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Graduation's pre-leak talk wasn't as substantive as it was with Kanye West's first two albums. As with just about any other artist's third album, it had to be expected. The College Dropout was one of the most anticipated debuts of the early 2000s, while Late Registration had people wondering why Kanye would feel the need to work so extensively with multi-instrumentalist rock producer Jon Brion (the J Dilla of the chamberlin) and whether or not Kanye's hubristic tendencies would get the better of it. With Graduation, there was Takashi Murakami's artwork, a silly first-week sales competition with the decreasingly relevant 50 Cent, and chatter about synthesizers running wild. That was about it, but it all seemed loud and prevalent, due in part to a lack of high-profile rap albums released in 2007. Graduation is neither as bold nor as scattered as The College Dropout, and it's neither as extroverted nor as sonically rich as Late Registration. Kanye still makes up for his shortcomings as an MC and lyricist by remaining charmingly clumsy, frequently dealing nonsense through suspect rhyme schemes: "I never be picture-perfect Beyoncé/Be light as Al B. or black as Chauncey/Remember him from Blackstreet, he was black as the street was/I never be laid-back as this beat was." The songs that are thematically distanced, introspective, and/or wary -- there are many of them -- are, in turn, made more palatable than insufferable. That his humor remains a constant is a crucial aspect of the album, especially considering that most other MCs would sound embittered and hostile if they were handling similar subjects, like haters new and old, being a braggart with a persistent underdog complex, getting wrapped up in spending and flaunting, and the many hassles of being a hedonist. Those who have admired Kanye as a sharp producer while detesting him as an inept MC might find the gleaming synth sprites, as heard most prominently throughout "Flashing Lights" and "Stronger," to be one of the most glaring deal-breakers in hip-hop history. Though the synthesizer use marks a clear, conscious diversion from Kanye's past productions, highlights like "I Wonder," "The Glory," and "Everything I Am" are deeply rooted in the Kanye of old, using nostalgia-inducing samples, elegant pianos and strings, and gospel choirs. So, no, he's not dreaming of fronting A Flock of Seagulls or joining Daft Punk. He's being his shrewd, occasionally foolish, and adventurous self.

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Product Details

Release Date: 09/11/2007
Label: Roc-A-Fella
UPC: 0602517412200
catalogNumber: 000954102
Rank: 1781


  1. Good Morning
  2. Champion
  3. Stronger
  4. I Wonder
  5. Good Life
  6. Can't Tell Me Nothing
  7. Barry Bonds
  8. Drunk and Hot Girls
  9. Flashing Lights
  10. Everything I Am
  11. The Glory
  12. Homecoming
  13. Big Brother
  14. [CD-Rom Track]

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Kanye West   Primary Artist
Jon Brion   Percussion,Keyboards
Mike Dean   Guitar,Keyboards
Eric Hudson   Musician
Peter Nocella   Viola
Chris Martin   Vocals
Jay-Z   Vocals
Olga Konopelsky   Violin
John Krovoza   Cello
Emma Kummrow   Violin
Igor Szwec   Violin
Andy Chatterly   Keyboards
Eric Gorfain   Violin
Daphne Chen   Violin
Jamaal Stanford Williams   Background Vocals
Tanya Herron   Vocals
Alexandra Leem   Viola
Chris Rob   Keyboards
Omar Edwards   Synthesizer,Piano,fender rhodes,Synthesizer Bass
Leah Katz   Viola
Jennie Lorenzo   Cello
John Legend   Background Vocals
Darryl Beaton   Keyboards
Ne-Yo   Background Vocals
Alma Fernandez   Viola
Luigi Mazzocchi   Violin
Tim Resler   Bass
Jehireh Williams   Background Vocals
Connie Mitchell   Vocals
Gloria Justen   Violin
Charles Parker   Violin
Richard Dodd   Cello

Technical Credits

Donald Fagen   Composer
James Ingram   Composer
Elton John   Composer
Laura Nyro   Composer
Quincy Jones   Composer
Edwin Birdsong   Composer
Labi Siffre   Composer
Prince Phillip Mitchell   Composer
Walter Becker   Composer
Jon Brion   Producer
George Clinton   Composer
Tommy D   Producer
Mike Dean   Arranger,Producer,Engineer,String Arrangements
Larry Gold   String Arrangements,String Conductor
Eric Hudson   Composer,Producer
Norman Landsberg   Composer
Felix Pappalardi   Composer
Hank Shocklee   Composer
Bernie Taupin   Composer
Eric "Vietnam" Sadler   Composer
Carlton Ridenhour   Composer
Tony Rey   Engineer
Leslie Weinstein   Composer
Timbaland   Programming,drum programming
Andrew Dawson   Engineer
Jaki Liebezeit   Composer
Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo   Composer
Tracey Waples   Marketing
Kanye West   Composer,Producer,Executive Producer
Anthony Kilhoffer   Engineer
Warryn Campbell   Composer,Producer
Kyambo "Hip Hop" Joshua   Executive Producer
Chris Martin   Composer
John Stephens   Composer
Patrick "Plain Pat" Reynolds   Producer
Bruce Buechner   Engineer
Greg Koller   Engineer
John Ventura   Composer
Carol Corless   Package Production
Mos Def   Composer
Chris Martin   Composer
Brancch   Marketing
Rosie Danvers   String Arrangements
Takashi Murakami   Artwork
Nottz Raw   Engineer
Seiji Sekine   Engineer
Faheem Najm   Composer
M. Karoli   Composer
I. Schmidt   Composer
Dwayne Carter   Composer
J. Ventura   Composer
Thomas Banghalter   Composer
K. Suzuki   Composer
Holger Schuering   Composer
Lauro Nyro   Composer
Sean Cooper   Sound Design

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