Kanye West has style. That's undeniable. He also has an ear for great music.
M.I.A. was asked to do a song for Late Registration, but opted not to. When asked how he felt about being turned down by her, the Louis Vuitton Don replied simply, "I'm Kanye West." That's arrogance for you. It's part of West's appeal though, for me at least. In part, he has a right to be cocky. I understand that it's a lot to swallow for some though.
Anyhow, the album is great. Kanye West is the only rapper that can get away with two of my biggest pet peeves about rap albums: 1) skits and 2) an abundance of guest appearances. The skits follow a common theme: a fictitious fraternity called "Broke Phi Broke"; some really funny shit. As for guest appearances, on most rap albums that have tons of featured artists it's just to hide the fact that the album's artist is talentless. That's not the case on Late Registration. Kanye chooses his guests well and has a real chemistry with them, lyrically and production-wise.
Some guests that I was especially impressed with were: Adam Levine, Lupe Fiasco, Paul Wall (who I was happily surprised to see on the album), Nas (!), and Cam'Ron (another surprise to me considering the great Roc-a-Fella schism of 2004).
One thing that I won't put up with is this pedestal that Kanye is set upon. People hail him as hip hop's messiah or some shit. An innovative producer? That he is (though not so much now as he used to be). A socially conscious and clever lyricist? I'll give him that. But the savior of hip hop as we know it? Hell no! The god honest truth is: While I love both Kanye and this album, his beats just don't blow me away like they did on Jay-Z's The Blueprint.
Stand out tracks: "Heard Them Say (ft. Adam Levine)", "Drive Slow (ft. Paul Wall & GLC)", "Roses", "We Major (ft. Nas & Really Doe)", and "Hey Mama".
Release date: August 30, 2005
Rating: 9.3 / 10
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