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Although I'm not a huge rap fan I've generally enjoyed listening to Kanye West when he's been on the radio or the music channels on TV, as a result of that and the fact the disk was part of a 3 albums for £5 deal that a local shop we're doing, I decided to pick up "Late Registration". The album was Kanye's second one and was released in 2007, following on from his break through album "The College Dropout" released in 2005. The record was a huge success both commercially where it reached #1 in the US Billboard 200 and sold over 3,000,000 copies and with professional reviewers who generally give it high scores and great acclaim.
Although the album opens with one of many "none songs" it's not long before the album gets going with "Heard 'em Say" which quickly lets you into the albums brilliant sounds, vibrant music and perfectly produced backing which accompanies some brilliant lyrics. Though regardless of the sounds in the backing what really takes you is Kanye's delivery which is generally perfect, and will often have you tapping you're toes or swinging slowly from the hips carried away in his vocals which really are amongst the best of the mainstream rappers out there. Though at times the standard does fall a little bit and the album lyrically becomes "the same as all those other rappers" that need to drop the N word at times when it doesn't need to be used, and as a result it taints what should have been a great album.
Although Kanye's flow and timing are the things that really dominate the ears it's also nice that so many other artists have become involved in the album for various songs with a wide range in where they're from. Starting with Adam Levine from Maroon 5 and going to the likes of Naz and The Game which gives many of the songs a very different to each other which helps the album staying vibrant and alive. This is aided by plenty of changes in pace and the breaking up of the skits through out the album. The skits play on the idea of college student (the album was part of a trio of albums based around college, and was completed in 2009 with "Graduation") and are generally able to break up parts of the album with out becoming massively intrusive or annoying though there is 4 of them (not including the albums opening "Wake Up Mr West" track) which feels a little excessive.
The albums actual "song" tracks do all serve their place somewhat though you can't help but feel the album is a little dragged out and much of it pales in comparison to some of the albums much better well known songs which really stand out. Things like "Gold Digger" and "Diamonds From Sierra Leone" really stand out due to their sheer quality whilst some of the others just seem to lack that same magic. This isn't helped by some songs sounding more like the "modern rap" which seems to see certain dropped just for the sake of it, with out actually achieving anything other than a little bit of offence.
Overall the album is decent enough to listen to, though at times it feels overly long and slightly limited and overly polished. It almost seems as if he's taken silver and tried to turn it into platinum by polishing it over and over. It's good and at times brilliant, really brilliant in fact, though at other times it's very average and doesn't stand out that much. If you can get it cheaply and like some easy listening rap there's plenty here for you to enjoy though don't go out there and expect a faultless diamond.
Released in 2005 this is Kanye West's second album and is possibly his greatest commercial success with a number of interesting collaborations and chart hits. Where as the first album concentrated on Kanye's dropping out of college and his seeming obsession with this, the second album is more varied and shows touches of arrogance alongside some wonderfully beautiful songs.
For me this is one of the best Rap albums ever, Kanye moved on from his first album and is more constructive on this one, discussing American Politics, healthcare, drugs, women, he does it without being destructive, although some rhymes are powerful and biting about politics or the world in general.
There are some great collaborators on this album, from Nas to Jay-Z, Cam'Ron to Common, this is a great show of Kanye's production skills as well as his excellent rap skills.
Wake up Mr West - Simply an opener, the guy from the original album simply talking trash in a funny voice and then a gorgeous piano cuts in building up slowly for the first real song.
Heard Em Say - Featuring Adam Levine of Maroon 5, this starts with a gorgeous piano, huge beats and Kanye rapping superbly talking about the problems faced in todays society with healthcare, with crime and with life, Levine cuts in at the chorus and provides a soulful cut, Kanye returns and on this tune he absolutely storms it, he is incredibly intelligent in his output, he's come back ready to try to change things and you really believe him. This song is soft with hard lyrics, it is a lovely contrast and some people might dismiss this as being a bit poppy but its wonderfully produced and a really great song.
Touch the Sky - Massive seventies brass instruments bring you into this funky tune, Kanye sounds on top of the world, rapping with pace, flow and humour, the music on this song is brilliant, the cuts and samples are superb and this is a great uplifting song to play on a sunny day. I love this tune, it is superb and the funny video really catches the mood of the piece, Kanye the singer and Kanye the producer are both on top from on this tune. Lupe Fiasco throws in a superb rap on one verse and as always he's outstanding, one of the best young vocalists on the planet right now. What a good tune, I love it!
Gold Digger - Jamie Foxx comes on sounding like Ray Charles and then a massive beat comes in, Kanye obviously has experience following his debut album and talks about girls who are just about fame and money, the track is well produced, funky and funny, the flow is superb, Jamie Foxx sounds fantastic and it's a classic tune which we probably all know nowadays. A modern prose on the difficulties of fame.
Drive Slow - This tune has GLC and Paul Wall on it, the song is well produced with trumpets throughout and as always the production is superb, Wall and GLC don't add too much, its not one of the better songs on the album but it is still a pretty good tune. Lyrically its very strong.
My Way Home - Nice seventies sample again, this tune starts with cohort Common rapping in a constructive way, talking about making change, its intelligent rap with flow, structure and a real pride, I rate this song highly, the chorus is superb, the raps are excellent and the tune has a real lo-fi funk to it which is different to most Kanye tunes.
Crack Music - Kanye introduces the Game on this song, he hasn't gone gangster as Game actually has some really interesting flow when you get past his appearance and bravado, this song is about Crack obviously, the backing tune is catchy with lots of la la la's but the raps are the main thing here, a really political and interesting take on how drugs have overwhelmed the black communities in America and how the drugs need to be overwhelmed, I love Kanye's political stuff, he is a real voice of change in a country which is looking to change.
