Graduation

Graduation

4.1 30
by Kanye West
     
 

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Graduation's pre-leak talk wasn't as substantive as it was with Kanye West's first two albums. As with just about any other artist's third album, it had to be expected. The College Dropout was one of the most anticipated debuts of the early 2000s, while Late Registration had people wondering why Kanye would feel the need to work so extensively…  See more details below

Overview

Graduation's pre-leak talk wasn't as substantive as it was with Kanye West's first two albums. As with just about any other artist's third album, it had to be expected. The College Dropout was one of the most anticipated debuts of the early 2000s, while Late Registration had people wondering why Kanye would feel the need to work so extensively with multi-instrumentalist rock producer Jon Brion (the J Dilla of the chamberlin) and whether or not Kanye's hubristic tendencies would get the better of it. With Graduation, there was Takashi Murakami's artwork, a silly first-week sales competition with the decreasingly relevant 50 Cent, and chatter about synthesizers running wild. That was about it, but it all seemed loud and prevalent, due in part to a lack of high-profile rap albums released in 2007. Graduation is neither as bold nor as scattered as The College Dropout, and it's neither as extroverted nor as sonically rich as Late Registration. Kanye still makes up for his shortcomings as an MC and lyricist by remaining charmingly clumsy, frequently dealing nonsense through suspect rhyme schemes: "I never be picture-perfect Beyoncé/Be light as Al B. or black as Chauncey/Remember him from Blackstreet, he was black as the street was/I never be laid-back as this beat was." The songs that are thematically distanced, introspective, and/or wary -- there are many of them -- are, in turn, made more palatable than insufferable. That his humor remains a constant is a crucial aspect of the album, especially considering that most other MCs would sound embittered and hostile if they were handling similar subjects, like haters new and old, being a braggart with a persistent underdog complex, getting wrapped up in spending and flaunting, and the many hassles of being a hedonist. Those who have admired Kanye as a sharp producer while detesting him as an inept MC might find the gleaming synth sprites, as heard most prominently throughout "Flashing Lights" and "Stronger," to be one of the most glaring deal-breakers in hip-hop history. Though the synthesizer use marks a clear, conscious diversion from Kanye's past productions, highlights like "I Wonder," "The Glory," and "Everything I Am" are deeply rooted in the Kanye of old, using nostalgia-inducing samples, elegant pianos and strings, and gospel choirs. So, no, he's not dreaming of fronting A Flock of Seagulls or joining Daft Punk. He's being his shrewd, occasionally foolish, and adventurous self.

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Editorial Reviews

New York Times - Jon Pareles
As his own producer, Mr. West maintains quality control to rival any of the luxury brands he name-drops. Somehow his productions build momentum even when they revolve around a handful of repeated samples. Nearly every song on Graduation is memorable for both its hooks and its overall sound.
Rolling Stone - Nathan Brackett
1/2 None of the beats clobber you as immediately as "Jesus Walks" or "Gold Digger," but most of them improve on every listen: This is an album that you first like, then love.
Billboard - Hillary Crosley
Beyond his trademark looped samples, West stretches the production with synthesizers and arena-ready tracks like "Champion."

Product Details

Release Date:
09/11/2007
Label:
Roc-A-Fella
UPC:
0602517412200
catalogNumber:
000954102
Rank:
2163

Tracks

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Kanye West   Primary Artist
Jon Brion   Percussion,Keyboards
Mike Dean   Guitar,Keyboards
Richard Dodd   Cello
Eric Hudson   Musician
Peter Nocella   Viola
Chris Martin   Vocals
Jay-Z   Vocals
Olga Konopelsky   Violin
John Krovoza   Cello
Emma Kummrow   Violin
Igor Szwec   Violin
Andy Chatterly   Keyboards
Eric Gorfain   Violin
Daphne Chen   Violin
Jamaal Stanford Williams   Background Vocals
Tanya Herron   Vocals
Alexandra Leem   Viola
Chris Rob   Keyboards
Omar Edwards   Synthesizer,Piano,fender rhodes,Synthesizer Bass
Leah Katz   Viola
Jennie Lorenzo   Cello
John Legend   Background Vocals
Darryl Beaton   Keyboards
Ne-Yo   Background Vocals
Alma Fernandez   Viola
Luigi Mazzocchi   Violin
Tim Resler   Bass
Jehireh Williams   Background Vocals
Connie Mitchell   Vocals
Gloria Justen   Violin
Charles Parker   Violin

