Album Review | Kanye West – Graduation

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This album came out on September 11th in 2007. Based on the singles that I’ve heard, I think that this might be my favorite Kanye West album, but I’m not really sure. There are some singles on here that I don’t really like that much tho, so I really don’t know what I’m gonna think about this one. I think it’s gonna be dope tho. This album thankfully has much fewer skits and tracks in general. The skits on the first two albums really kinda hindered my experience with them. It wasn’t that big of a deal, but it was probably my primary complaint. This is arguably the album that I was looking forward to reviewing the most. Actually, I guess I’m excited for all of Kanye’s albums, except for Cruel Summer and Yeezus because I’ve already heard them both. Anyway, I don’t really have shit to say about this album yet. I’m just excited to listen to it.

Track 1: Good Morning (Prod. Kanye West)

I’m just gonna start the song now. This beat is dope af. That first verse was really dope. His delivery sounds more aggressive than usual on this one. The hook’s pretty good. It’s really simple, so there wasn’t really any way he could fuck it up. He just repeats “good morning” about four times. This is really dope. It’s just three dope 8 bar verses and a simple hook over a great beat. This was a great way to open the album up. I fuck with this. This is dope af. That music video is fuckin’ fantastic too. That shit was great. I really like animated music videos when they’re done right. I would watch a Kanye West cartoon where he did the voice for the Dropout Bear. That shit would be dope af. That music video was great. I feel like it compliments the intro to the album really well. This shit is dope af. 5/5

Track 2: Champion (Prod. Kanye West & Brian Miller)

I’ve heard this song before. It wasn’t released as a single, but I remember hearing it on the radio when the album came out. This beat is dope af. These synthesizers are probably the most recognizable difference in Kanye’s production style. When you think about the evolution from Late Registration to Graduation, you usually think about the more electronic elements in the beats. The first verse is dope. The second one is too. I’m not really in love with this bridge from Connie Mitchell at the end. It isn’t terrible tho. I fuck with the song. It’s dope. This music video is stupid as fuck, but I love it. It’s so stupid, but it’s really entertaining. It’s not supposed to be taken seriously. It’s great. That music video’s dope af. I wonder why it isn’t on Kanye’s Vevo channel on YouTube… 4/5

Track 3: Stronger (Prod. Kanye West & Mike Dean)

Stronger

I’ve heard this song, and I’m pretty sure I don’t like it. It’s been a minute since I heard it tho, so maybe my opinion’s changed. Maybe… Okay, it’s starting now. Man… I’m still not in love with it, but this beat is pretty dope. I’m just really not into Daft Punk. This is kinda growing on me tho. The verses were cool. Not amazing or anything, but liked them. “Heard they’d do anything for a Klondike / Well, I’d do anything for a blonde dyke.” I’m pretty sure that that’s one of Kanye’s most notorious lines. I’m still not in love with this song, but I enjoyed it. I like the song. I just don’t love it. It’s dope. I fuck with this. The music video’s cool I guess. It didn’t really do much for me personally. It’s not bad tho. I fuck with the song. The song’s dope. 4/5

Track 4: I Wonder (Prod. Kanye West)

This is one of Kanye’s most popular songs of all time despite not being released as a single. I’ve seen a lot of people list this as their favorite song of his. I know I’ve heard the song before, and I’m pretty sure I liked it. It’s not in my iTunes tho. Not sure why. It’s starting now. This beat is dope af. The synths sound great with this sample. His flow at the beginning of the song is incredibly simple. It works for the beginning tho. He steps it up during the second verse. I don’t have much to say about this shit. It’s just a great song. The beat is dope af. Kanye did his thing on the verses. It’s dope af. 5/5

Track 5: Good Life Feat. T-Pain (Prod. Kanye West, DJ Toomp & Mike Dean)

Good Life

This song always gave me the same vibe as Touch The Sky. It’s definitely not as good, but it puts me in the same mood. T-Pain’s obviously on the hook. It reuses a line that originates from School Spirit, which was on The College Dropout. “I’ma get on this TV momma, I’ma— I’ma put shit down.” The hook’s dope af. The beat’s dope. I definitely don’t think it’s as good as the beat from Touch The Sky, but it’s still dope. The song’s just about being happy and having a good time. It’s party music. I’m not much of a party person, but this song is dope. Kanye did his thing on all of the verses. The way the beat switched up for the third verse was really dope too. This is a dope song. It doesn’t really hit me as hard as some of Kanye’s other celebratory songs, but I still fuck with it. It’s dope. The music video’s cool. Not amazing. That chick in the video was bad af tho. 4/5