Roses - I love this song, funky and cool, its about Kanye going to hospital to visit his grandma and being stopped for autographs by nurses while wanting his gran to live. Its sad and a damning endictment on healthcare in America, this is powerful and moving, the music backs some superb raps, I think the chorus is catchy and grainy and adds to this tune, this is touching and powerful in its talk of family, its constructive criticism of the Bush administration is interesting.
Bring Me Down - This is a good tune, but not one of my favourites on the album, it features Brandy providing some good vocals but sounds too poppy for me, the production and music is great, the vocals are powerful and inspiring, talking about making life better, this is an uplifting tune and I like Kanye's talk of changing the world without being destructive and denigrating.
Addiction - Nice music, fast flowing rap about addiction, funnily enough, this is a great tune, I love the lyrics, its not preachy but talks about us all having our own addictions, be it food, money, family or something more destructive.
Diamonds from Sierra Leone (Remix) - This version has Shirley Bassey samples of 'Diamonds are forever' as well as the music, but then Kanye cranks a beat over the top and raps about diamond mining and the oppression of people in Sierra Leone, he creatively connects this to rappers and bling, it's a really interesting tune with a powerful hook, this is a wicked political song, its interesting and constructive again, Jay-Z joins Kanye on a verse and this is better than the other version of this song on the album simply for his presence. The two biggest rappers in the business working together constructively is interesting. The use of words is fantastic, they bring together so much, I love Jay-Z's lyric 'Difficult takes a day, impossible takes a week'.
We Major - This song features the other great rapper of our times, Nas and Really Doe, the music is a slow funky jam, with brasses and the use of the different vocals is great, the tune begins lazy and the flow works, the chorus is superb, Nas is excellent and his flow of consciousness is excellent, I love hearing rappers working together and being interesting and constructive, Nas is the best in the business at interesting, politically motivated lyrics and combined with this smooth Kanye production this is a lazy delight.
Hey Mama - This song is beautiful, it was something Kanye played incredibly well recently on his UK tour following the sad loss of his mother, but at this stage when it was made, it was a song telling his mum how amazing she was and how she made him, the lyrics are stunning, the backing track is simplistic and adds to the tune, I love this song so much, it is truly emotive, it is a song that should make everyone think of their own mum, the song about the most powerful woman in the world for anyone will always be about their mother.
Celebration - Funky, lazy, for me this feels like it should be the last song on the album, it is so well produced the backing vocals are great, this reminds me of old barbeques and parties on the estate, it has that kind of feel to it, brass instruments, small casio type instruments, this lacks the cutting edge of other raps but it's a lazy love song to women, life and having fun.
Imposter Skit - These skits never work on Kanye albums, that's all I've got to say.
Gone - This tune features Cam'Ron and Consequence, this has a piano flowing through it and an old skool beat, the rap is also fairly laid back and chilled, this works, its one of the weaker songs on this album, but is still very good, nice flows, nice production and great lyrics.
Diamonds From Sierra Leone - Same song but without Jay-Z on one verse.
We can make it better - This starts like an eighties sitcom with a strange rock pop sound but then backing vocals come in, a fantastic beat joins, the saxophone flows through the track, the rap is excellent, by this point your exhausted by this tour-de force of an album, concentration is key as the raps on each tune are superb and this is true on this tune too, I love the strings on the album, love the mix of vocals and the stories on this tale are pretty great, talking about reparations, moving forward and making life better for everyone.
I'll be late for that - Final song on the album, it begins very prettily with strings, then throws in a fine sample, which Kanye raps over, this is a slow tune, its fine, again not one of the albums highlights musically or lyrically but it ends the tune on an experimental lazy note.
The album is available on I-Tunes, its available on Amazon Market place or Ebay for under £4 too.
Late registration is the second full studio album from the rapper Kanye West. I had enjoyed some of his first album, and so when this one came out I thought it was a must have.
This one doesn't disappoint either, this is by a clear mile his finest album to date and contains his strongest tracks as well. I also like how hes recorded more on to all of his tracks especially for the album as the radio version of the songs are much shorter so its good to know that when you pay for his CD's he is giving you something extra to listen to and giving you good value for money.
His album also contains a whopping 22 songs, most of which are fantastic, there are a few weaker ones, as you would expect with any album, especially one with 22 tracks so I wont get at his too much for that as most of the songs are consistent, and consistently great at that.
1.Wake Up Mr. West
2.Heard 'Em Say
3.Touch The Sky
5..Skit #1 (Kanye West/Late Registration)
7.My Way Home
10.Bring Me Down
12.Skit #2 (Kanye West/Late Registration)
13.Diamonds From Sierra Leone feat. Jay-Z (remix)
15.Skit #3 (Kanye West/Late Registration)
18.Skit #4 (Kanye West/Late Registration)
20.Diamonds From Sierra Leone
21.We Can Make It Better
I honestly don't know what the three skits are in there their kind off little rhymes he does which last about 20 seconds and I just don't see the point in them really. I think if anything its these that lets the album down and he probably shouldn't have put them in.
The rest of the album though, is great, my favourite song on there must be gold digger and it made such a big impact when it was first released and was being played every where. There are some really good songs on here, and it's a great album, well worth the price tag upon it.
