Kanye West, 2 Chainz, Big Sean & Marsha Ambrosius // The One
I couldn’t post all these “Cruel Summer” tracks without something from Kanye. Sure, we already had the best Yeezy features from the LP (“Mercy”, “Clique”, “New God Flow”), but I couldn’t completely ignore him in these posts.
"The One" represents what’s good and bad about "Cruel Summer". On one hand it’s got a big chorus from Marsha Ambrosius and a nice verse from Kanye, but on the other hand the production on the drums is a bit light and it sounds like a lessor version of what we’ve heard before.
In between a little overproduction, a bit more underproduction and four too many Big Sean features there’s some great tracks on “Cold Summer”. It’s nothing compared to a Kanye album, but it showcases the talents within G.O.O.D Music nicely and keeps us entertained until Kanye gives us the goods once again.
John Legend & Teyana Taylor // Bliss
John Legend and Teyana Taylor are doing their thing on “Cruel Summer”. Following on from their contributions to the impressive “Sin City”, the two collaborate on the 11th track on the album, “Bliss”.
The track title seems appropriate to be honest. Starting with a dramatic string opening, the track bursts into an 80s hair guitar riff, before some bouncy synths are thrown into the mix to soften things up a little. It’s all very smooth and metallic.
John & Teyana serenade eachother in the duet, which is a sweet love ballad that sounds a little odd compared to most of the “Cruel Summer” LP lyrically. Thankfully the production ties things up a little better, with this song making me excited for John’s upcoming record “Love In The Future”.
Kid Cudi // Creepers
I’m loving this cut off “Cruel Summer”. Produced by Dan Black, who Cudi collaborated with on “Symphonies”, “Creepers” sees him go hard over a neo-soul influenced production with a ridiculous clapping beat.
It’s a bit repetitive at points, but that’s what gets it stuck in your head so much. “Creepers” definitely justifies why Kid Cudi got a solo spot on the collaborative LP.
John Legend, Teyana Taylor, CyHi Da Prynce, Malik Yusef & Travis Scott // Sin City
Kanye West’s G.O.O.D. Music compilation “Cruel Summer” has finally leaked, and man are there some good songs on it.
"Sin City" is an immediate stand out. With pulsating synths over a heavy beat, I love how the track has a distinct 80s sound about it. The smoothness of John Legend and Teyana Taylor’s vocals contrasts against the darkness of "Sin City", which perfectly matches CyHi Da Prynce’s stellar verse.
The track has clear production similarities to much of the “Watch The Throne” material. It’s very grand with that long spoken word intro and break in between verses. I’m still convinced that Yeezy is saving the best for his sixth studio album, but this is high quality no doubt.
Big Sean, Jay-Z & Kanye West // Clique
"Clique" is the new single off the upcoming GOOD Music "Cruel Summer" album, featuring Big Sean, Jay-Z and Kanye West.
Produced by man of the moment, Hit-Boy, the track sees the rappers spit verses over pulsating synths and screwed vocal loops. On first listen I might have been expecting a little more, but “Clique” has a dark sound about it that I really like. I can imagine a cool video featuring expensive 90s cars being driven about in the dark. Something like The Game’s “How We Do” but better.
Jigga’s verse is my favourite of the three, with Big Sean looking a little weak when up against two icons. I’m excited loads more good music when “Cruel Summer” drops on September 18. Mark your calenders.
Kanye West x Jay-Z // No Church In the Wild [Music Video]
Kanye and Jay-Z have decided to use an ‘x’ instead of an ‘&’ in the opening credits of their new music video. That’s how all the major cool indie blogs do it, so why not, right? And with Frank Ocean onboard, it seems that “No Church In the Wild” has ticked all the boxes to be featured on [insert pseudo-influential music site here].
But that’s not the main reason everyone has presumably been raving about this song, because it genuinely is a bit of a masterpiece. After “Ni**as In Paris” got released (I’m so politically correct with those stars), “No Church In the Wild” was definitely the standout of all the tracks on “Watch the Throne” to get the video treatment. So naturally, Kanye & Jigga couldn’t be bothered to get off their lazy asses and film the video. At a length of 5:04, they don’t even appear in it once. I mean, really guys? C’mon.
