Late Registration (studio album) by Kanye West
Kanye West bestography
The best album by Kanye West is My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy which is ranked number 33 in the list of all-time albums with a total rank score of 26,648.
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This album is rated in the top 1% of all albums on BestEverAlbums.com. This album has a Bayesian average rating of 82.5/100, a mean average of 79.9/100, and a trimmed mean (excluding outliers) of 82.6/100. The standard deviation for this album is 18.9.
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Between the production, the variety in styles and how grand/maximal this album is, there just isn't anything out there like it. Possibly a bit too long and some the skits do date it since those has pretty much gone away from hip hop for good reason but the peaks of this are about as high as you can get. Also love all the different subject matter and different voices on the album too. Kanye really pulled from all over hip hop and music for this.
In what may very well be a 'Revolver vs. Sgt Peppers' or 'Off the Wall vs. Thriller' debate of its generation, Late Registration may finally get the critical reevaluation as West's magnum opus over the rapturous acclaim of 2010's 'My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy'. While a continuation of the collegiate theming of his debut, 2004's 'The College Dropout', West pushes the envelope on his patented chipmunk-soul production and begins experimenting more with sonics on this record, refusing to be boxed into the soul sample box critics and fans loved and expected of him. Openly naming Fiona Apple and Portishead as inspirations for this record, he works to provide as lush a sonic experience as 'Tidal' or 'Dummy'. Amalgamating multiple disparate styles such as linking jazz saxophonist Hank Crawford to a stuttering Houston hip-hop inspired shuffle ('Drive Slow'), or blues belter Etta James with a trip-hop beat ripe with reverbed hi-hats and a haunting chopped guitar riff ('Addiction), West bridges the gap between traditional hip-hop and a diverse set of genres and sounds.
The primary piece of ear candy lies within the orchestration. West openly attributed the commercial success of his debut College Dropout to having provided the funds to hire live string sections for his productions on Late Registration (something he couldn't afford to do on said debut). The strings and horn arrangements accentuate his production style perfectly, and he uses them to great effect on songs like grand finale 'Gone' and the moody 'Bring Me Down'. 'We Major', surprisingly not sample-based, may be West's greatest achievement as a producer, with a brass-driven arrangement accentuated with shimmering electric pianos and beefy synth bass lines.
Lyrically, his socio-political commentary is his sharpest to date ('Crack Music', 'Diamonds From Sierra Leone', 'Heard Em Say'), as is his humor ('Celebration', 'Gold Digger'). Often times on this record he dedicates more moments to his family ('Roses', 'Hey Mama'), an aspect of his rapping throughout both Dropout and Registration people adored of him in comparison to his fellow contemporaries at the time.
With this record, West blows away any expectation of a sophomore slump with his maturest record yet as a songwriter and producer, and it remains his finest work and one of the greatest albums of all time, hip-hop or otherwise.
Essential picks: Heard Em Say, Drive Slow, Crack Music, Roses, Addiction, Diamonds from Sierra Leone, Hey Mama, Gone, Late
Also don't miss: UK bonus track 'We Can Make It Better'
Diamonds from Sierra Leone is a profound song. The rest fade into oblivion, although the great beats and flow are a constant reminder that you could do much, much worse.
A little bit too long, too many skits, but still contains some great stuff. My highlights are Diamonds from Sierra Leone, Addiction, Touch The Sky, Gold Digger and Heard Em Say.
This might be my favorite Kanye album next to KSG
My Favourite Kanye album, for me his best, but MBDTF is near
Spoiler alert: The upcoming review is totally biased.
I am not sure if I can maintain the slightest degree of objectivity (not a fan of the term when it comes to music, but you get the point) To my mind Kanye West is a godlike figure not only in hip hop but music in general. To say he single – handedly ignited my interest for this particular genre would be a fair assessment. One might argue that he leans towards the poppier end of the spectrum, so it’s understandable that I find him more accessible than other hip hop greats. He is not too hip hop, but also not too non hip hop, if that makes sense. Maybe that’s the case. No matter how he did it, he opened a whole new world for me and made me realise the endless arising possibilities. Ok, I am a fanboy, point taken, let’s move on.
To follow up the widely acclaimed and commercially successful College Dropout was no easy task, but he delivered. Production is once more the major attraction, it’s head and shoulders above every other aspect of the album. Lyrics are often the center of attention in hip hop. Well, not here. For all I care, he could be mumbling random nonsense that nobody understands and it would still sound majestic nonetheless. I don’t mean to suggest that he does, there are many great lines here. In the space of a year he managed to reinvent the sound of his debut album. The themes are a bit more serious (though there are still some moments of fun) but he doesn’t hold anything back, he is as honest and ever. The sound is, well, massive. Bigger than a Hollywood blockbuster, more epic than Homer’s poems, you name it. The variety is also outstanding. Every song is unique. The core of his sound is still a pop take on soul/funk, but he has expanded in many different directions.
Picking some highlights would be close to impossible, it’s more or less the whole album (yes, even the skits were entertaining). In Heard’ em Say he struggles dealing with the difficulties of life (“So this is in the name of love like Robert say Before you ask me to go get a job today Can I at least get a raise of the minimum wage? And I know that the government administer AIDS So I guess we just pray like the minister say Allāhu Akbar and throw in some hot cars”) , but he accompanies it with none other than Adam Levine (crazy, I know). He makes a song with Adam Levine work, for that alone he deserves full credit, don’t know who else could have pulled that off. Touch the Sky comes with a pinch of disco, followed by the club/party oriented Gold Digger which provides tons of fun. Drive Slow has an irresistible jazzy vibe, the saxophone is on steroids. By the way, Paul Wall also belongs to the Adam Levine category (in the sense that Kanye makes these things work seemingly out of nowhere, even though they seem destined to fail). Crack Music is another cool tune with a wonderful gospel touch as the icing on the cake. Roses flows as smooth as anything I can think of. Kanye is on top form there (as a rapper I mean). Even the silly Addiction is so addictive (these cringeworthy puns are becoming a thing). Diamonds From Sierra Leone (Remix) is just a huge song. Not a fan of remixes in general, but this is exemplary. If I had to pick one track that represents the whole album the most accurate, it would most likely be this one. We Major features Nas and is considered one of the weaker tracks. This speaks volumes about the depth of the album. Hey Mama is the pinnacle of songwriting, one of the most emotional and touching songs you can possibly encounter (“I wanna tell the whole world about a friend of mine This little light of mine and I'm finna let it shine I'm finna take y'all back to them better times I'm finna talk about my mama if y'all don't mind”). Then, as the title suggests, it’s time for Celebration- and deservedly so. And after all this insane ride, it seems he saved best for last. Gone keeps improving verse by verse. That’s what it means to go out with a bang. It’s worth noting that what I usually complain about in other album, here works the other way around. The most obvious example is the duration. It is 70 minutes long and it feels so short, it leaves you thirsty for more.
A great sequel to College Dropout.
Some great tracks, but lacking the consistency to be a great album.
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