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Kanye West - Kanye West Presents Cruel Summer (Compilation Review)

Friday, 21 September 2012 Written by Jonny Rimmer
Kanye West - Kanye West Presents Cruel Summer (Compilation Review)

I had a feeling that I'd been misinformed when told there was a new Kanye album on the way, so to prefix this review – this is not a Kanye West record/mixtape/compilation, but a deliberately sequenced LP that showcases the 'talent' on the GOOD music label. Sadly, for those who are just keen to hear the Kanye's next outlandish opus, 'Cruel Summer' is aptly named.

ImageThere is little of genuine substance or continuity on an album dominated by autotune, half-assed “trap” beats and disconnected rhyme schemes. Sure, Kanye is the leading name here, but he appears very sparingly. He dips in and out here and there (on about six of the twelve tracks at least), but his verses are usually undercut by his minions' more trite efforts. Not all of his protégés are without merit (forget R. Kelly, The-Dream is the most accomplished R&B contributor on the disc), but there is still a hell of a lot of deadwood. Case in point: Big Sean, who features heavily throughout. His bars are basic at best, his voice irritating and his appearances on 'Clique' and 'Mercy.1' are enough to ruin both tracks.

What is most frustrating is that, second-rate rappers notwithstanding, there is potential littered throughout the record. The series of 'Creepers', 'The One' and 'Bliss', is reasonably cohesive; the latter is a highlight, treating us to a convincing duet from old-time collaborator John Legend and new talent Teyana Taylor. For the most part though, 'Cruel Summer' just feels disjointed. Each rapper has his own agenda, half of which don't fit and the only memorable hooks just tend to grate.

Maybe expectations were high after Kanye's attempts to push boundaries on 'My Twisted Dark Fantasy', but this collection, with its tasteless and repetitive bravado, just feels lazy. For those of us that actually care about another Kanye collaboration, there is always 'Watch the Throne'. At least we don't have to hear him sing anymore, right?

'Kanye West Presents Cruel Summer' was released on 17th September via Def Jam/Mercury Records.

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