Track 6: Can’t Tell Me Nothing (Prod. Kanye West & DJ Toomp)

Can't Tell Me Nothing

This is probably my second favorite single from this album. This beat is fucking incredible. It samples Jeezy’s ad libs, and Connie Mitchell’s background vocals are probably one of the most recognizable elements of the song. The verses fit perfectly into this beat, and the hook is dope af. There isn’t a single thing that I would change about this song. This song is perfect to me. There’s really not much else I could say. It’s absolutely dope af. This is definitely the worst music video from the album so far tho… There’s nothing especially terrible about it. It’s just super generic. The song’s great tho. 5/5

Track 7: Barry Bonds Feat. Lil Wayne (Prod. Kanye West & Nottz)

This is the only song on the album with another rap feature. I’ve only heard the acapella version of this song. Don’t ask why. It’s starting now. This beat is dope. It’s got the most traditional production on the album so far. Kanye’s first verse was dope. The verses have a pretty slow pace. That’s not a bad thing tho. Wayne’s verse wasn’t terrible, but there are some lines in there that kinda piss me off. “Whenever they make them, I shall hayve them / Oops, I meant ‘have‘ them / I’m so crazy / But if you play crazy you be sleeping with daisies / I’m such a hay-vik / Oops I meant ‘havoc.” I really hate it when rappers intentionally pronounce shit wrong just to stretch a shitty rhyme. Even if he did pronounce that last one correctly it still wouldn’t make sense tho. “I’m such a havoc” doesn’t make sense. That’s not how you use that word. That’s like saying “I’m such a craziness” or “I’m such a chaos” or “I’m such a destruction.” It’s just a really bad line. His whole verse wasn’t terrible tho. Just not that good. Kanye easily had the better verse. I fuck with the song. It’s dope. 4/5

Track 8: Drunk & Hot Girls Feat. Mos Def (Prod. Kanye West & Jon Brion)

This beat is cool. I don’t know about this hook. Kanye’s singing it. It’s not horrible, but I could definitely do without it. Oh God… He’s singing the verse too. Why? WHY? Fuck, man… I like the dark production, but Kanye sounds really bad singing this shit… The song is exactly what the title implies it’s about. Mos Def’s singing his verse. He surprisingly sounds a lot better than Kanye. I’m still not feelin’ this shit tho. This is wack to me. It’s not horrible. I like the beat. I’m not feelin’ anything else about it tho. It’s wack. 2/5

Track 9: Flashing Lights Feat. Dwele (Prod. Kanye West & Eric Hudson)

Flashing Lights.jpg

This is easily the best single from this album in my opinion. The beat is fucking incredible. It’s so fuckin’ smooth. Kanye’s verse fits into the production so well too. “Ordered the hors d’oeuvres, views of the water / Straight from a page of your favorite author.” All of the syllables exactly where they should over the drums, and then when the synths go out and the beat gets smoother, the lyrics get smoother too. “And the weather so breezy / Man, why can’t life always be this easy?” It feels like he’s describing the production rather than the weather. Dwele’s hook is so fuckin’ smooth too. I can’t really say anything bad about this song. This is another perfect track. There’s nothing I would change about it. It’s dope af. This song also has arguably Kanye’s most popular music video. I don’t think it’s bad, but it’s definitely not incredible. I don’t really see why so many people think it’s great. It’s cool tho. I like the music video. It’s just not amazing… BUT GOTDAMN LOOOK AT THOSE TITTIES. The song’s dope af. 5/5

Track 10: Everything I Am Feat. DJ Premier (Prod. Kanye West)

This beat is cool. It’s not amazing, but I fuck with it. DJ Premier’s scratches are dope af on this shit. The hook’s average. “Everything I’m not made me everything I am.” He’s just listing a bunch of shit that doesn’t apply to him. “I’ll never rock a mink coat in the wintertime like Killa Cam / Or rock some mink boots in the summertime like Will.I.Am.” There’s not much else to say about it. It’s just a good song. The third verse is dope af. “I know that people wouldn’t usually rap this, but I got the facts to back this / Just last year Chicago had over 600 caskets / Man, killing’s some wack shit / Oh, I forgot, ‘cept for when niggas is rappin’.” This song is dope. The production didn’t really stand out that much unless you count Primo’s scratches. I fuck with the verses tho. It’s dope. 4/5

Track 11: The Glory (Prod. Kanye West, Gee Robertson & Plain Pat)