This is a critically acclaimed album, which won various awards that include three Grammys , which was Kayne's third album and in my opinion his best yet. Released when he was at the height of his hype, Kayne really delivered on this album to ensure his acceptance into Hip Hops hall of fame. In spite of being constantly put down by a lot of Hip Hop fans as being soft, Kayne has managed to become one of the biggest selling Hip Hop artists of all time and has been able to break boundaries and genres in music.
On this particular album my favourite songs are;
"Heard 'em say" - A real thoughtful and mellow sound to this song and features Adam Levine of Maroon 5.who sings the memorable chorus. This song did well in the charts and really shows Kayne's emotional side.
"Touch the Sky" - A great song with a great video which features Pamela Anderson. As well as some great lyrics from Kayne this was also the introduction to the pop world of the fantastic Lupe Fiasco.
"Diamonds" - One of Kayne's most political song, this was the first single from this album and gave the Hip Hop world a lot to think about.
The album also has other great tracks such as "Gold Digger", "Drive Slow" and "We Major" all of further showcase Kayne's ability to write great lyrics which flow well to the beats. Kayne definitely put a great deal of effort in this album and it really shines through on all the tracks. There is not a "wack" track on this album!
I doubt we have seen the last of Kayne's great talent and I am sure he will release a lot more great albums!
This album "Late Registration" was released in 2005 by Kanye West.
It features the singles Touch The Sky, Heard 'Em Say, Gold Digger & Diamonds From Sierra Leone.
Here I will review each of the songs on the album (except the skits).
Heard 'Em Say - Fantastic song featuring Adam Levine from Maroon 5 with an absolutely fantastic piano backing which is just so easy to listen to.
Touch The Sky - This is a very loud, in your face song which makes you want to jump up and dance. Great club favourite!
Gold Digger - This features Jamie Foxx and was released as a single. The song has a very pumping, funky beat and I dare you to try not to sing along! Very catchy indeed.
Drive Slow - This has quite a chilled vibe and sings about growing up and living in the hood. This also has excellent instrumental sections, very listenable indeed.
My Way Home - This has quite an old feel to it & is all about leaving and nobody noticing. (Wouldn't that be nice once in a while!)
Crack Music - A very gospel/ghetto feel to this song.
Roses - This is quiet an emotional song singing about a relative of Kanye who is dangerously ill in hospital and hes singing about how life is when you are a celebrity.
Bring Me Down - This song features Brandy and is probably my least favourite of the album although it is still good. I just feel like the song is really monopolised by all of Brandys ooooh and aaaahhhhhh singing which really isn't my style at all. It does have a very good instrument section behind it though which makes it a bareable song.
Addiction - This is one of my favourite songs from the album, a very soul soothing song with brilliant vocals. Still a good song to move to though.
Diamonds from Sierra Leone - This is a song singing about the tragedy of the blood diamonds in Sierra Leone and the innocent people who risk life and limb for the diamonds to try and secure a better future. A very powerful song with a great beat.
We Major - This is quite a boring repetitive song which has some rather rude lyrics!
Hey Mama - This song was obviously wrote long before Kanye's Mother passed away (which she sadly has now) and I think that makes the song all the more poignant. Very catchy song that I find myself humming lots even after I have finished listening to it.
Celebration - This is a very quiet song (compared to the rest of the album at least!) and has some rather annoying ba da ba daaaaas in the background but if you can ignore them the song isn't a dud.
Gone - This is another great piano style song which is very singable and the backing music would probably be fairly easy to have a crack at if you can play piano.
Late - This song has a very 80s feel to it if you ask me, lots of chipmunk style speeded up music (just think of Akon and you'll know what I mean) not my favourite but not terrible either. Not a bad end to the album.
Overall I find the whole album very listenable and my least favourite song is Bring Me Down (featuring Brandy) as I don't feel it is heading in the same direction as the rest of the album.
I like this album the most from Kanye West as he doesn't seem to have so much self assurance and the arrogance he seems to have developed lately.
Definitely a good buy :)
You can also find this review on ciao.co.uk under the same title, username katyeverett :)
The 2005 release "Late Registration" is the second album from the producer and rapper from Chicago, Kanye West. It follows on from the massively successful "College Dropout" which was an unexpected success from a newcomer, only famous on the Hip Hop circuit as a producer at the time. Here Kanye had to come with something huge in order to top to popularity of his debut album, which was able to cross genre boundaries as a refreshing sound in Hip Hop, taking you away from the Gangsta Rap which dominated the style.
1. "Wake Up Mr. West" (Intro)
2. "Heard 'Em Say"
Maroon 5's Adam Levine provides his soft vocals to this track in the way which only he can here, offering something quite unexpected of Ye at the time. Many don't acknowledge the depth of his lyrics here, and I haven't a clue why because they are powerful in how he addresses discrimination as a result of racism in modern society.
3. "Touch the Sky"
Everyone always says that they recognize the sample from this, but I'm yet to hear anyone specifically name Cutris Mayfield's "Move On Up" as wherthis track around, and this is a very imporant aspect to it when you consider the lyrics o this and of the original (displaying that Ye didn't just use it because of the melodies). It is also the introduction to Lupe Fiasco, who took a lot of influence from Kanye, and it all come out in his delivery here.
4. "Gold Digger"
This was for me the best follw-up track by Kanye and Jamie Foxx together in a collaboration after "Slow Jamz", and I expect that many feel the same as it went on to become one of his more well-known tracks. After being over-played onsiderably when it was released, it's quite nice to listen to again, as it does get rather annoying with the repitive looping sinign from Jamie Foxx, but aside from this, it is a top-notch tune.
Kanye's humour is able to shine here as he drops in lots of subtle lines on a misleadingly fun track as he directs it towards females who are only in relationships for the money of the partner. You can't deny that its one of the best tracks Kanye has made in his time, both in terms of the lyrcism and production.
