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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.
Performance CreditsKanye West Primary Artist
Jon Brion Percussion,Keyboards
Mike Dean Guitar,Keyboards
Richard Dodd Cello
Eric Hudson Musician
Peter Nocella Viola
Chris Martin 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
Technical CreditsDonald 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 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
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
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Graduation based on 0 ratings. 30 reviews.
nas once said that hip hop is dead. true. with all the ring tone rappers and gangstas and stupid dance crazes like the superman and the snap and roll. ugh!. hip hop was far from dying, it had the notion of being over with in a year. but common, lupe, nas and kanye all saved hip hop from dying it's last death. kanye pretty much stole the show. with a different cover of an anime painting by takeshi murakami. kanye knows how to please an audience. stronger is the best daft punk song that is now kanye's due to the sample. sounds more zapp and roger than 50 cent. on tour he made a massive concert show with lasers, gold plated dancers, an anime robot and more. kanye's tour is a blast. this and the cool shows that rap cannot die. while far from a classic staple like paid in full. graduation is essential to every rap lover's collection.
After Kanye's first two albums, I thought that this would be better. I was a little disappointed by the album, but it was still good. I like the songs Stronger and Can't Tell Me Nothing. Good, but to his standards, I thought that it was meh.
this album stinks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I was anticipating this album like many others out there, not because of the 50 Cent pulicity stunt that he pulls everytime he is about to release an album. Kanye is a rapper that brings a lot more to the table than most rappers in the game. It's not all about flashy tracks and a few slick punchlines for Kanye, he sits down and thinks, and you hear those thoughts in every one of his songs. Late Registration being his best album in my opinion, Graduation falls just a little behind. It's shorter than his previous releases, making you feel disappointed once it's all over. Kanye's music is inspirational, it envokes good feelings and pride within those who will listen. Besides the singles, great tracks on the album are Big Brother, which is a wonderful dedication to Jay-Z, I Wonder, and Everything I Am. Enjoy graduation night.
After a brief hiatus from the spotlight, Kanye returns with some of his best material yet. Besides him being one of the most sought out producers of his day, Kanye's music continues to mature and set the trend for the direction that hip hop is heading. He proves this by releasing two singles that you wouldn't expect from the soul-sampling genius. "Can't Tell Me Nothing" is a shift from what we're used to hearing with added vocals from Australian pop star Connie Mitchell that are reminiscent of, but oddly enough are not sampled from a previous song. On "Stronger" he continues the recent trend of sampling Daft Punk while reinventing his own sound as it brings on a more digital sounding Mr. West. Other highlights include "Big Brother" a controversial yet compelling ode to his mentor Jay-Z, "Champion" which displays Kanye's sampling skills at his best and "The Good Life" featuring T-Pain which may be one of the biggest songs of the year, with the help of a familiar Michael Jackson sample. Mos Def & Chris Martin of Coldplay are among other guests you will find at the Graduation. With catchy verses, creative artwork and incredible production, as you would expect you can't go wrong with the third release of yet another classic album from one of the fastest rising superstars of our time.
It seems ironic that Kanye dropped his latest at the end of the summer, rather then when schools actually graduate. It's a shame too, because with party friendly songs like the two singles "Stronger" and "Good life", and beach bonfire chill-outs like "Everything I Am" and "Homecoming", it almost seems unfair that summer mix-tapes were without them. Fans of Kanye will like the same relaxed and witty lyrical content that Kanye brings along to every album as well as his ingenious produced beats. However some may be slightly dissapointed at the lack of originality and skits found on Kanye's other albums. Still a good buy none the less.
The rap industry needs a makeover and this is the cure. We're sick and tired of the glorified violence and sex. Let's get some good music. Kanye pushes the boundaries on this record and takes risk. INSTANT CLASSIC!!!
This is flat-out boring and monotonous. What happened to hip-hop this century? No wonder it's a dying genre if this is considered the best.
this cd is the bomb! all the people who said it sucked u r all wrong. this is a great cd if you dont have it go get it!
Kanye West was an underestimated artist when he started. Now he has graduated into a full fledged rapper. Great stuff on this album.
