Friday, November 9, 2012

The Cruelest Summer Cometh...(Stand Up or Fall Back Issue)

In order to truly set the tone for this article, allow me to set the tone with a lyric from n amazing producer by the name of Kanye West. There is a track on his 2008 album 808s And Heartbreak by the name of "Coldest Winter". The most enduring line of that song to me would have to be this one:

Memories made in the coldest winter
This line is quoted in particular to serve as a segue into my review for my review of the debut collaborative album for G.O.O.D. Music. I try to be ironic and tie the two together being that the new album is called Cruel Summer.

Unless you've been living under a rock you are familiar with the monster hit "Mercy" helmed by Kanye West with assists from 2 Chainz, Pusha T, and Big Sean. Since the song has been given so much airplay and acclaim I see no further reason to speak on it other than to say it was a juggernaut of a song. In many respects, it still is.

What I will do is talk about my top five favorite songs. Here they are:
  • "To The World"-This track begins the album on a decidedly high note. The beat builds in such a way that Lil' Wayne himself would be proud. Moreover, this track features R. Kelly in a resurgence and a delivery I never expected. Three words ('to the world') have never been sung in such an epic way. West comes through with an amazing verse and Teyana Taylor's soaring vocals conclude the song well.
  • "Clique"-For the most part, nothing about this track surprises me. When I say that I speak to it's amazing nature. Firstly I wasn't surprised to hear Jay-Z so soon on the album. He is Kanye's "big brother", after all. I wasn't even surprised when Big Sean rapped one of his strongest verses in the presence of rap royalty and a top notch producer. What did surprise me was the way this song seems to play like theme music for a tight knit gang. I dare you to play this song and not walk in an overly exaggerated way with your clique in tow.
  • "Higher"-This is probably one of my most enduring favorites on the album. It was good for me to hear The-Dream doing hooks and verses again. I was nursing the impression that T-Pain was taking over hooks from here on. Pusha T, as always, gives a strong showing. The shocker was hearing Ma$e back on the mic. The devil? This was what I thought until I heard him spit once more. You sometimes forget just how well he does deliver lyrically. The-Dream's soulful wailing over the beat just makes the whole thing golden.
  • "Bliss"-Teyana Taylor + John Legend is an equation for amazing. Two voices are playing off each other and making something too beautiful to be believed. Not to play towards overt simplicity but this song truly is bliss.
  • "Don't Like (Remix)"-As a rule, remixes tend to be a touch better than the orginal. Case in point, "Walk It Out (Remix)" with Jim Jones and OutKast. Chief Keef's "Don't Like" gets the same treatment. Pusha T, Big Sean, Kanye West, and Jadakiss are along for the ride with Keef and the punchlines are all amazing, with subjects ranging from the late Michael Jackson, Ric Flair, lesbians, and Marion "Suge" Knight. Ironically, this is that shit that I do like. Bang, bang.
If you haven't bought or download this album illegally yet, you might need to get on that. This cruel summer won't be around forever.

*Courtesy of Lucius Black for @RoyaltyMagazine

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