After releases from two of the other major camps in Hip-Hop music, Kanye West presents his crew’s offering to the world with: “G.O.O.D. Music: Cruel Summer.”
Weird album covers aside, the 12-track LP actually features some great production, clever lyrics and classy features as well. Opening with Kanye West and a re-energized R. Kelly singing “To the World.” Listening to the first song, you get the impression that Kanye feels as he and his crew are on top of the world and everyone else can only look in admiration. Never short of big boasts, Kanye proclaims himself “the god emcee” while R.Kelly proclaims “The whole world is a couch/B*tch I’m Rick James and I’m not giving a f*ck tonight.” Any Dave Chappelle reference is going to be a hit to me.
Some of the more known songs follow as Big Sean gets a feature with his two idols ‘Ye and Jay-Z. We all know “Mercy” but one of the other standouts is “New God Flow.” The original leak only showcased Pusha T & Kanye. The album cut features the man whom the song samples, Pretty Tony himself Ghostface Killah. Ghost comes through and puts the nail in the coffin with a verse reminiscent of his Supreme Clientele days.
Directly after is “The Morning,” where another legendary Wu-Tang Clan member “The Chef” Raekwon comes through and provides one of the best verses on the entire album. On a beat that sounds more complex than you would imagine, The Chef spits some of his more hard-hitting rhymes of the past few years. “They yellin’ Chef, kill the plate with the cooks/I said ‘Ye with 2 chainz on, we Common let’s push”…..if you can’t get it, I even spelled the names out in the line.
While “The Morning” is great, it also showcases one of my biggest criticisms of the album: Common has maybe seven bars on the entire album and they’re on this song. SEVEN BARS ON THE ENTIRE ALBUM. And here’s another shocker: Mos Def has none. How Chief Keef finds his way on the album Mos Def doesn’t is beyond me. Two of the best rappers on the roster need a little more time on the album. Not even a Q-Tip showing! And there was plenty of space for them as the album is only 12 tracks long. On my first listen, I was completely caught off guard when the album ended. If I’m going to continue to buy more albums, I’m going to need a bit more than 12 tracks.
All-in-all, the album is very solid from start to finish. Ma$e shows up with a surprising stand-out verse on “Higher” and John Legend and Teyana Taylor actually sound really good together on “Bliss.” The only artist on the roster to receive a solo track, Kid Cudi gives you another offering of basic Kid Cudi. While I’m a fan of his work and this short hymn was enough to get me excited for future releases, “Creepers” seemed more like an interlude than actual track. I felt as if on a 12-song album with no Mos Def and not enough Common, a 2 minute Kid Cudi hymn could have been left for a mixtape.
The album won’t break any new ground but it’s a nice beginning offering from the G.O.O.D. camp. I don’t think it necessarily places them above or below any other rap crew but it’s a good sign of things to come. As arrogant as Kanye West seems to be, there is no denying that the guy is a genius when it comes to music. Cruel Summer doesn’t disappoint.
New God Flow