First off let me say that I'm a HUGE Chicago fan! Being from Chicago yet away from home, in the Air Force, Kanye's music has been the pictures from home I need when I'm away! Now after all of that I have 2 say I'm really disapointed in what I heard when I opened up that creative little package the CD comes in! After Late Registration came out a lot of mainstream media publications complained that the skits were unfunny and annoying. It seems that with Graduation Kanye did something I wouldn't expect him to do, he caved in to critics! There are NO skits on Graduation. What he didn't realize was those "annoying" skits upheld the theme of the album. I was SO LET DOWN when I started 2 play my Graduation CD for the first time and did not hear Chicago comedian Dee-Ray's Bernie mac impression either bashing Kanye for his poor performance doing his school years or congratulating him for graduating. From that point on there is NO CONNECTION to the first two albums as the title suggest and for a huge fan of those CDs like myself that was something that was hard to get past. Kanye seems to spend a lot of the album answering to critics about past statements he made or past outfits he's worn! Where's the guy who doesn't give a damn what ANYONE thinks and goes with what he feels??? I support that guy! All and all the songs on this CD are very good and MUCH better than anything that's out now! You have to admire someone who's made it without constantly harping on guns, drugs, the club and stealing someone's girl. But I bought into the hype and RAN out and bought the CD as soon as possible so Kanye's 1st week sells would beat 50's "and they DID! YES, HIP HOP IS NOT DEAD!" and I argued with friends who thought about downloading this CD. But in the end as good as this music is and it IS A REALLY GOOD CD, it was not what I was waiting for and I was left hoping for more.
For all of Fifty's attempts to exacerbate his rise to the top, Kanye proves he is his own hype machine. His journey has been marked from the beginning and his fans "and haters alike" seem to acknowledge and respond to the man's will to succeed. A true Gemini, West wants his audience to feel it all, from the vitrol regarding his almost fanatical shamelessness to the humanity of his desire for universality. The latest album strays from the chipmunk soul sampling hits of yore and ventures into territory previously explored by the likes of Daft Punk, the Neptunes and the last few productions by the late great J-Dilla, a territory albeit currently being pioneered by forward thinking underground hip hop acts like Sa Ra Creative Partners, Spank Rock, Brother Reade and the Cool Kids. West's range, both in terms of fanbase and vision, is greater than most. While he may be culling trends from the bubbling underground elite, West has the staying power and gumption to cement his claims as timeless. Kanye's riding an old wagon but as far as mainstream is concerned, he's the only one at the wheel.
This album is trash. Just heard it last night was like, "where is the lyrical content? What kind of beats are these?" Kanye has went above and beyond what he needs to be doing and thats make beats. Hip hop deserves better than this. As much as I hate 50, he has the better album.
This is supposed to be the last disc in his "school" themed albums but this album is not a theme album. It fails to finish off what he started with the first two. Gone are the funny intros"School Spirit, Workout Plan, and the fraternity skits". which i actually didnt get tired of hearing like most hip hop intros and hes Not Rapping about school at all. What he does rap about is being the best, and he is one of the top mc's. This disc is also a lot shorter than the previous two, leaving you a little dissapointed and wanting more. This is a good album but comming after his first two it falls short.
Kanye dazzles and delivers an entertaining blend of music once again with 'Graduation'. Although shorter than previous CDs, Graduation features a range of different music, one for any mood. Highlights include the upbeat 'Good Life' ft. T-Pain, the hit single 'Stronger', and 'Homecoming' ft. Chris Martin from Coldplay. "Who could've predicted that collaboration?" Overall, very satisfying.
As much as I like Kanye west. This has got to be his worst. I listened to Colledge dropout and Late Registration those albums are better than Graduation. There's only a couple of tracks I like. Including the hit singles "Stronger" and "Can't tell me nothin'". But it's OK not great. But just a lesson to be learned when albums get pushed back that means it stinks.
Incredible new album from Mr. West. At only 13 songs, it is a little shorter than his previous efforts. This, however, does not effect the overall enjoyment of this album. Not crammed with guests, you get to enjoy a little more of Kanye's lyrical prowess (as well as production skills). A must have for any fan of hip hop, or good music in general.