Kanye Wests solo efforts are renown for being intricate and full of depth, with the rapper usually hiding away for months at a time to perfect a single song. Unfortunately, his efforts to get his whole record label to feature in a cohesive album lead to the cliched “too many cooks in the kitchen” phrase being far too relevant.
Several of the records, such as synthy R&B track “Bliss” featuring John Legend and Teyana Taylor, although decent songs sound like filler material and out of place, especially as its followed by the menacing trap hit “Don’t Like”. “The Morning” which features a stellar line up of Raekwon, Common, Pusha T, 2 Chainz, D’Banj, Cyhi and KiD CuDi on paper sounds like it should be a smash. However it falls flat, especially as it only gives Common (a Hip-Hop legend) 8 bars, which is also his only performance on the whole album. Why have lesser rappers like 2 Chainz and Cyhi The Prynce been given more air time than somebody like Common? If there isn’t room on the album, then why are there so many guest features who aren’t members of G.O.O.D.? Why do some members (Mos Def, Q-Tip, Mr Hudson) not feature at all?
These questions suggest that the album was more rushed than Ye’s solo efforts would be, and that he aimed to try and quickly release the album while the buzz of the albums opening single “Mercy” was still around. Songs like “To The World”, the albums opener, could of easily been taken out and wouldn’t have been missed on the album. Sonically its reminiscent of Kanyes previous project Watch The Thrones “Lift Off”, with its radio friendly vocals and poppy backdrop. However G.O.O.D.s presence is minimal with only a short verse from ‘Ye, and the rest consisting of R. Kellys crooning. R Kelly is not on the label, so his presence is questionable, when members like Mr Hudson could have easily sung equally well.
However the album has standout moments, with the Hit-Boy produced “Clique” featuring Big Sean, Kanye and Jay-Z. From the producer of “N****s In Paris” comes a huge and menacing beat, featuring standout performances from all three emcees, so don’t be surprised to hear this in a club soon. “New God Flow” uses a sample of Ghostface Killah’s “Mighty Healthy”, and presents a cacophonous and classically hip-hop song, with grimy piano and hard hitting drums setting the score. Also, “Higher” features an excellent appearance by The -Dream who sings through autotune over another Hit-Boy produced beat, which is sexy and threatening simultaneously (and samples a baby crying, which is awesome). The solo Kanye Song “Cold” is also a worthy mention, with yet again another banging Hit-Boy beat creating a huge bouncy club song.
Overall, the album presents many great songs; however they simply don’t work as a cohesive album. If the guest features had been kept to a minimum, and Hit-Boy had handled the majority of the production, this could of been something truly special.