5. "Skit #1"
6. "Drive Slow"
This one is quite haunting as it has a blusey feel to it by utilizing Hank Crawford's "Wildflower", I believe that this meant it lended itslef well to a tune which had little in the way of production, other than to provide a steady rhythm. This is what focuses you upon the lyrics, as there is no way of escaping them once the beats are only put in minimally. It seems as though Paul Wall misse dout on the purpose of this one as Kanye's lyrics are a lot more conscious and guiding, whereas he just read the words and sees it as another opportunaity to rap about his car collection (which is annoying because I usually like him), but he doens't fit in here at all.
7. "My Way Home" (Skit)
8. "Crack Music"
I was surpised that Kanye, being so opposde to the sounds of the West Coast, would go for a Gangsta rapper liek The Game to feature on his album, and initally I had doubts as to whether this combination would work, howeer I think that it was a success. I believe that the influence of The Game allows Kanye's street cred to be raied as he directs his words to black people and attempts to sway them away from a life which they are thought to be forced into. The marching beat which leads it puts you in a position where you feel rather militant and radical, which is what the track is about.
I especially enjoy listing to the opening accapela by kanye as you are forced into listenign to the lyrics as he speaks on the trouble which he went throuhg to get medical attention for his grandmother due to the financial difficulties which they faced at the time, but once you have pased this section, it falls apart with the chorus. It goes back into another section for the verse which follow it, but the chorus isn't a nice to listen to.
10. "Bring Me Down"
After working so well together in "What About Us", Knye comes together with the R&B singer Brandy for another collab between the pair, and with such high expectations (after hearing the firs tthing they did togther) I thought tht I would receive something a lot better than this. I sounded like an attempt at something very emotional-powerful, but it just didn't have the right production for it to have enough of an impact upon me.
Jon Brion, who worked an a lot of the production along with Kanye for this album returns again, and you can tell that he had a lot of say in how this one went, with just a few snippets to show that Kanye had a part in it, and Ye's Etta James samples are a big part in making it work as you of his pieces as he is always able to express an emotion hough a song which he will have liked back in the day.
Here you have a mix genre with an up-beat tempo, and some bongo percussion to give it a nice , yet stearn flow. From here it's very fun as you here Kanye rap unlike what he's done beofre in a speedy way to keep up with the high tmepo of it all, and he raps about having all the bad things in life appeal to him more than the good.
12. "Skit #2"
13. "Diamonds from Sierra Leone (Remix)"
Thsi is the remix to Kanye's most conscious Hip Hoptune off this album, the only differnce here (in comparison tpo the original) is that it features additional lines from Jay-Z, insead of just jhimself from start to finish. With a hook which samples Shirley Bassey's James bond theme "Diamonds Are Forever", Kanye is able to rasise the issues of where people get their jewellery from and the processes which go into doing so, such as the hardship of the miners in places like Sierra Leone. Overall it's very thought-provoking.
14. "We Major"
Kanye raps on a remade version of Stevei Wonder's "Superwoman", and this makes it sound like it is built upon them music for a heroic figure, so this then spills donw to the rappin, which features Really Doe and Nas, who MCs a train of thought opn hearing the beat (kills it as usual). Kanye has been criticised for bad lyriciam, but here even with big compeption from Nas, he manages to soun as professional as Queensbridges's finest.
15. "Skit #3"
16. "Hey Mama"
Over time the significance of this track has increased, as he now performs it as a dedication to his recelty passed mother, and prior to this, it was just a thank you for all the support which she has shown to him from the early years up to today. When you listen to it now, it seems to have a new meaning than before, and certainly hits you more than when she was still alive.
Although I am aware that Kanye and Jon Brion produced this, apart from the use of the sample of "Heavenly Dream" as performed by The KayGees, this sounds like the type of spacey beat which The Neptunes would come up with. It isn't much of a rap, and has him just flowing in a laid-back manner as if he's not concerned with what comes out, he's just chilled after finishing the majority of the album (it shuould be placed at the end really).
18. "Skit #4"
Dipset's Cam'ron performs alongside Kanye here, but as I don't rate the group as a whole, (evermind Cam on his own) I wasn't impressed by having him on here at all, and I didn't think that he did much to show anything new from him. Having it as the final track on the album was even more annoying than this collab because "Celebration" is a outro kind of tune, and this messes up the cool-down which he was going through.
I have to say that this isn't as strong as the first album, but as "Graduation" was so strong, he could come up with something as big in the future, but it is still around about what you want to hear from him. Due to this, you can't argue wth it being as popular than it was in its time. However I thought that it differed from "College Dropout" as quite a few tracks were forgettable here, whereas material from his debut release will never lose its novelty when you hear it.
Late Registration was the first time that Kanye West hit my radar, I had heard a song in a club and it was superb, it turned out to be a dance mix of Gold Digger which went on to be released as a single and featured Jamie Foxx.
This is a great Hip Hop record with some excellent samples, Gold Digger is about the kind of woman who marries someone for their money, Heather Mills step forward or rather hop, and it has a haunting hook line. The other hits to come from this album are Diamonds are Forever using the original Shirley Bassey line in it and is about the blood diamond trade and has a really strong message to it. Touch the Sky has a more fun feel and has a definate seventies feel to it, I remember liking the Evil Kenivel inspired video to this.
What makes this album really good is the strong supporting tracks, it does not rest solely on the chart hits. Hey Moma is a lovely track about West love for his mother and recognition of the sacrifices she made bringing him up on her own. Crack Music has a darker edge to it highlighting the drug problems in the inner cities and the fact that music is used to perpetuate the stereotypes of inner city life.
