Retrospective: Kanye West's Graduation

By @Tariku__

1. Good Morning
2. Champion
3. Stronger
4. I Wonder
5. Good Life (feat. T-Pain) 
6. Can't Tell Me Nothing
7. Barry Bonds (feat. Lil Wayne)
8. Drunk and Hot Girls (feat. Mos Def)
9. Flashing Lights(feat. Dwele)
10. Everything I Am (feat. DJ Premier)
11. The Glory
12. Homecoming 
13. Big Brother

After two classic albums, Kanye West was looking to top himself yet again. Graduation was released on 9/11/2007(in competition with 50's Curtis album). Driven by the successful single "Can't Tell Me Nothing", a confident and cautious introspective track dealing with wealth and his rap star status. Unlike College Dropout and Late Registration, Ye focused more on his life up to that point more than his social commentary. Caring more about the individual perspective with tracks like "Champion" featuring lyrics talking about his relationship with his father. "Homecoming" is dealing with his hometown of Chicago, as well is "Everything I Am". Ye also dumb downed his lyrics because he decided to switch things up a little in terms of sound.

While maintaining his trademark soulful roots, Ye was also inspired by a lot of Rock & Roll for this album. The whole concept of making music that was "stadium status" really fueled the album. When you hear certain songs like "Stronger", you can just envision being at one of his concerts and that track blowing the roof off the place, while also able to give the audience a good amount of his great lyricism.

My favorite tracks here have to be "Good Life", "Everything I Am", "Flashing Lights", "The Glory", and "Big Brother". I feel like as soon as the beat drops on "Good Life", you instantly get a sense of happiness. The joy in T Pain singing the hook will turn your mood around completely and even Ye's hilarious verses helped to make a perfect feel good track. I love "Everything I Am" simply because of one man: DJ Premier. He gave the track that classic rap song feel with his patent DJ scratches for the hook. I always saw "Flashing Lights" as the dark spiritual sequel to Gold Digger. The video helped my deep thinking as well with Ye's rich lady killing him. "The Glory" had some of the most fluid rhyming I've ever heard. It seemed like Kanye was really starting to make rapping second nature more than producing. "Big Brother" is that sibling rivalry/admiration track that I feel like everybody can relate to. With Kanye having this sort of idea for a trilogy, "Big Brother" talking about the man who inspired his career was a fitting end to that trilogy.

This album is close to being as perfect Hip-Hop as you can get. Many view it as a classic. Some view it as superior, which in the bible of Hip-Hop is close to classic status. One thing is for sure, Graduation concluded a 3 year span of 3 great albums. The best trilogy in Hip-Hop, I believe.



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