DAR Hip Hop: G.O.O.D. Music's Run From 2005-2007

By @TrueGodImmortal

G.O.O.D. Music was the brainchild of Kanye West and as the year 2004 arrived, we began to hear more and more about the budding label. Kanye would begin his journey as a label head in 2005 officially, working closely with artists like GLC, Consequence, Common, and John Legend at a time where 50 and G-Unit had rap on lock. Kanye and company would come in and make their presence felt and they would have a solid run as a crew and label for three years before a transition took place. Today, I wanted to look back at that time period from 2005 to 2007 where G.O.O.D. Music arrived and made their presence felt. Let's get into it.

*John Legend- Get Lifted

-The album officially released in 2004, but the impact was mostly felt in 2005 and beyond. John Legend was known for small features on several songs for Kanye and even had a nice moment doing the hook for Slum Village on "Selfish", but his debut album would exceed all expectations for a number of reasons. The album would go nearly triple platinum, which was a massive victory for G.O.O.D. and shock to most, and it would set Legend on the path of becoming a star. The sound of the album is smooth, laid-back, and honestly has a nice church vibe in several songs due to Legend's vocals. For me, the highlights of the album are "I Used To Love U", "Refuge", "Stay With You", "So High", and of course the super popular "Ordinary People". All in all, Legend delivers an album that is still memorable in the R&B genre. He was the leader of the R&B G.O.O.D. era.

*Common- BE

-This was like a comeback album for someone who didn't need a comeback album. Common had released the slept on project Electric Circus and fans panicked because he branched out a little more in terms of soul music and electric sounds. I guess those fans forgot that Common went the Neo-Soul route with Like Water For Chocolate and made a classic because after Electric Circus, some people wrote him off. However, Common is talented and can bounce back in an instant. That's exactly what occurred with his 2005 album BE, as Common worked closely with Kanye and J-Dilla to craft what is a flawless 11 track album. With features from John Mayer, Kanye, Bilal, and John Legend, the album is perfect, giving us tracks like "They Say", "It's Your World", "Real People", "Faithful", "Testify", and more. Common stakes his claim as the front man for G.O.O.D. Music hip hop outside of Kanye.

*Kanye West- Late Registration

-So, technically, this album doesn't need to be mentioned because it was under the Roc-A-Fella umbrella, but it has to get some love here since it came from the founder and creator of G.O.O.D. Music. When I look back at this album, it stands as the best moment in Kanye's career and his greatest work. The features are perfect, from Jay-Z to Nas to The Game to Brandy to Adam Levine to Lupe Fiasco to a number of other names that help complement Kanye's style very well. While Kanye was always known as a great producer, working next to Jon Brion on this album was an excellent choice, as the sound was beyond anything we had seen from Kanye prior. Tracks like "Touch The Sky", "Heard Em Say", "Late", "Gone", and more all made this album an amazing listen. While this album was officially on Roc-A-Fella and not G.O.O.D., in many ways, this album was extremely important to the growth of G.O.O.D. Music going forward.

*Grammy Family

-So, this is more of a moment than an album but it has to be noted because it was special for G.O.O.D. and just in general for hip hop. After Kanye would rack up awards and John Legend as well, along with Common getting nominations, it was time for the label to stunt a little bit. The song would be for Consequence's often delayed album Don't Quit Your Day Job, but would end up as a 2006 single for DJ Khaled's album and even had a video as well. The beat was booming, John Legend did his thing, as did Consequence and Kanye, and I feel as though this single was a big moment for G.O.O.D. Music, thus it needed its own mention and section.

*John Legend- Once Again

-This 2006 album came at the height of Kanye and John Legend's growing popularity, and Legend was reaching his peak in some ways. I actually think the sound of the second album is a tad better than the first album, even though I still believe the first is his overall greatest work. John reaches out to some different producers here in Raphael Saadiq, Sa-Ra, and more, but also has his usual suspects like Dave Tozer, Devo Springsteen, will.i.am, and Kanye doing the sounds as well. He would excel on this album at elevating his artistry and his infectious rhythms, as tracks like the jazzy "Maxine", the soft "Where Did My Baby Go", the soulful "Heaven", the honest "Show Me", the smooth "P.D.A.", and even the anthem like "Slow Dance" all showcase the best of Legend. The album would not have the mega hit like his debut did, but as a total effort, it is right on par with his debut.

*Consequence- Don't Quit Your Day Job

-I was hoping that the solo album from Consequence would get the fanfare and the proper delivery it deserved. I was disappointed by the promotion behind it, but I think Cons delivered a decent album that flew under the radar. I think one thing that took the album down a slight notch was that some of these songs were old and had already been heard. Imagine the excitement if you hadn't heard "Grammy Family" or "The Good, The Bad, The Ugly" a long time prior to this album dropping. Still, the project has some solid highlights from the Karriem Riggins produced "Uncle Rahiem" to the smooth "Disperse" to the hilarious John Legend featured "Feel This Way" to the infectious "Don't Forget Em" and even the slightly comedic but smooth "Pretty Little Sexy Mama". Consequence didn't take the label to another level, but he did contribute a solid album that deserved more attention.

*Common- Finding Forever

-When he returned to music after his triumphant comeback BE album, many wondered what Common would do next. In many ways, he attempted to create another BE with just a little more knock to it. However, BE is untouchable. It had the right amount of songs, the lyricism, and the flawless production. It was a moment in time for hip hop and for the label. Still, Finding Forever is a good album, and is one of Common's best, landing somewhere between the top 4-6 in his excellent discography. There are highlights like "The People", "Southside", "Break My Heart", "So Far To Go", and my favorite "U, Black Maybe", which all work well. However, this album lacks the passion and soul that made BE a certified classic, despite being a really good album.

*Kanye West- Graduation

-So, the last album to cover is the album that I think signals the end of the true G.O.O.D. Music run. After 2007 ended, we would see the label and Kanye go in different directions and this album was essentially the start of that new era for the label. Kid Cudi came in the fold for the label, Common would seemingly take a backseat and you didn't see the others on the label around as much. There was a shift and it came shortly after Graduation, which isn't an offiical G.O.O.D. album, as Kanye was signed to The Roc, but he is the leader of the label so this album applies. Kanye gives us tracks like "Good Life", "Good Morning", "The Glory", "Flashing Lights", and more as he would defeat 50 Cent in their sales battle the first week and sell nearly a million in the 7 day period. While Graduation is a damn good album, it is bittersweet, because it is the last true remnant of that Common/Kanye/Consequence/GLC/John Legend initial G.O.O.D. Music era run that made the label a household name and set the tone for the careers of those on the label. This run was legendary.



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