop group “Good Music,” a group that includes West, Pusha T, Kid Cudi, Common, Big Sean and Mos Def among others.

The album that was billed as Pusha T’s coming out party quickly becomes an exhibition in Kanye West’s abilities as a producer.

From Summer’s opening track, “To the World,” West uses a vast array of instruments and vocal harmonies mixed with the lyrics you would expect from a Kanye West album. “To the World” features West’s fellow Chicago artist R. Kelly providing a catchy sung hook leading into a solid minute verse by West.

Summer is more reminiscent of a Wu-Tang Clan album than a typical West album – each track either features multiple artists or someone other than West rapping on a beat he produced.

Grand pianos, which West seems to have fallen in love with following the success of tracks like, “Runaway” and “Devil in a New Dress” off My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, play a major part on Summer; being featured on six of the 12 tracks.

While West branches out in certain aspects of production, such as using some helicopter and gun shot soundtracks on tracks like, “The One,” West sticks to his roots of using gospel samples along with drums for beats on tracks like, “To the World” and “Sin City.”

West’s famously inflated sense of self-worth are evident, with raps like, “R. Kelly and the king of rap / sh—— on you / holy crap.” However, the self-glossed “Louis Vuitton Don” shows a sense of awareness on “Clique.” West refers to his girlfriend Kim Kardashian’s sex tape, rapping, “My girl a superstar / all from a home movie.”

Stylistically speaking, the best song on the album is “New God Flow.” The track was released in early August, but the album version features an additional verse from Wu-Tang Clan’s Ghostface Killah, added because the original sample of the song is from Killah’s 2000 track “Might Healthy.”

“New God Flow” features a drum and piano heavy beat and impressive lyrics from West, such as, “I went from the most hated / to the champion god-flow / I guess that’s a feelin’ only me and LeBron know,” and “Welcome to Sunday service / if you hope to some day serve us / We got green in our eyes / just follow my Erick Sermon.”