Technical Credits

Donald Fagen   Composer
James Ingram   Composer
Elton John   Composer
Laura Nyro   Composer
Quincy Jones   Composer
Edwin Birdsong   Composer
Labi Siffre   Composer
Prince Phillip Mitchell   Composer
Walter Becker   Composer
Jon Brion   Producer
G. Clinton   Composer
Tommy D   Producer
Mike Dean   Arranger,Producer,Engineer,String Arrangements
Larry Gold   String Arrangements,String Conductor
Eric Hudson   Composer,Producer
Norman Landsberg   Composer
Felix Pappalardi   Composer
Hank Shocklee   Composer
Bernie Taupin   Composer
Carlton Ridenhour   Composer
Tony Rey   Engineer
Leslie Weinstein   Composer
Timbaland   Programming,drum programming
Andrew Dawson   Engineer
Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo   Composer
Tracey Waples   Marketing
Kanye West   Composer,Producer,Executive Producer
Anthony Kilhoffer   Engineer
Warryn Campbell   Composer,Producer
Kyambo "Hip Hop" Joshua   Executive Producer
Chris Martin   Composer
John Stephens   Composer
Patrick "Plain Pat" Reynolds   Producer
Bruce Buechner   Engineer
Greg Koller   Engineer
John Ventura   Composer
Carol Corless   Package Production
Mos Def   Composer
Chris Martin   Composer
Brancch   Marketing
Rosie Danvers   String Arrangements
Takashi Murakami   Artwork
Nottz Raw   Engineer
Seiji Sekine   Engineer
Faheem Najm   Composer
George Clinton   Composer
M. Karoli   Composer
I. Schmidt   Composer
Dwayne Carter   Composer
J. Ventura   Composer
Eric Sadler   Composer
Thomas Banghalter   Composer
K. Suzuki   Composer
J. Liebezeit   Composer
Holger Schuering   Composer
Lauro Nyro   Composer
Sean Cooper   Sound Design