Despite a lack of celebrity presence, the video is a riot. Oh, you thought I was using a metaphor there? No, it literally is one big riot - in Prague of course. There are lasers, Rage Against the Machine inspired flames, riot shields, and of course an elephant. It’s very violent and bound to get Vigilant Citizen wagging his tongue about how Jay-Z is the antichirst or something like that. But most of all it’s beautiful - I can’t begin to describe how well this music video has been shot.
Despite not turning up to their own music video shot, Yeezy & Hov have managed to put out a pretty good video with “No Church In the Wild”. Oh who am I kidding, it was amazing and they were right to not risk ruining their sneaks.
GOOD Music // Mercy; (Kanye West, Pusha T, Big Sean, 2 Chainz)
I love getting new Kanye, so I was pretty amped when I got home from the Belfast meetup yesterday to find the lead single from Kanye’s GOOD Friday label album had been released.
Kicking off with a dancehall sample courtesy of the late Fuzzy Jones, “Mercy” is a slightly off kilter Hip-Hop banger of the high quality we havecome toalways expected from Yeezy. The beat is hot, reminding me of slightly more unearthly version of “N***as I Paris”. I’m already imaging a dark video with 90s cars driving through tunnels and people hanging about the LA docks at night - basically the video I imagined for “N***gas In Paris”, but without the whole Paris element. Not that it’ll happen, but it’s nice to get those images in my head nonetheless.
2 Chainz & Big Sean go hard with their verses, with Pusha T going that little bit further with his rhymes. But it’s Kanye’s verse that really caught my attention on this track. Along with the references to Lamborghini’s throughout the song (they need to be in the video too), Kanye cleverly mentions everyone’s favourite big girl Precious and his recent hit with Jay-Z - all this is given through a surprisingly quick delivery making it the highlight of the five and a half minute song. While 5 minutes may seem quite long, there’s so many elements to this track, so I doubt you’ll be bored while listening anytime soon.
Flashback: Twista & Kanye West // Slow Jamz [Feat. Jamie Foxx]
This collaboration from Twista and Kanye is a perfect example of why early 2000s Hip-Hop and R&B is so good. It also serves as one of my earliest memories of Kanye, who has gone on the become a musical legend in my eyes.
"Slow Jamz" pays tribute to classic soul artists, name-checking well over a dozen influential musicians throughout the track’s five minutes in length. With a classic Kanye production featuring sped up vocals from Luther Vandross’s version of "A House Is Not A Home", the song has a rich, laidback R&B vibe about it, which still sounds fresh to this day despite having such a 2003 sound.
Jamie Foxx’s vocals are smooth, while Kanye’s verses are great as usual on “Slow Jamz” (especially the part about the two Michael Jacksons). But the best part of the track is the hilarious skit, when Kanye’s girl wants him to go faster, serving as a lead in to Twista’s verse. Twista sure gives it to us fast, proving that he has one of the best deliveries in the game with ease. This version of the song which featured on Kanye’s classic “The College Dropout” is no doubt a Hip-Hop classic, and a song which brings back many fond memories.
Jay-Z & Kanye West // Ni**as In Paris [Music Video]
After being a massive hit in the US, Jay-Z and Kanye West have finally released their video for ‘Ni**as In Paris’, just in time for the song’s UK release.
I’m not gonna lie - I was hoping for a high budget video shot in Paris, with lots of girls and cars driving through tunnels in the backstreets of the city. didn’t get my gritty Parisian dream; in fact we didn’t even get a proper music video at all - they gave us live video. Yes, a flipping live video.
But don’t fret, cause as far as live videos go this one is pretty darn amazing. There’s a split mirrored effect for most of the video, which creates these crazy, psychedelic kaleidoscope-like images both on stage and in the crowd. There’s lots of flashing lights, super fast editing and even some lions and falling buildings towards the end of the video. Standard. It all looks really cool, complementing what is one of the best tracks on the album.
Kanye & Jigga may not have had the time to go out and film the music video we all wanted, but they managed to be creative and us something that we just didn’t know that we all wanted. Job well done.