“It is actually what I would call a retail mixtape. It has no solid or specific theme like a soundtrack or other compilations would do and is not as powerful as one would’ve expected.”
Before we go further on the slander and comparison of Cruel Summer to Watch The Throne and My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, let us remember that only one of these three albums is a Kanye West album.
You cannot compare a cake, bread and a biscuit just because the ingredients come from a common brand. WTT was duo album; MBDTF was a solo album, while Cruel Summer is a compilation which is aimed at promoting the G.O.O.D Music brand showcasing the label’s artists. The themes in all three albums are different. That’s like rating a newsreader against a DJ and a commentator. Would you miss out on a movie just because you’ve seen the trailers? Anyway, I think Kanye fans need to understand that an album with him on it shouldn’t be treated or viewed as that of his own.
Upon pressing play, the first voice that welcomes you to the album is that of R. Kelly, whose guest vocal appearance on “To The World” is stronger than those of other singers. More could’ve been done on the track because the production is epic, but Teyana Taylor and Kanye’s verses don’t live up to it like Kells’ does. Redeeming himself on “Clique” with Big Sean and Jay-Z, Kanye drops quite a dope black consciousness verse veiled as flossing; this might go over some heads who take it in the same context as Sean and Jay’s verses.
“The Morning”, featuring Raekwon, Pusha T, Common, 2 Chainz, Cyhi, Kid Cudi and D’banj starts off nice, but halfway through its vibe dies. The beat doesn’t have much character, plus the combination of artists on it has no chemistry, leaving the song nothing more than an album-filler. The-Dream, Pusha, Cocaine 80s and Mase come out very dope on “Higher”, a smooth joint that happens to be on repeat on my iPod. A track that could easily be forgotten is “Sin City” with John Legend, Travis Scott, Teyana Taylor, Cyhi and Malik Yusef. Honestly, I don’t know where that song is going.
I don’t even get a reaction listening to it. Assisted by Marsha Ambrosius on “The One”, Kanye, Big Sean and 2 Chainz drop some lyrical jewels. As someone who’s not a fan of 2 Chainz, I was surprised at how decent and quotably-smart his verse is as opposed to his usual random rhymes. A standout song has to be “Creepers” by Kid Cudi. He’s the only artist with a solo track on the album and he does justice to it; if only it was more than just one verse. Some of the collaborations here don’t have chemistry at all. A prime example would be “Bliss” with John Legend and Teyana Taylor. It is well-written just not executed well in vocal delivery. I think if Teyana did two verses alone and featured a rapper, or if John sang it with Marsha it would’ve sounded better.
“Cold”, “Mercy”, “New God Flow”, and “I Don’t Like (RMX)” had already leaked online and that’s one of the problems people have with the album; as if they’ve never heard of the concept of promo singles. The same MBDTF that’s being brought into the discussion had plenty of songs leaking, yet it did not make it any less of a great album. What makes a great album is the quality of the songs as one collective. As for this specific album, it is actually what I would call a retail mixtape. It has no solid or specific theme like a soundtrack or other compilations would, and therefore is not as powerful as one would’ve expected.
I could blame it on the beats having that many co-producers, which leads to the songs being sonic roller-coasters of mixed emotions. Hit-Boy, Kanye, Illmind, Warren Felder, Mike Dean, Andrew Wansel, Mannie Fresh, Tommy Brown, Travis Scott, Dan Black and Young Chop amongst many others, did production on Cruel Summer, but did not exactly create anything that is as powerful as the title of the offering.
Written by: Lerato Finizia (@LeratoFiniza)