KANYE WEST: LATE REGISTRATION PREVIEW
maybe they need to call it early enrollment instead
Damn - the Internet moves fast. The final tracklisting for Kanye's new album just came out in the last day or so but folks have already managed to jack the finished version and upload it. Late Registration is supposed to drop Aug. 30 but how much you want to bet they'll move up that date? Within 72 hours, I assume every internet junkie is going to have this on their HD.
I gave this two listen-thrus so frankly, just take everything I'm about to say with a grain of salt.
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1) 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."
2) If you hated Kanye on the last album....this won't change your mind. Yeah, I think his lyrics are a bit stepped up (at least flow-wise...I haven't studied the actual verses yet) but if you didn't like his voice and flow before, he's just serving more of the same. Slightly improved but it's not like he's about to knock Jay-Z, Nas or Eminem off their perch.
3) The music, for the most part, is great, especially if you're a fan of his production style (and I am). It's not as straight-loop heavy as his earlier songs have been - there's definitely more instrumentation and musicianship being flexed on a few songs (I want to call it "post-Andre 3000"). There's also some surprisingly rugged drum tracks that are a welcome departure from all the hand-claps that he typically produces with (though there are hand-claps here as well).
4) The Great:
- "Heard 'Em Say" (feat. Adam Levine from Maroon 5) - this is the first song (after the opening skit) and it's got a sublime, soulful track - a drizzle of keys, subtly fuzzed out bassline and a deceptively simple drum track. Levine makes for a surprisingly good cameo on - I don't know if this has much single potential but it definitely has crossover appeal.
- "Gold Digger" - sure, people are already bored of it (and I can feel that) but it's fun song. Within the sequencing of the album, it helps maintain the album's opening energy.
- "Crack Music" (feat. The Game) - The Game isn't really on this - he just does the hook, no verses (which I'm certain many prefer). Hardest beat on the album - dumb rugged drums, a vocal loop and some horn stabs. Kanye tries to get all Black Panther political. Do with that what you will.
- "We Major" (feat. Nas and Really Doe) - again, I've seen very mixed opinions about this online (it leaked a few days ago) but I like the concentration of overlaid horns on here. It's dense without being cluttered, anthematic without being loud. Really Doe = eh but I'm not mad at Nas' cameo.
- "Hey Mama" - the vocal loop is mad soulful...this sounds like something that Cam'ron would have destroyed (in a good way) had he been given the track. The chorus is a little on the cheese side but I can look past that. It also begins the the album's trail to the end well.
- "Gone" (feat. Consequence and Cam'ron) - Like "Heard 'Em Say," this is powered on a pinkling piano loop and a simple drum break, plus some strings thrown in but this is a very sparse track, all things considered. Damn - I know where these drums are from, I can even hear the OG in my head but for the life of me, I can't remember what it is. Anyways, Cam turns in a strong cameo and I wasn't mad at Consequence's turn either. This is the last "official" song and it's as good as opening song except that Kanye should have stuck to one verse instead of two. He overstays his welcome.
- "Late" - Second of two bonus tracks. Track is bonkers, I can't even describe it adequately (especially not at 1am) but the live electric piano is a very nice touch.
- "Touch the Sky" (feat. Lupe Fiasco) - the beat (from a Curtis Mayfield sample I think) is lively, very '70s, very early disco. I can see "single" stamped on this. Liked it, didn't love it.
- "Drive Slow" (feat. Paul Wall and GLC) - Not a bad song though it sounds like it could have been on the Gorillaz album. That's not a dis. Not exactly.
- "Celebration" - it's pleasant enough. Super mellow, like a Patrice Rushen song from the early '80s.
- "My Way Home" (feat. Common) - it's not wack but it totally sounds like a leftover track from Be, down to the Gil Scott Heron loop running beneath it.
- "Roses" - So Andre 3000. Minus Andre 3000.
- "Bring Me Down" (feat. Brandy) - Overwrought, overloaded. My least favorite song on here thus far.
- "Addiction" - the track is ok, the concept is interesting but the execution doesn't come together.
- "Diamonds From Sierra Leone" Remix (feat. Jay-Z) - I never liked this beat. Still don't.
- "Diamonds From Sierra Leone" - they include the OG version as a bonus track. Why?