Opening Opinion: 9.5
My hype for this album was very high. It’s kind of a hard feeling to describe. I had heard enough singles from the album to know that it was dope. However what wasn’t apparent to me is this going to be his best album, or not. Graduation certainly lives up to that hype….and it’s my favorite rap album ever.
The first 3 songs are all pretty different. “Champion” has a great sample, and Kanye shows improved lyrical ability on this song, as well as the whole album. “Good Morning,” the first track is a great opener. It’s laid back, but incredibly effective. There’s a Jay-Z quote at the end of it. "Stronger" samples the Daft Punk song “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger.” The song isn’t that great lyrically, but the way it flows together just oozes creativity. I love the chorus also.
“I Wonder” is a really cool track. Kanye raps slowly over a very elegant beat. The sampled chorus just works wonders here. The song is an interesting one, to say the least. “Good Life” is a great feel-good kind of track. For one it samples MJ’s “P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)” song. Kanye’s lyrics are great here. AH did I mention he is joined by T-Pain here? Yes, it seems that just about every Kanye album features who ever is hot at the time he makes his album. You know what? There’s nothing wrong with that. T-Pain does a great job here.
“Can’t Tell Me Nothing” is the album’s best track. The beat is low and kind of a backdrop, but there’s 2 samples in this song. A lady singin out stuff(still not sure what she’s saying) and Young Jeezy sayin, “Yea” and “hahah.” I was a little skeptical about this song at first, but it quickly grew on me. Kanye’s lyrics hit hard, and everything blends together quite well.
“Barry Bonds” features Lil Wayne (see whoever was hot around the time). Anyways Kanye goes first and sets the bar high, but Weezy does a pretty good job on this track. The beat just sounds like a typical Kanye beat. “Drunk N Hot Girls” isn’t a great song, but its not terrible either. The beat is hot. Did I mention it features a singing Mos Def. The song runs a lil too long, but is fairly catchy.
The next song is “Flashing Lights.” An extremely dope song. The beat is awesome. Kanye spits about a woman, “She in the mirror dancing so sleezy.” The chorus seals the deal as this is one of the best songs on the album. “Feelin Like Katrina with No F.E.M.A., Like Martin with no Gina,” raps West. “Everything I Am” is the most laid back song here, and it's well placed on the album. Kanye gets very introspective on it. “Here we go again, Common passed on this beat, I made it to a jam.” The song is really good even though sometimes it’s too laid back for its own good.
“The Glory” is a high energy song. Kanye spits over a standard beat with a very well used sample. His lyrics are impeccable here. “It's easy, the hood love to listen to Weezy and Jeezy, and oh yea Yeezy.” “The Glory” is a very celebratory song.
“Homecoming” is Kanye’s ode to Chi City... aka Chicago. It’s an interesting song. Chris Martin does a great job on the chorus. The beat is perfect for the song.
“Big Brother” is Kanye’s ode to Jay-Z. It’s a terrific telling of how Kanye was first very nervous of meeting Jay, and then how Jay helped him grow as an artist. The lyricism on this song is no joke. This is also the only song on the album that Kanye did not produce. It has kinda of a cinematic/royalty feel to it. “My big Brother was Big’s Brother…..”
2nd Opinion: 9.6
Graduation stands as one of Kanye’s better albums, but certainly not his best. Hell it’s still my favorite.