Just a writeup on Cruel Summer to tide you guys over until the official review drops. Solely opinion, not stare decisis.
My thoughts in a nutshell: It’s a’ight. There’s no need to wrap my argument in loquacious tendrils of bullshit or well-crafted paragraphs of autobiographical stuffing dripping with acerbic contempt.
Cruel Summer, despite titled in similar manner to a controversial Spike Lee joint, is simply an overbloated business card for GOOD Music, one that at least passes for sounding cool even if it doesn’t stay completely interesting throughout.
In fact, the only reason why I found it so interesting was the chance to witness Yeezy in an executive producer of sorts, moving the chess pieces which make up the GOOD roster (himself, Lightweight Sean, Pusha T, CyHi da Prynce, KiD CuDi, Common(?), Teyana Taylor, 2 Chainz(?!?)) on this huge playing field called an album. However, I suppose it sucks realizing that the best songs on here featured either Def Jam veterans (“Clique,” “New God Flow,” “Cold,” “Higher”) or, better yet, included Kanye in a major role.
Of course I am biased since he’s my favorite artist, but come on! His verse on “Clique” alone solidified his spot as the extremely perceptive yet functionally destructive rapper, speaking on how he understands the importance of saving money, but that having nothing to show for it, in his eyes, depletes the purpose.
Also, Pusha T also performed quite well on “New God Flow,” setting a high bar for his prideful and nonsensical cocaine-centered narratives, KiD CuDi brings the usual yet compelling sprechgesang (that means sing-talking in German, I think) and Ghostface Killah and Raekwon the Chef totally stole the show on their respective tracks. That said, I felt that Hit-Boy consistently proved himself as a competent and ambitious producer, even though his own project, HIT-Story,left me nonplussed. He not only displays a neat homage to Yeezy’s style, but works in a darker, more direct tone which hopefully gives GOOD Music some solid beats for years to come.
As for the rest of the album? I could either take it or leave it. Preferably leave it. The main problem concerning songs like “Higher” or “The Morning” is that the huge gaps of cognitive dissonance disrupt the atmosphere of such tracks; had these songs been actual cyphers, then it would not matter. The album does not offer much for me to truly gripe over seeing as it truly exists to wake up the unaware. I am well, well aware, but at least going through Cruel Summer was never painful.
Oh wait. Ma$e’s verse on “Higher” was so atrocious. GAWD.