At this point in his career, Kanye had become, I think it would be fair to say, rather famous, his first album sold over four million copies worldwide, and he was receiving critical acclaim from pretty much every music critic at the time. Which meant that the hype was huge for his follow up, did he deliver?
Yes, definitely, this album is, in my opinion as much a sequel to “The College Dropout” as anything else and it manages to do what many sequels fail to do, be better than the original, sure we get 4 more skits and an intro, but unlike the previous album, I do find them genuinely funny.
This album is packed full of interesting tracks, from “Touch The Sky” featuring Lupe Fiasco, “Diamonds from Sierra Leone” featuring Jay- Z and an amazingly bizarre sample of Shirley Bassey’s “Diamonds are forever”, all the way through to “Gold Digger” featuring Jamie Foxx doing his Ray Charles impression, side by side with samples of the man himself, and the best thing is that, it all works, amazingly well.
I think my favourite thing about the album is, (and this is something that covers almost all of Kanye’s albums,) he actively distances himself from where hip hop was at that point it time, it was all about “being gangster yo”, but Kanye was/ is never like that, his range of topics is quite broad, it is of course laced with a lovely amount of humour, to offset the heavier tracks, for example “Crack Music” deals with the very real problem of drugs in the black community, “Diamonds from Sierra Leone” also acknowledges how horrific the process of diamond mining is. But there’s usually a skit or a song with some levity to be found quite close by.
Thais album is fantastic, better than his debut, it may be a little too long and sometimes his “hard rhyming” thing that he does can be a little annoying, but all in all it is genuinely brilliant, you have to check this one out.
Rating: 4.5/ 5 essencial listening for any rap/ Kanye fan.
I’m sorry there was such a large gap since the last review was posted, I’ve been busy working and in the UK we are currently experiencing a massive heatwave, so I have been busy enjoying some rare sun.