A lot of the songs on this album come with a message and it is not always the usual diet that rappers use of drugs and ho's and macho violence although these themes do make the odd appearence, what you get is some great variety, intelligent lyrics and some great dance tunes. Oh and he is buff to look at as well.
Kanye West seems to be an artist you either love or hate.
Some reasons for liking him are: he's quite simply the only good mainstream hip-hop artist around at the moment; he's creative, original, funny and not scared of tackling big issues, for example when he made that famous quote, "George Bush doesn't care about black people". Plus his symbol is a cute little bear!
Some reasons for not liking him are: his ego is enormous! Mr West has his own little private joke of being ridiculously arrogant, and although this isn't rare in the world of hip-hop music, he goes further than most. Also, his rapping isn't particularly special, and at the end of the day, he still makes hip-hop, which is hardly the most fantastic genre around! (no offence to anyone)
Anyway, you'll probably already know whether you like him or not, but if you're still undecided, I hope this review persuades you to give him a try, because I think he's pretty good. Late Registration is the follow-up to his critically acclaimed debut, The College Dropout. The media have completely praised this album, with The Independent calling it "magnificent" and Q magazine proclaiming it "another masterpiece". And just to remind us how good he is, Mr West puts this on the front of the album. But is Late Registration really as good as it's been touted?
If there's one word to accurately describe this album, I'd say it's ambitious. At 22 tracks, it's a bit of a whopper, and therefore I won't bore you with a review of each track. Instead I'll focus on the singles he's released and my favourite few songs.
Track 13: Diamonds From Sierra Leone
This was the first single to be released, and at first, it actually received quite a lot of bad reviews. I find this surprising, because although the vocals aren't that strong, I think this is the sort of music that is sadly lacking in hip-hop. He makes the link between rappers' obsession with bling culture, and the effects this has on developing countries, including Sierra Leone, in which there is a civil war based around the diamond trade. This features a guest appearance from Jay-Z, and it revolves around a sample of Shirley Bassey's Bond tune Diamonds Are Forever. I really like this song, and incidentally there's another version on the album with different lyrics, which is interesting.
Track 4: Gold Digger
This is probably his biggest hit so far, and although it includes a lot of swearing (as does the whole album; it's not Parental Advisory for nothing you know), it's easy to see why. Featuring samples of Ray Charles, and Jamie Foxx doing an impression of Ray Charles, it's got a great tune and beat. It also has some very funny lyrics, showing off West's brilliant writing skills.
Track 2: Heard 'Em Say
This features Adam Levine from Maroon 5, who is just one of a number of famous-ish collaborators on the album (Jay-Z, The Game, Brandy, Cam'ron, and apparently Bernie Mac, although he's not credited), not to mention the countless samples used (including Bill Withers, Curtis Mayfield, Etta James and Otis Redding). It's a nice song with a delicate piano tune in the background; certainly not what you'd expect from your average rapper.
Track 3: Touch The Sky
This is the latest single to be released, and it's a real feel-good tune, with a catchy sample from Move On Up forming the main hook.
On the rest of the album, West continually demonstrates his knack for humour, a vital ingredient in any rap music. Late Registration incorporates a series of really funny short sketches, or "skits", which are based around a college fraternity of "broke n**gers", who keep going on about how poor they are. In case you're wondering, Kanye West was brought up in affluent, middle class Chicago, and he's satirising the common belief that all rappers have to come from poverty. He also holds a grudge against American colleges (hence the titles of the two albums), and there are loads of references to that.
I think my favourite track on the album is We Major, although there are so many great songs that it's hard to decide. It has a great beat; kind of uplifting and epic-scale, with lots of brass and chimes. You may have noticed I don't really have the knack of describing music, but trust me, it's really good, especially the chorus.
Hey Mama is also fantastic, it's a tribute to his mum, but he somehow manages to keep the lyrics un-saccharine and quite likeable. It features his trademark technique of speeding up vocals to high-pitched "chipmunk" voices, which has since been hijacked by Akon and Simon Webbe, and the tune is really catchy.
But although the so-far-mentioned tracks have been light-hearted and feel-good, the album doesn't shy away from dark sounds and important themes. Roses is a scathing attack on the US health system masquerading as a beautiful song about a dying relative, and Drive Slow begins pleasantly, before deliberately descending into a dirge about prostitutes.
However, the song that will catch your attention, for better or worse, is definitely Crack Music. At surface level it seems like a really crude celebration of hip-hop, including the lyrics "it's that crack music, n**ger, that real black music, n**ger". It also epitomises everything that rock fans hate about hip-hop. But it has different meanings. He's criticising drugs, and I reckon he's also having a dig at modern hip-hop and secretly taking the mickey out of it. Knowing my non-existent ability to pick up hidden messages in art, this is probably really obvious to everyone else, but I find it quite clever.
I like most of the songs on Late Registration, and when it's good, it's at the forefront of the genre. However, I still feel that I can't give it any more than 4 stars. It would seem that not even Kanye West can avoid the pitfall of rap: misogyny. Just when you think he's avoided talking about the usual subjects (glorifying drugs, guns and bling), along comes Celebration, with lyrics about ass-grabbing. I was so gutted, and it just goes to show that you can elevate Kanye West above the rest, but there's still an element of typical rap in him. Besides, the album has a load of unnecessary swearing, and there a few ordinary tracks.
