Monday, August 29, 2005

Kanye West / Late Registration / Rating 9.5

alright - i'm going to speak a little mind on Kanye West, his latest effort in particular, Late Registration. This record is 100% Grade A commercial hip hop. It's going to sell well, maintain critical acclaim, and most of all improve hip hop's reputation with middle class parents. But you know what? - It's regular. Its the same old shit. You know what I'm saying. It was built to sell. Kanye knows this. I think. Which leads me to the question of why has the production of a hip hop record developed into 3 friends chillin in a studio going "Oh that shit is hot!"? At the end of the day I think Kanye knows his record is just the regular hot shit.

I wasn't that desperate to talk about this but i have already had two people come up to me today and tell me this record is awesome, and I was like are you fucking kidding me? And they were all like listen to this and tell me that shit ain't hot and I was all like of course it's hot, but why can't it be intelligent, why can't it be inspiring, why can't it be upsetting, why can't it be confusing? Kanye's record has the same coming of age ghetto stories as every other commercial hip hop record out there and it is annoying. This is your expression of self - and you plagiarized. Not verbatim, but you followed the formula . If you are going to craft a story, tell one that hasn't been told, and if you are going to tell me about your life then don't wonder what I will think of you - just say it, you don't need justification from me. This statement will tell you how much I know about commercial hip hop or what type of hip hop artist I would be. Kanye's job as an artist has an element I fail to recognize or fail to believe is important. Image. I understand as an artist you have to sell yourself as well as your craft, and it's when you focus on the fore mentioned that you become the "sell-out". Kanye, I bet you look fly even when you at home on a Saturday scribblin' lyrics on a legal pad wit yo Mont Blonc. I apologize but I don't like my hot beats salted down with typical stories of ghetto youth. Kanye should have called Metal Fingers and spoken at length about the creative process: if you don't have anything cool to say then just put out the beats, save yo lyrics for the next record. But then again co-production credits on Late Registration are given to Jon Brion, so what did Kanye even do? who knows? I hate trash talking an album because even I listen to that "horrible catchy shit" that you dont want to tell people about, aka the guilty pleasure. But I don't inflate my trash. I don't go around talking about excellent production on the Diamond Nights record, but I put it on and pretend to drive and I-ROC Z cuz it's fun! and you can do the same with Kanye but don't tell me it's good.

I don't even know Kanye but if this record is that artistic extension of self, then there is a Kanye in every dang town this country has got. Sweardah gah! and Pitchfork gave this record a 9.5, Jebus! The only knowledgeable thing they seem to chatter about is "Without Brion, this album probably sounds a lot like its predecessor, The College Dropout" and for all of those that don't know College Dropout sucked too!

Here is the version of Late Registration I would buy: the EP
Track 1 - Touch the Sky (instrumental) - lyrics are almost painful but the music is definitely a smoker.
Track 2 - Gold Digger - lyrics are insightful and Ray Charles writes some damn catchy shit, thank the sweet lord for Jamie Foxx carrying the torch.
Track 3 - Skit #1 - this shit is funny but only once - he blows it by adding 3 more installments. I will take one, thank you.
Track 4 - Diamonds from Sierra Leone (instrumental) - pass on the lyrics but you can keep the sample from the movie.
Track 5 - Hey Mama - every hip hop album has one but this song quite enjoyable
even though the lyrics are typical - it might beat Tupac's. I don't know... could it? What am I saying?
Track 6 - Gone - it's got a Otis Redding sample and Consequence with Cam'ron really have the perfect balance of image and craft. They wear purple rap about Ruby Tuesdays - genius. Might be the best track on the album.

The rest of them I hit the skippah button and next year I probably won't even remember this shit. I still listen to Tribe and Antipop, why can't get some moah dat shit! Oh wait - they still do make that shite - check this post from Jerome on Aug. 11

You can buy Late Registration and I am not going to look down on you or think you are an idiot, just don't tell me how it's changing the shape of hip hop, or that it's a 9.5. Jebus! You know what I would buy this whole record based on the layout. That little bear is awesome and for $10.98 at Relative Theory / $9.99 at Best Buy, now my only decision is where to get it - what should I do? I am the owner of a record store and I could actually save a dollar if I get it at Best Buy. That shit cost Relative Theory $11.18 bitches! Guess I'll have to download it.