This beat should be dope. Plain Pat worked a lot with Kid Cudi back when he was making listenable music. This beat is dope af. The sample is from a live performance of someone named Laura Nyro. It kinda sounds like a young Michael Jackson tho. This is a really upbeat song. It gives off the same celebratory vibe that I mentioned earlier when I was talkin’ about Good Life, but this song has a much more soulful feel due to the sample. It’s great. “That tuxedo might have been a little guido, but with my ego I can stand there in a speedo, and be looked at like a fucking hero.” Kanye killed both of these verses. This shit is dope af. I fuck with this. 5/5

Track 12: Homecoming Feat. Chris Martin (Prod. Kanye West & Warryn Campbell)

Homecoming.jpg

I don’t think I disliked this song when I first heard it, but I definitely didn’t love it like most other Kanye songs. Chris Martin is the motherfucker from Coldplay. The beat’s fine. Not amazing. Chris Martin did his thing on the hook. Sonically, this song is pretty average to me. This is exactly what I would expect a Chris Martin & Kanye West collaboration to sound like. Lyrically, the song’s not incredible or anything, but I can get behind it. He’s personifying his home town, Chicago, as a woman. It’s not a new, revolutionary concept, but it’s cool I guess. Kanye did his thing. This is shuffle music for me. If it came on in the car I wouldn’t change it, but I’m not gonna actively play this song. It’s average to me. Same goes for the music video. 3/5

Track 13: Big Brother (Prod. DJ Toomp)

This beat is fucking great. I don’t even mind the electric guitar. Lyrically, Kanye’s just reminiscing about his relationship with Jay Z. It’s kinda emotional… I’m not in love with the subject matter, but he admittedly did a good job with it. It’s actually kind of interesting. Especially the third verse. “On that Diamonds remix I swore I spazzed / Then my big brother came through and kicked my ass.” Okay, maybe Jay’s verse on the remix was better than Kanye’s verse on the remix, but Kanye’s verse on the original was way better. “I told Jay I did a song with Coldplay / Next thing I know he got a song with Coldplay / Back in my mind I’m like ‘Damn, no way‘ / Translate, Español ‘No way, Jose.” That last line kinda sucks. It’s not “Español.” All he did was insert a stereotypical Spanish name. I’m nitpicking tho. “Then I went and told Jay Brown / Shoulda known that was gonna come back around / Shoulda talked to you like a man; shoulda told you first / But I told somebody else and that’s what made shit worse.” I would’ve been mad about that shit too. Fuck Jay Z for that. Just kidding. Hahaha. I fuck with this song. The production is dope af. The hook isn’t great, but it gets the job done. This song is dope af. 5/5

Track +1: Good Night Feat. ALBe. Back & Mos Def (Prod. Kanye West)

This is a bonus track from the iTunes, UK, & Japanese versions of the album. Mos Def’s singin’ on the intro & hook. I’m not in love with it. That definitely could’ve been better. It’s not really terrible tho. It doesn’t ruin the track. I’m specifically talkin’ about the intro. He sounds fine on the hook. This beat is dope af. Kanye did his thing on the only verse. I’m not familiar with Al Be Back, but he did his thing on the bridge. It’s another simple track, just like the intro. Kanye had three short verses on Good Morning, and he just has one regular sized verse on this outro. This is a pretty good way to close the album in my opinion. This is dope af. I fuck with this. 5/5

Track +2: Bittersweet Poetry Feat. John Mayor (Prod. Kanye West)

This is another bonus track from the Japanese version of the album. I’m really not a fan of John Mayor, so I don’t know how I’m gonna feel about this one. This beat is dope. Oh God… This is a love song, and the hook from John Mayor is really sappy… I’m not feelin’ the hook. I rarely like love songs, and this isn’t one of the few that I can get behind. This isn’t for me. If you like love songs you would probably like this. I really don’t know. It’s just not for me. I’m not feelin’ it. 2/5

Track +3: Classic (Better Than I’ve Ever Been) Feat. Nas, KRS-One & Rakim [Prod. DJ Premier & Rick Rubin]

