Album Review: G.O.O.D. Music – Cruel Summer
Compilation albums often struggle with problems of focus and cohesion. If anybody could do it successfully, it would be Kanye West, he who extracted the best out of many mediocre talents for features on My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.
The singles for Cruel Summer confirmed this suspicion. The strength of “Mercy,” was an incredibly promising sign for the quality of the album. Kanye managed to wrestle better-than-average verses out of far-below-average rappers, Big Sean and 2 Chainz, resulting in a great track. “Cold” showcased the materialistic, obnoxious, yet somehow still fresh style Kanye fans has come to expect. “New God Flow” is a truly exhilarating showcase of three titanic emcees. Pusha T steals the show amidst strong competition from Kanye and Ghostface Killah. Alongside his other inspired verses, Pusha makes a good case for the album’s MVP. “Clique” strongly concluded the pre-release singles, with good production and Kanye’s best appearance on the album.
Unfortunately, the rest of the album lacks the quality of the singles. Perhaps an anomaly in his career, Kanye’s poor employment of available talent waters down the album. Looking at the G.O.O.D Music roster, one ponders how 2 Chainz, Big Sean and Cyhi the Prince each got multiple features, while more intriguing label members Mos Def, Q-Tip and Bon Iver are entirely absent. Otherwise, prominent features from swooners R Kelly and The Dream feel misplaced, and it is hard to understand why the slumping Kid Cudi is the only artist outside of Kanye to receive a solo track.
Overall, Cruel Summer is a decent product that fails to solve the typical problems of compilation albums. However, it does serve as a reminder not to sleep on Pusha T. Yuccch!
Album Rating 6.5/10