It’s been a bizarre ride on the promotional side of things for Kanye West of late. After a poorly attended Getting Up Festival, a few random gum purchases and a quick little dust up at FLOW 93 last week, the rapper might be better off sticking to the MuchMusic stage for his next trip to Toronto. Or, even better, let his albums do the talking. Late Registration, released next week but in our hands today, should get the high marks this fall. In fact, the tantrum-prone rapper made such well-rounded album that we anticipate he’ll even score a good chunk of new fans – namely older music critics, Outkast-loving indie dudes and possibly even our dad (who actually prefers Speakerboxxx to The Love Below).
So before everyone jumps on-board, Torontoist offers a quick track-by-track takedown of Late Registration…Then of course we’ll give back to the community with a little mixtape.
Both the album review and downloadable goods require a “jump.”
1. “Wake Up, Mr West” – Damn these skits. For today, we’ll skip skits.
2. “Heard ‘Em Say” – John Mayer on Common’s Be? Maroon 5 on this track? Now we’ve seen everything. Just pretend this idiot from Maroon 5 is Jamie Foxx and the piano looped track sounds great.
3. “Touch the Sky” – Curtis Mayfield-sampled neo-soul that convinced Torontoist to live sin-free.
4. “Gold Digger” – It’s a single. Okay?
5. “Drive Slow” – This is the Paul Wall track. A slower tempo (perhaps to accommodate Mr Wall) and well-placed jazz horn make for one of the albums’ smoother jamz. Would work well on a lady-finding mission – which is the intent of the song.
6. “On My Way Home” – This is your typical Common song, just three minutes shorter than normal. At 1:47, it never really goes anywhere but acts an appropriate transition piece on the album.
7. “Crack Music” – Awful. Kanye West gives suitable production to album-worst guest The Game to no avail. Lyrically strong (excluding the Game’s verse), we suppose. Could have worked well in a faster paced, street-banger motif.
8. “Roses” – This starts an extremely sappy section of the album. Who needs more touching rap odes to fallen family members? No one wants to hear this. Jon Brion allegedly has something to do with this one too.
9. “Bring Me Down” – Again, we fault the beats here. Hilarious lyrics don’t jive with melodramatic, faux inspirational choruses.
10. “Addiction” – This one’s got Jon Brion all over it. Very good.
11. “Diamonds From Sierra Leone Remix” – This, the one with Jay Z, is the better version. Released as a single? Think so.
12. “We Major” – Jay Z, followed by Nas? Now we really have seen everything. This song, irritatingly, is very minor. To paraphrase Nas in his verse: “This beat is so bad…uh…not sure what to rap about.”
13. “Hey Mama” – This could/will be a hit, even though it sickens us. Mush.
14. “Celebration” – Uh. Whatever.
15. “Gone” – Now that’s what we’re talking about. This is good progress for West: He plays soul samples at regular speed instead of sped-up, and it works. Maybe the album highlight.
16. “Diamonds from Sierra Leone” – Again, not as good as the remix.
Now on with the mixtape.
1. Clap Your Hands Say Dance
A humourous video of some dude dancing to this falls big buzz-band Clap Your Hands Say Yeah.
2. Paul Wall – “Sittin’ Sidewayz”
Ignore the fact that a man named Big Pokey has a verse here – this is one of a string of breakout singles from the burgeoning Houston hip-hop scene. With the unmistakably screwy Houston hip-hop sound, Paul Wall might well become the city’s cough syrup (pronounced s-urp) drinkin’ ambassador. He’s also featured on Late Registrations’ “Drive Slow.”
3. Broken Spindles – “Inward”
4. Blue Eyes Bed Stuy: Notorious Big and Frank Sinatra Mixtape
Remember Jay Zeezer? That’s Jay Z meets Weezer? Well this is the Black Frank White meets the equally gangsta Frank Sinatra. Obviously, bringing up Notorious BIG and Ol’ Blue Eyes is another attempt to get at the Danger Mouse phenomenon.
That’s that. Look forward to *Sixeyes again next week. Until then!