- A showcase piece.
- An album for sybarites with more options than they know what to do with in one lifetime.
Approximate number of beats likely to smack the paint off your Maybach (you do own a Maybach, right?):
- "To the World" ("R. Kelly and the God of rap, shi--in’ on you/Holy crap")
- "Clique" ("I been talking to God for so long/If you look at my life, I guess he's talking back, f-cking with my clique")
- "New God Flow" ("Went from the most hated to the champion God flow")
- "The Morning" ("'G.O.O.D.' would've been 'God' except I added more 'Os'")
- "The One" ("I'm the one, baby, since God gave his only begotten son, baby")
- "Don't Like" ("The media crucifies me like they did Christ")
Where Cruel Summer flounders:
Let’s start with the guests. Big Sean gets squeezed to the back of the Lambo by Pusha T and 2 Chainz. CyHi the Prynce barely gets a word in. Kid Cudi is still battling his demons. John Legend warbles too much to demand more than our brief attention.
The beats don’t amaze, either. The everything-clashing-model of production is another Yeezyism that rears its ugly head throughout this album. Nearly every song has 700 producers and suffers from a case of too many cooks in the kitchen. The best piece comes from Hit-Boy on "Clique," but he shares production credit with West, Anthony Kilhoffer, and Noah "40" Shebib. (That should help 'Ye narrow down his guest list for the next beat making party.)
Generally, West continues to fondle those grand sonics he flirted with on My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy and, later, on Watch the Throne. But don't confuse this with those albums or whatever's on your FM dial. Although the sweeping strings, eccentric ad libs, genre-bending samples, and six-minute songs may add up to pop, what they don't add up to is anything mere mortals can pigeonhole as pop. This is god art.
To be fair, West's god complex is nothing new. He's been diagnosed with it for most of his career. Here, he completes the leap from small letter "g" god of the rap to capital letter "G" God of the universe. Gone is Hypervulnerable Kanye. There are hints of self-interrogation (particularly on "Clique"), but he's no longer the confessor who struggled with the dichotomies of fame on Late Registration (my favorite 'Ye album).The bottom line on Cruel Summer:
This album binds up a feeling of grandness, wraps it in a pink macaroon and neatly stacks it in a gold-embossed chest topped with a purple grosgrain ribbon.Where to listen to Cruel Summer:
- In your Lamborghini Murcielago (Swerve)
- On your private jet
- On top of the Eiffel tower
- At your fashion show, soundtracking your new clothing line
- In your remote-control whirlpool bath hewn from precious metals—comprising of white gold, yellow gold and, of course, pink gold.