Despite its faults, Late Registration is, on the whole, a fantastic album: musically inventive, refreshing and fun. From what I hear, it's not as good as The College Dropout, but I think it's still probably the best hip-hop album of 2005.
It's available to buy online for £6.99 from www.play.com
1 Wake Up Mr West
2 Heard 'Em Say
3 Touch The Sky
4 Gold Digger
5 Skit #1
6 Drive Slow
7 My Way Home
8 Crack Music
10 Bring Me Down
12 Skit #2
13 Diamonds From Sierra Leone
14 We Major
15 Skit #3
16 Hey Mama
18 Skit #4
20 Diamonds From Sierra Leone (alternative version)
21 We Can Make It Better
22 (A hidden untitled track)
Kanye West has put out yet another brilliant album, but it is just not as good as the first one...
...you can see a lot of work has gone into this album, each track is flawlessly produced, nice, clean and crisp...
...this album will most probably be massive over this coming summer, tracks such as gold digga are already heavily featured on the radio, in clubs, pubs, bars and the like, but there is nothing really ground breaking, this album is a lot like the fist, just more thought about - if you see what I mean.
...this album is a great album, don't regret buying it, it is definately a must have, however, it will not be filed alongside the first, more of an oh that was good....what's next kind of album....
After listening non-stop to "College Dropout," listeners all over the world waited with much anticipation for Kanye West's sophomore album, "Late Registration." While many feared the famous "sophomore slump," I can easily say that this album met, if not exceeded, all the expectations and build-up. I got the album the day it was released in the States and so far, 6 months later, I have yet to be bored with it at all.
The album starts with a humorous skit featuring the comedian Bernie Mac; it then segues into the extremely catchy "Heard 'Em Say." Adam Levine of the popular pop group Maroon 5 is featured in the song, and he seems like an obvious choice. Why shouldn't the top rapper of the day and the singer of one of the top pop groups collaborate? The mix of a bouncy bass line and a soft piano sample seems odd upon reading; however, upon listening, it quickly becomes addictive. Kanye's lyrics work wonders. He contemplates the problems that we all face, our various addictions and weaknesses in life. All the lyrics come off with a regretful, sad tone but yet inpart a small dash of hope into the mix. Levine's voice perfectly complements the piano. He weaves his falsetto with the piano notes in such a way that he almost outdoes Kanye on this song (key word there was almost!). Finally, a horn plays between chorus and verse, a horn that brings yet another sort of toned-down subtlety to the track. Overall, one of my top favorites on the CD.
The CD continues with "Touch the Sky" and "Gold Digger" before arriving at the first skit. As with "Heard 'Em Say," "Touch the Sky" uses horns and sample excellently. The song is very vibrant. It employs a positive message and it is definitely strengthened by the presence of newcomer MC Lupe Fiasco. "Gold Digger," as you probably know by now, features the infamous Jamie Foxx sample. However, Foxx's vocal work really should be referred to as the Ray Charles sample, as this is the inspiration and obvious source of replication. Foxx pulls off the Charles voice perfectly, so well, in fact, that I almost thought Kanye had gone to an actual Ray Charles sample for this song. The great thing about "Gold Digger," to me at least, is the playability of the song. It has been played to death on both radio and television, yet the creative , humorous, and relevant message allow for an infinite amount of listens. As for the series of skits of the CD, they are pretty comical. An imaginary fraternity called Broke Phi Broke parades around--doing what else?--displaying their lack of cash. Pretty funny stuff.
One of the great things I love about Kanye West is his ability to tell a story AND not drive me to insanity with boredom. I think the next three tracks on the CD, "Drive Slow," "My Way Home," and "Crack Music," all drive home that point. "Drive Slow" has an excellent, "slow" beat (that's not an obvious one, is it?). Kanye talks about his younger days and his experiences in Chi-town (Chicago, for those not down with popular lingo) driving around with buddies. "My Way Home" features an extremely powerful appearance from fellow rapper Common. His lyrics definitely evoke emotions of where he is from and what he is about, utilizing such memorable lines as "Revolution ain't a game/It's another name for life fighting." The song goes directly into "Crack Music," featuring The Game. Kanye makes many references to the influence of both drugs and music, and how the latter can be a form of release similar to the former. The Game doesn't do much except rap a couple of lines, but nonetheless, his "harder" tone fits in well.
"Roses," the next song, is also one of my favorites on the CD. A melancholy organ introduces the sad story of Kanye's dying grandmother. Like most well-made songs, it builds up throughout. The chorus explodes into a swirling mix replete with organ, bass line, and some strong individual voices from choir members. Following "Roses" is "Bring Me Down," featuring Brandy. I have to say that I skipped past this track the first few times I bought the CD, but after actually listening, I enjoyed it a lot. The lyrics, to me at least, are some of the most powerful and motivated on the CD.
Next comes the unique track "Addiction." Kanye samples a catchy line from the classic song "My Funny Valentine." He raps about, well, addiction. In fact, many of Kanye's songs, I have noticed, have some sort of message about all of our everyday addictions. Just an interesting tidbit. Only weak part of this song, to me, is that it gets a tad repetitive...only a bit though. The CD goes on to more skit and the long, but somehow catchy track "We Major" featuring one of my favorites, Nas,. Before "We Major" comes the already popular "Diamonds From Sierra Leone (Remix)." The "Diamonds..." remix is a ton better than the original, mostly because of improved lyrics and the addition of one of the greats, Jay Z. The original song harped more on tension within Roc-A-Fella records, while the remix actually focuses on the title a bit more, the problems in the Sierra Leone. Hova, however, still addresses the Roc-A-Fella issue, dousing out all controversial flames with a verse that stays on fire all by itself.
