Album Review: Kanye West (Graduation)

Kanye West’s latest album, Graduation instills the thoughts of graduating this year and how truly great of an artist West actually is. With freshmen year only three precious years ago, West has traveled with us on our college experience in 2004 with College Dropout and the following year with Late Registration.

This album seems to be somewhat personal to me because of the impending doom of graduating is just around the corner. On Graduation, West doesn’t show fear or nervousness but feelings of gratitude and accomplishment.

Graduation is a showcase of how West, through his trials and tribulations of life’s perils, has reached the top of the musci world and conquered it. With two multi-platinum records, worldwide success and bearing the nickname as the “Louie-Vutton Don”, I think it’s safe to say that West’s impact on music is significant.

His vivid creativity doesn’t cease to amaze audiences, as West constantly delivers something unique and signature to the plate.

“Stronger” is an example of that. Deciding to sample Daft Punk’s “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger” adds a futuristic spin on the track. Incorporation of synthesizers, hard pounding bass and a reference about Klondike bars, makes this a perfect combination of hip-hop and techno. The line “Now that don’t kill me, can only make me stronger” takes the role as the song’s message.

“Flashing Lights” opens with a slow rising crescendo of strings with a flute as the lead and then shifts into a faux hip-hop opera. The story of a woman’s obsession of flaunting and showing off has never been told in such a classy and serene manner as the strings continue to carry the song. The lyric, “She don’t believe in shooting stars, and she believes in shoes and cars” is another display of how West’s creativity with his lyrics are very clever.

An inspiration of soul, gospel and the Jackson 5 are what bring us “The Glory”. An uplifting song telling the audience that West’s hard work was for the attainment of glory. References about early hip-hop and expensive liquors and having audiences look up to him, make up the glory that West wants.

The track “Big Brother” is a heartfelt ode to West’s mentor, Jay-Z. Audiences might come close to shedding a tear because of West’s imbedded feelings. West goes on to thank Hova for things such as accepting him in the Roc-a-fella label to buying his mother a house.

Graduation is West’s greatest piece of work to date. The concepts and meanings on each of his albums always have a way of impacting people or contain political commentary that keep people talking. “Jesus Walks” exploited the controversy of religious contexts not being able to play over airwaves but certain fowl language is allowed. West’s albums have always been titled in relation to college life – drop out, registration and graduation, but on this release the college life is very dominant. “Drunk and Hot Girls” talks about how a one night stand can end being a life long sacrifice and “Good Morning” talks about advancing your life.

Whatever the case may be, Mr. West knows how to make records that sell. Will this album out sell Connecticut crooner 50 Cent’s Curtis? That’s something I’ll leave for Soundscan to discover, but I hint that West might be the winner of this battle due to his huge fan base and record sales in comparison to his rival.

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