Published on September 20th, 2012 | by Boman12l0
Review: Cruel Summer – G.O.O.D. Music
For years Kanye West has been building his G.O.O.D. Music brand. Over that time, the roster has seen its fair amount of changes, but it wasn’t until 2010’s G.O.O.D. Fridays series did the starting lineup truly start to manifest. Now on the verge of autumn two years later, Kanye and G.O.O.D. Music present Cruel Summer.
While labeled as a compilation project, this is most definitely a Kanye West production. Sonically, Cruel Summer is a departure from Kanye’s last solo release, My Dark Twisted Beautiful Fantasy. There are two distinct styles found on the album. Tracks like “Mercy,” “Clique,” and “The Morning” have layered beats that build to crescendos, drums are hard and heavy and the tracks offer plenty of bounce. Other tracks like “New God Flow” are explosive, driven by piano loops that channel the intensity. At first glance, it sounds so simple, but there is plenty going on. The album is mixed wonderfully making for an addictive listening experience and one that will not be found anywhere else.
Cruel Summer is filled with huge posse cuts. “Mercy” quickly became one of the summer’s most played tracks; likewise, Big Sean’s “Swirv” also became part of the lexicon for many listeners. “New God Flow” was outstanding with plenty of quotable lyrics before Kanye added an actual verse from Ghostface Killah. Big Sean on “Clique” was able to hold his own paired with Jay-Z and Kanye. Pusha T has quickly become G.O.O.D. Music’s go-to-man and his presence is missed when he is not there. Perhaps the biggest surprise of the album was the shocking appearance of Ma$e on a song in 2012, and that his verse was enjoyable. While certain personnel stepped up, when the first string is not there,\ the album stalls.
Cyhi the Prynce still leaves much to be desired. The same can be said for most of the performers on “Sin City.” The track is a mixture of spoken word and rhymes that never seems to hit the mark. The track is a prime example of Cruel Summer’s weakness–a lack of general direction and when the core players are not present the results are middling at best. There are a few tracks that feel out of place. “Cold” (the track that had more title changes than Sean Combs), “Bliss” featuring John Legend and Teyana Taylor, and “Creepers” by Kid Cudi would be fine tracks if they were on separate projects but the tracks do not fit the aesthetics of the album. The same can be said for “I Don’t Like Remix” which surprised many by its inclusion on the final track list.
For the most part, the album delivers what you would expect from a compilation. Some members of the team have better performances (Pusha T, Big Sean) than others (Cyhi Tha High Prince). Kanye is still the star of the show, but now there are members on the team that can jump in and contribute major minutes when he is not on the floor. Cruel Summer is a solid effort, but it does not reinvent the compilation game. The bottom half of the album is a bit of a stretch; still, there are a few tracks you will be bumping for some time.