The last songs on the CD are all pretty well done, and they seem to delve a bit more into Kanye's personal life. The tracks that stuck out to me were "Hey Mama" and "Gone." "Hey Mama" struck me immediately, the first time I heard the CD. The lyrics are very exquisite, espousing love for the mother that stood by him the entire time. One listen makes you immediately want to go hug your Mom, wherever she may be. "Gone" is my favorite song on the album. Kanye delivers a very head-bobbing verse over top of an old Otis Redding sample. Cam'Ron and Consequence also contribute, and their verses are just as impressive.
When I first started dreaming of what this CD had the potential to be, I got worried. I didn't want Kanye to bow down to all the expectations. I was hoping for a CD to just build on all that "College Dropout" had accomplished. Luckily, I got just that. The CD met all my concerns, and in fact shattered them piece by piece. With excellent production from both Kanye and Jon Brion, Fiona Apple's producer, as well as powerful, introspective lyrics, Kanye delivers a classic that should be included in all true hip-hop fans' collections.
Kanye West is an international success, his Hiphop being original, with little twists that many artists would not think to add. I have been waiting for this album since I first hear Diamonds from Sierra Leone, before summer, and I got the opportunity to get it in August. I began searching in town, where, by the way, some irate tram driver nearly ran me and my friend over! However Tesco was clean out of the album, and I wasnt paying £13.99 in HMV, so when I got home I went to Sainsburys, only to be disappointed and nearly get run over by a car of young looking men. However I did get the album, when my mum drove out to another Tescos in Toton.
So what did I think, well why not read on and find out.
Track 1 Wake up Mr West
The album opens up with this introduction by Bernie Mac, it is done as a flashback of Kanye being at school, sleeping in a lesson, this fades into the next song.
Track 2 Heard em Say ft. Adam Levine
I have a cousin who complains about the lack of real music in Hiphop, I have to play him this song just to prove him wrong. It features a catchy beat which is beautifully teamed up with soft jazz piano. This sound softens Kanyes brutally honest rap and makes the song easier to listen to, although the lyrics arent particularly easy listening material, His job trying to claim that he too n****erish now, Is it cuz his skin blacker than licorice now? I personally would have never teemed Kanye up with Adam Levine, but they have pulled this off very well, making it an altogether very enjoyable and interesting track to listen to.
Track 3 Touch the Sky ft. Lupe Fiasco
Lupe Fiasco is not a name I am familiar with, however it is this song produced by Just Blaze that has given me the incentive to look him up. This song is the more upbeat, however it doesnt feel out of place. I believe Westwood played this song when he had Kanye on his show, because I recognized it as soon as I heard it playing in HMV. It is the sort of song that you could easily dance to with its positive and upbeat music. The background music really adds to the upbeatness of the piece. This is where my musical ignorance will show through, even though I have been privileged enough to attend NMS (Nottingham Music School) I am not very good at recognising musical instruments, but my brothers an I reckon it is some sort of brass instrument, and possibly a trumpet or cornet, it really fits the piece, and is the sort of novelty you dont get in a lot of Hiphop. Putting Lupe into the piece worked well, Kanye says about putting him in, 'cause I feel he's one of the best MCs coming out, but nobody knows about him yet. So if I put him on, that's ill. That's keeping it real.
Track 4 Gold Digger ft. Jamie Foxx
I believe this is the second song to be released from the album and it is bound to be a hit with the combination of Jamie Foxx singing and Kanye rapping. It begins with Foxx singing, She takes my money when Im in need, Yeah she's a trifflin friend indeed,
Oh she's a gold digga, way over town, That dig's on me which continues throughout. It is a light hearted song about Gold Diggers, women with an ounce of sense in their head, enough sense to work out who is the most financially awarding person to date. It is a humorous song, not to be taken too seriously with lyrics like She was spose to buy ya shorty TYCO with ya money, She went to the doctor got lypo with ya money
She walkin around lookin like Michael with ya money. It has a good beat and is quite an easy song to listen to, a sure hit.
Track 5 Skit #1
This is one of four skits which are slotted in, on the theme of being BROKE. They can get annoying if all you want
Track 6 Drive Slow ft Paul Wall and GLC
This song is a lot more laid back song with a great rhythm and background of Jazz Saxophone. It would make up a really great just chillin song and listening to it calms me down considerably. The combination of the different rappers works well, providing variation. This is a great song, but not the best ever.
Track 7 My Way Home ft Common
This is a short cheerful song featuring Common, an artist very closely associated with Kanye. Common opens up the song with his rap, this is then broken off by a sort of timeless blues song, this adds a great effect and makes the song. This is not the sort of track you expect to find on a Hiphop album, but it is very good and works well.
Track 8 Crack Music
This song is rawer then any of the previous, the lyrics slightly tougher, That's that crack music n****, That real black music n****.It is a good song though, it has a heavy beat and contrast between Kanye and Games voices all work to its advantage. This is a decent song, however not my favourite.
Track 9 Roses
This is one of my favorites, ever since Westwood played it on his show I loved it. It is a sad song, and so brutally honest, describing the decline of a close family member, something everyone goes through, therefore it is a song we can all relate with. I love Kanyes rap, with his distinct voice and wittiness, I asked the nurse "did you do the research? She ask me, "can you sign some t-shirts?" B**** is you smokin reefer? You dont see that we hurt. The song also has some great background music and singers that add to the whole effect of the piece. It is a beautiful song, and probably one of the best on the album.