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

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Graduation 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 30 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
nas once said that hip hop is dead. true. with all the ring tone rappers and gangstas and stupid dance crazes like the superman and the snap and roll. ugh!. hip hop was far from dying, it had the notion of being over with in a year. but common, lupe, nas and kanye all saved hip hop from dying it's last death. kanye pretty much stole the show. with a different cover of an anime painting by takeshi murakami. kanye knows how to please an audience. stronger is the best daft punk song that is now kanye's due to the sample. sounds more zapp and roger than 50 cent. on tour he made a massive concert show with lasers, gold plated dancers, an anime robot and more. kanye's tour is a blast. this and the cool shows that rap cannot die. while far from a classic staple like paid in full. graduation is essential to every rap lover's collection.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
ElTigreChino More than 1 year ago
After Kanye's first two albums, I thought that this would be better. I was a little disappointed by the album, but it was still good. I like the songs Stronger and Can't Tell Me Nothing. Good, but to his standards, I thought that it was meh.
SMeyerDestroysBooks4ever More than 1 year ago
this album stinks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Kanye West was an underestimated artist when he started. Now he has graduated into a full fledged rapper. Great stuff on this album.
Guest More than 1 year ago
After a brief hiatus from the spotlight, Kanye returns with some of his best material yet. Besides him being one of the most sought out producers of his day, Kanye's music continues to mature and set the trend for the direction that hip hop is heading. He proves this by releasing two singles that you wouldn't expect from the soul-sampling genius. "Can't Tell Me Nothing" is a shift from what we're used to hearing with added vocals from Australian pop star Connie Mitchell that are reminiscent of, but oddly enough are not sampled from a previous song. On "Stronger" he continues the recent trend of sampling Daft Punk while reinventing his own sound as it brings on a more digital sounding Mr. West. Other highlights include "Big Brother" a controversial yet compelling ode to his mentor Jay-Z, "Champion" which displays Kanye's sampling skills at his best and "The Good Life" featuring T-Pain which may be one of the biggest songs of the year, with the help of a familiar Michael Jackson sample. Mos Def & Chris Martin of Coldplay are among other guests you will find at the Graduation. With catchy verses, creative artwork and incredible production, as you would expect you can't go wrong with the third release of yet another classic album from one of the fastest rising superstars of our time.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Incredible new album from Mr. West. At only 13 songs, it is a little shorter than his previous efforts. This, however, does not effect the overall enjoyment of this album. Not crammed with guests, you get to enjoy a little more of Kanye's lyrical prowess (as well as production skills). A must have for any fan of hip hop, or good music in general.
Guest More than 1 year ago
As much as I like Kanye west. This has got to be his worst. I listened to Colledge dropout and Late Registration those albums are better than Graduation. There's only a couple of tracks I like. Including the hit singles "Stronger" and "Can't tell me nothin'". But it's OK not great. But just a lesson to be learned when albums get pushed back that means it stinks.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is supposed to be the last disc in his "school" themed albums but this album is not a theme album. It fails to finish off what he started with the first two. Gone are the funny intros"School Spirit, Workout Plan, and the fraternity skits". which i actually didnt get tired of hearing like most hip hop intros and hes Not Rapping about school at all. What he does rap about is being the best, and he is one of the top mc's. This disc is also a lot shorter than the previous two, leaving you a little dissapointed and wanting more. This is a good album but comming after his first two it falls short.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The rap industry needs a makeover and this is the cure. We're sick and tired of the glorified violence and sex. Let's get some good music. Kanye pushes the boundaries on this record and takes risk. INSTANT CLASSIC!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Kanye dazzles and delivers an entertaining blend of music once again with 'Graduation'. Although shorter than previous CDs, Graduation features a range of different music, one for any mood. Highlights include the upbeat 'Good Life' ft. T-Pain, the hit single 'Stronger', and 'Homecoming' ft. Chris Martin from Coldplay. "Who could've predicted that collaboration?" Overall, very satisfying.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was anticipating this album like many others out there, not because of the 50 Cent pulicity stunt that he pulls everytime he is about to release an album. Kanye is a rapper that brings a lot more to the table than most rappers in the game. It's not all about flashy tracks and a few slick punchlines for Kanye, he sits down and thinks, and you hear those thoughts in every one of his songs. Late Registration being his best album in my opinion, Graduation falls just a little behind. It's shorter than his previous releases, making you feel disappointed once it's all over. Kanye's music is inspirational, it envokes good feelings and pride within those who will listen. Besides the singles, great tracks on the album are Big Brother, which is a wonderful dedication to Jay-Z, I Wonder, and Everything I Am. Enjoy graduation night.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is flat-out boring and monotonous. What happened to hip-hop this century? No wonder it's a dying genre if this is considered the best.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This album is trash. Just heard it last night was like, "where is the lyrical content? What kind of beats are these?" Kanye has went above and beyond what he needs to be doing and thats make beats. Hip hop deserves better than this. As much as I hate 50, he has the better album.
Guest More than 1 year ago
First off let me say that I'm a HUGE Chicago fan! Being from Chicago yet away from home, in the Air Force, Kanye's music has been the pictures from home I need when I'm away! Now after all of that I have 2 say I'm really disapointed in what I heard when I opened up that creative little package the CD comes in! After Late Registration came out a lot of mainstream media publications complained that the skits were unfunny and annoying. It seems that with Graduation Kanye did something I wouldn't expect him to do, he caved in to critics! There are NO skits on Graduation. What he didn't realize was those "annoying" skits upheld the theme of the album. I was SO LET DOWN when I started 2 play my Graduation CD for the first time and did not hear Chicago comedian Dee-Ray's Bernie mac impression either bashing Kanye for his poor performance doing his school years or congratulating him for graduating. From that point on there is NO CONNECTION to the first two albums as the title suggest and for a huge fan of those CDs like myself that was something that was hard to get past. Kanye seems to spend a lot of the album answering to critics about past statements he made or past outfits he's worn! Where's the guy who doesn't give a damn what ANYONE thinks and goes with what he feels??? I support that guy! All and all the songs on this CD are very good and MUCH better than anything that's out now! You have to admire someone who's made it without constantly harping on guns, drugs, the club and stealing someone's girl. But I bought into the hype and RAN out and bought the CD as soon as possible so Kanye's 1st week sells would beat 50's "and they DID! YES, HIP HOP IS NOT DEAD!" and I argued with friends who thought about downloading this CD. But in the end as good as this music is and it IS A REALLY GOOD CD, it was not what I was waiting for and I was left hoping for more.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this cd is the bomb! all the people who said it sucked u r all wrong. this is a great cd if you dont have it go get it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
It seems ironic that Kanye dropped his latest at the end of the summer, rather then when schools actually graduate. It's a shame too, because with party friendly songs like the two singles "Stronger" and "Good life", and beach bonfire chill-outs like "Everything I Am" and "Homecoming", it almost seems unfair that summer mix-tapes were without them. Fans of Kanye will like the same relaxed and witty lyrical content that Kanye brings along to every album as well as his ingenious produced beats. However some may be slightly dissapointed at the lack of originality and skits found on Kanye's other albums. Still a good buy none the less.
Guest More than 1 year ago
For all of Fifty's attempts to exacerbate his rise to the top, Kanye proves he is his own hype machine. His journey has been marked from the beginning and his fans "and haters alike" seem to acknowledge and respond to the man's will to succeed. A true Gemini, West wants his audience to feel it all, from the vitrol regarding his almost fanatical shamelessness to the humanity of his desire for universality. The latest album strays from the chipmunk soul sampling hits of yore and ventures into territory previously explored by the likes of Daft Punk, the Neptunes and the last few productions by the late great J-Dilla, a territory albeit currently being pioneered by forward thinking underground hip hop acts like Sa Ra Creative Partners, Spank Rock, Brother Reade and the Cool Kids. West's range, both in terms of fanbase and vision, is greater than most. While he may be culling trends from the bubbling underground elite, West has the staying power and gumption to cement his claims as timeless. Kanye's riding an old wagon but as far as mainstream is concerned, he's the only one at the wheel.
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