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Damn. Those features are fuckin’ crazy. Kanye West, Nas, KRS-One & Rakim all on one track? That’s bananas. Same goes for the production credits. This track isn’t on any version of the album. It was released by Nike on February 27th in 2007. I’m not really sure why this track exists… Apparently, the proceeds from the sales of this single went towards something called the “Force4Change Fund.” Not sure what that’s about… Anyway, I’m just gonna go ahead and tell y’all what I think. It’s starting now. This beat is fuckin’ great. Primo did a good ass job with this one. Rakim’s on the first verse. He went in. His flow was dope. “Timeless, so age don’t count in the booth / When your flow stay submerged in the fountain of youth.” His verse was dope af. That’s to be expected from a legendary MC like him tho. Oh shit… Kanye’s got some really dope lines in his verse. “That’s so novice / I’m so polished / I got a right to be a lil bit snobbish.” That’s a legendary Kanye bar. I heard that line before I even knew this song existed. C Dot Castro sampled that line for the hook in his song, Kilo. Kanye’s verse was dope af. Sonically, this fits in more with The College Dropout than it does with Graduation. The only reason I’m talking about this track for the Graduation review is because it came out in the same year. There must’ve been a fuck load of hype behind Kanye for him to get on a song with legendary MCs like this. I guess there weren’t really any other mainstream MCs that could rhyme like this. Anyway, Nas is goin’ in now. His verse was dope af too. “In the streets I’m in, it’s just iron / Cops keep firing in my environment / Leaving you slumped, then they drive home / Far from the hood; brothers they eager to jump on.” That was great. Oh… For a second, I was like “Why the fuck do they keep mentioning the Air Force Ones?” but then I remembered that this song was put together by Nike. “In a fresh pair Air Force One sneakers.” “I’m classic like the Air Ones; the hustler shoe / That’s what I’m accustomed to.” That shameless marketing just bothered me a tiny bit. It’s really not much of a problem tho. KRS-One killed it too. It’s what you expect from him. He’s on that old school, elitist, “kids these days don’t know nothin’ ’bout REAL Hip Hop” shit. It was dope af. Wow. This is a really good song. I can’t believe I’ve never heard this shit. This is better than a lot of the songs on the actual album. I definitely fuck with this song. This is dope af. The music video wasn’t really anything special, but I still enjoyed seeing all these MCs rapping in the same video. The song’s dope af. 5/5

Track +4: Impossible Feat. Twista, Keyshia Cole & BJ The Chicago Kid (Prod. Kanye West)

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This was the Mission Impossible 3 theme song apparently. It’s probably gonna be awful. Twista’s dope tho, so maybe it isn’t that bad. The movie came out on May 5th in 2006. That’s probably when the song was released. I don’t know or care. It’s starting now. Uh oh… Nah… Nah… Nah… I’m not feelin’ this. This beat is wack to me… This is easily the wackest Kanye West beat I’ve ever heard. Well… On Sight is definitely worse… This is still bad tho. Apparently there isn’t an uncensored version of this song in existence. I mean, there definitely is, but it hasn’t been released to the public. Wow. This is really wack. I’m not feelin’ this hook at all. This is the Mission Impossible 3 theme song? THIS? This doesn’t sound like action movie shit. This sounds like fuckin’… I don’t even know. I can’t think of a good comparison… Twista’s verse just ended. I don’t know… I guess the verse was alright, but… This just isn’t a good song… Wow. I actually really liked Kanye’s verse… Goddamnit… I hate when this shit happens. I liked Kanye’s verse, but… I just can’t deal with this shit… It’s not good. This is a wack song. The verses weren’t bad. The beat & hook were pretty bad tho. This is wack to me. Why the fuck was Keyshia Cole even on this song? She was awful on this shit. I don’t even think I heard BJ… Was that him on the outro? That… That was nothing. He didn’t do shit on this song… Well, fuck it. It’s over. I already know I don’t like the song. I’m not feelin’ this shit. It’s wack to me. I liked Kanye’s verse tho… 2/5

Final Thoughts:

This album is dope. I surprisingly didn’t like it as a whole as much as the first two albums, but it was still good. It’s definitely worth checking out. I think I like this electronic direction he took with the production, but I think it’s at it’s best when it’s really smooth, like on I Wonder or Flashing Lights. Shit like Stronger seems like it would be perfect for white people to fist pump to in the club. I didn’t like shit like that as much. I wish I got more of the smoother shit, but this album is still good. I think it’s good that Kanye started to take more risks with this album. It’s slightly less consistent than the first two albums in my opinion, but it has more exciting and memorable singles. Any album with a song like Flashing Lights needs to be checked out. If you for whatever reason don’t wanna listen to this classic album, at least listen to Flashing Lights. If you don’t end up liking the song, then fuck me.

Favorite Song: Flashing Lights

Least Favorite Song: Drunk & Hot Girls

Verdict:

84%

HOTTTTT

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