Track 10 Bring Me Down ft Brandy
This song keeps the sadness of the previous one. It is opened by Brandy who exercises her vocal limits to great effect before the beats starts up and Kanye begins his rap about problems in the business, There always be haters, thats the way it is, hated n****s, marry hates b*****s and have hated kids. It is such a powerful song, with very strong and powerful lyrics, Dawg if I was you I wouldnt feel myself, dawg if I was you Id kill myself. The combination with Brandys strong voice, the music and Kanyes rapping style works very well and makes the song so great.
Track 11 Addiction
This song is interesting, but not the best Kanye has done, still it is quite catchy. It is an honest song about addiction, Whats your addiction, is it money? Is it girls? Is it weed? Ive been afflicted by not one, not two, but all three. The song is somewhat plain, and although I believe Kanyes individual style can make most pieces great, this one is missing something. The best bit is probably the female rap of the, I guess you would call it chorus, although it is not quite, Why is everything supposed to be bad, make me feel so good, everything they told me not to is exactly what I would. Man I tries to stop, I tries the best I could.
Track 12 Skit # 2
Continuation of the first Skit.
Track 13 Diamonds from Sierra Leone (remix) ft Jay-Z
I love this song, it is basically the same as the original, however it features a rap by Jay-Z, this makes this amazingly strong song even stronger. How is this song so strong? If you have not already heard the original, which has been played on the radio for ages, then where have you been? This song is so effective because of the background music, very strong, along with a strong beat and the honest rap of Kanye, talking about Sierra Leone and how that affects his life. It is an additive song, which you have to listen to to appreciate.
Track 14 We Major ft Nas and Really Doe
This has a strong blues opening, and the music continues below the rap throughout the song. It is a loud song, and very in your face, the background music is very repetitive, but this adds to the whole effect of the piece. It is a good song to listen to, well done.
Track 15 Skit #3
Continuation of other Skits.
Track 16 Hey Mama
Kanye has never denied his love for his mother, how much he relies on her and how much he owes her. This is a beautiful song, one of the best on the album. Kanyes rap is so touching, My mama told me go to school, get your doctorate, Somethin to fall back on, you could profit with, But still supported me when I did the opposite. This is a really nice song, with a great tune, lovely lyrics, it makes you smile.
Track 17 Celebration
Im not sure what I think of this song, it is a bit of a mixture, using lots of different musical styles which rather clash, but that is perhaps the intended effect of the piece. It is an interesting song, featuring lyrics like, See you know my style, I'm very wild, And I vow that my child will be well endowed, Like his daddy, And tell him that your mama had a fattie, He looked up at me said, "daddy that's the reason why you had me?" Yep, we was practicing, Til one day your ass bust through the packaging
You know what though? You my favorite accident. I guess it is the sort of song which you will either might well hate, love or not be sure abour, maybe after listening to it for a bit I might be able to decide.
Track 18 Skit #4
The final in the Skits. The conclusion to the part.
Track 19 Gone ft Consequence and Camron
A nice start before the beat and Kanye join. This is quite a good song, nice constant beat, good background music, all components of a good piece. The combination of the different artists, each with their own styles works well for this piece. I think I like it with its interesting music. It may not be the favourite of other people, but I quite like it, worth listening to.
Track 20 Diamonds from Sierra Leone
This is the original of track 13, without Jay-Z, you may well have heard this on the radio, played by DJs like Westwood. A very strong song, but to really get the best out of it, you need to listen to the lyrics.
Track 21 We Can Make it Better
This has an interesting start a lovely piece of Jazz saxophone. Then we get Kanye doin his thing. The lyrics to this piece are good, coz her best friends man got popped, he was 16 years old, the police thought his phone was a gun. This song is sad, as the title suggests, but it is also a beautiful song, which is worth listening to, so give it a chance please.
Track 22 Late
The final song on the album, which starts with a flourish of violins, then some soft female singing before Kanye breaks in. The song has a great, catchy beat. The song is probably made by the female vocals which are a good addition to the song, making it soft, and contrasting with Kanyes rap. This is a good song to end the album, not the best on the album, but it isnt too harsh, and has a great ending, very soft and subtle.
What I love about this album is the continuity of it, although some of the songs are very different they all seem to fit together, and do it very well indeed. I am happy with my purchase, and I do recommend this album if you like quirky Hiphop, if you dont like that sort of music however, you probably shouldnt buy it, you may be disappointed!
The cover features the bear character from 'The College Dropout' entering a school, the other pictures within the booklet show the bear at school. It is interesting, however I like it when artists include lyrics in the booklet so you can sing along. Lol!
You should be able to get this album for about £10 at supermarkets, or about £15 in music stores including HMV.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Wake Up Mr. West
2 Heard 'Em Say - Kanye West, Adam Levine
3 Touch The Sky - Kanye West, Lupe Fiasco
4 Gold Digger - Kanye West, Jamie Foxx
5 Skit #1 (Kanye West/Late Registration)
6 Drive Slow - Kanye West, Paul Wall, GLC
7 My Way Home - Kanye West, Common
8 Crack Music - Kanye West, The Game
10 Bring Me Down - Kanye West, Brandy
12 Skit #2 (Kanye West/Late Registration)
13 Diamonds From Sierra Leone - Kanye West, Jay-Z
14 We Major - Kanye West, Nas, Really Doe
15 Skit #3 (Kanye West/Late Registration)
16 Hey Mama
18 Skit #4 (Kanye West/Late Registration)
19 Gone - Kanye West, Consequence, Cam'Ron
20 Diamonds From Sierra Leone
21 We Can Make It Better - Kanye West, Talib Kweli, Q-Tip, Common, Rhymefest