Graduation Review – Kanye West | Wizards Blog Truth About

Graduation Review – Kanye West

Updated: September 13, 2007

Graduation takes a back seat to Late Registration and College Dropout. Yea, yea…producer rapper, we all know his lyrical repertoire will never live up to the greats, but Yay seems to be digressing. But I’d still rather hear Kanye’s egotistical, yet sometimes thought-provoking lyrics than that of what wanna-bes like Juelz Santana and Young Joc. There’s a hint of popcorn rap. Is this album more mainstream? Well, Kanye’s always been relatively “mainstream” as a rapper. Could be that this more simplistic approach contributes to increased sales and Kanye’s fly Malcolm X status…by any jeans necessary. The overall presentation is there. I mean, this is a nice album. The beats are well produced. Kanye has a nice voice and a rhythmic flow to his pitch. Is Graduation better that a lot of crap out there? Definitely. Do I personally feel that Common’s Finding Forever is better? Yes. Is Kanye’s third album a disappointment? I would say so, then again, I wasn’t sure what to expect.

Good Morning
Not a bad way to start off Graduation….wake up everyone and hear Mr. West. A relaxed beat you can still tap your foot too which eases you into the album. The tightest part is when a Jay-Z verse comes in towards the end….from ‘The Ruler’s Back’ on The Blueprint. This is actually the full line, but Kanye only uses the parts in quotes: Yo, gather round “hustlers that’s if you still livin”. And “get on down”, to that ol’ Jig rhythm.
Song Rating: 7.5 out of 10

Smooth conversion to a nice change of beat….funny that Kanye uses a Steely Dan sample on this track. However, this song doesn’t jump out at me as being anything past “generic Kanye” — he’s not impressing anyone with his lyrics, but the catchy-ness makes the song a decent total package.
Song Rating 7 out of 10

Club/Workout song that doesn’t really get annoying, assuming that it is not played out on MTV. Kanye definitely flaunts his arrogance here — are people who view his arrogance as unfortunate considered haters? Song also has that cross-over appeal with the 2001 Daft Punk sample.
Song Rating 8 out of 10

I Wonder
Some may think the broken verses he’s spitting at the start is annoying…I don’t mind them so much. But I think he could’ve cut it out after the first verse and cut back to normal after the chorus. This is Kanye’s quarter-life crisis song.
Song Rating 7 out of 10

Good Life
This is the one and only song that I really don’t care for — and part of it may involve ESPN blasting it all over the Monday Night Football debut the night before the album dropped, among pretty much every other ESPN show. I just don’t feel comfortable with Linda Cohn introducing the song using words like “fresh” while it plays over Phil Mickelson and Dale Jr. highlights and thinking, ‘hey, this kinda fits’. No, that is not what I want from a Kanye West track. I also expect more from the beat here. Funny that DJ Toomp (works with a lot of ATL rappers, mostly T.I. – check out ‘Heavy Chevys’ & ‘Motivation’ by T.I. and ‘Two Miles an Hour’ by Ludacris, three of his best) and Mike Dean (works with Texas artists like Scarface & Devin the Dude) collabo on the production…doesn’t sound like anything they’ve had their hands on before. Maybe I just don’t feel T-Pain either.
Song Rating 5 out of 10

Can’t Tell Me Nothing
I was feeling this song when it came out….and I still do. Can rarely say that for the first single to drop for other albums. It just has a good, soulful rhythm. This is one of Kanye’s best flows on the whole album, probably because it comes most from the heart. Yay’s emotions are definitely on his sleeve here. Gotta dig Young Jeezy hollerin’ in the background. DJ Toomp also assists with the production. Well done, creative video also.
Song Rating 9 out of 10

Barry Bonds
This one is actually co-produced by Kanye with Nottz getting the head credit. Nottz doesn’t have the longest resume, but I do know ‘Keep Me Down’ by Scarface, ‘Tooken Back’ by Ghostface, and ‘Get Out!’ by Busta Rhymes are decent tracks. But back to the song, you easily notice the difference in the beat. It’s less “soulful” and hits a little harder. I actually like the change of pace, but something’s not right with the package. Lil’ Wayne seems to have a hard time adjusting his flow to the beat, so his effort comes out as sub-par.
Song Rating 6.5 out of 10

UPDATE: I’ve really grown to like the song…up the rating to 7.5.

Drunk and Hot Girls
Man, I go through too much shit to mess with this hot mess chorus. If I could describe it in one word: cumbersome. Sure the concept is fine. We all know how privileged drunk and hot girls think they are. But it’s not just the chorus, I feel like the beat is tripping over itself. Then again, I find myself listening to the song and kinda feeling the flow. Guess that’s how Kanye can toy with us.
Song Rating 4.5 out of 10

Flashing Lights
This is one of my favs. Nice combo of smooth, deriving from the chorus of Eric Hudson and Connie Mitchell, and pace….the perfect stripper song. And hey, what do you know….from the lyrics, it seems like it’s about a stripper, or at least a girl who loves herself as much as Kanye loves himself. One can only assume when someone likes to show off and mirrors are involved.
Song Rating 8.5 out of 10

UPDATE: Ok…my boy told me this song is really about the chick from MTV that Kanye used to date…until she decided to put her relationship diary on MySpace.

Everything I Am
A sentimental favorite…..actually, just about anyone can get sentimental about themselves and where they are in their own lives just by chilling out to the beat. It seems like Kanye most touches on those who knock his ego in this song. Yea, he admits how he comes across, and maybe it’s just to make a buck; relatively harmless when you consider the many ways people compromise themselves to get that money. Thing is, here, and maybe just here, Kanye realizes that while he is big, there are things bigger than him in this world. And to be honest, while the Louis Vuitton Don’s love for himself is ever-present, it’s not that big of a deal in my mind.
Song Rating 9 out of 10

The Glory
Not a bad song, not great. Kinda catchy, it just seems to fall
in line. Again, Kanye’s mediocrity (in production) is still better than a lot out there.
Song Rating 7 out of 10

The required Chi-town anthem. This one definitely doesn’t touch the ‘My Way Home’ minute forty-four snippet featuring Common on Late Registration. Not sure if this one was really recorded live, but the background gives the track some ambiance nonetheless. Lyrics transforming an object (or city) to the female gender is a little cliché….still a feel good hit complimented by Coldplay’s Chris Martin.
Song Rating 7 out of 10

Big Brother
This song had to take some guts to make. I can hear some ‘hater’ right now talking about how Yay is all over Jay’s D. This song was produced by DJ Toomp, but has that smooth Kanye feel. The guitar riffs provide some nice balance. The beat is definitely there to match the mood of the whole track. This is something people can, and should, feel. But damn Jay, why didn’t you at least leave your mans a ticket?
Song Rating 8.5 out of 10

Good Night
There’s not too much to this song. I usually skip past it and move on to other things because there’s not much offered. Al Be does not impress with his verse. I guess you gotta end with good night after beginning with good morning. Mundane.
Song Rating 6 out of 10

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Kyle Weidie
Founder / Editor / Reporter / Writer at TAI
Kyle founded TAI in 2007 and has been weaving in and out the world of Wizards ever since, ducking WittmanFaces, jumping over G-Wiz, and avoiding stints on the DNP-Conditioning list. He has covered the Washington pro basketball team as a member of the media since 2009. Kyle currently lives in Brooklyn, NY with his wife, loves basketball, and has no pets.