Late Registration

Studio Album by released in 2005
Late Registration's tracklist:
Wake Up Mr. West
Heard 'Em Say (feat. Adam Levine)
Touch the Sky (feat. Lupe Fiasco)
Gold Digger (feat. Jamie Foxx)
Skit #1
Drive Slow (feat. Paul Wall & GLC)
My Way Home (feat. Common)
Crack Music (feat. The Game)
Bring Me Down (feat. Brandy)
Skit #2
Diamonds From Sierra Leone (remix) (feat. Jay-Z)
We Major (feat. Nas & Really Doe)
Skit #3
Hey Mama
Skit #4
Gone (feat. Consequence & Cam'ron)
Diamonds From Sierra Leone

Late Registration review

The rise of Kanye West has been as impossible to ignore as it has been meteoric. Starting off as one of Roc-A-Fella's leading producers – dropping gems for Jay-Z and Beanie Sigel amongst many others – the release of West's solo debut album College Dropout catapulted the brash, confident producer/MC into the upper stratosphere of the rap world. College Dropout was a good, solid debut album the question is whether the now hugely popular Kanye West can build on these foundations with his latest effort Late Registration. Fresh on the heels of his substantial work on Common's Be, the answer is a resounding yes.

When the opener is Heard 'Em Say – with its twinkling pianos, Adam Leveine of Maroon 5's mournful crooning and muted vocals from West – you could be forgiven for thinking this is a pop rock album. Fortunately, this is not so. Instead, Kanye mixes and matches his traditional sound with a new, bolder direction. The result is an ambitious melting pot of musical styles; the aforementioned song contrasts sharply with Touch the Sky, a feel good bubbly anthem which is undoubtedly one of the album's best songs. The way Kanye expertly flips Curtis Mayfield's classic Move On Up provides an uplifting, horn-rampant backdrop, over which Kanye and no-name guest Lupe Fiasco pay tribute by spitting optimism rampant sunny day ditties. Celebration and Late are songs that sound as if they've jumped straight off a sped up soul sample textbook; but he's at the experimentation thing again with the beautifully created, wonderfully melodic Roses.

This album's guest list is intriguing, not least because it features French film director Michel Gondry drumming and, on Gold Digger, the odd sound of actor Jamie Foxx doing his Oscar-winning impersonation of Ray Charles next to samples of the singer himself. There is also a co-executive producer's credit for Jon Brion, a producer and musician whose previous clients have included Badly Drawn Boy, Fiona Apple, Rufus Wainwright. Brion brings out West's unerring pop sensibility to startling effect. Virtually every track features an irresistible hook, from Gone's Otis Redding sample to the exuberant Simon and Garfunkel-ish harmonies of Hey Mama. More intriguing still are the cameos from other rappers. Jay-Z appears alongside mortal enemy Nas; witty, intelligent Common next to The Game, whose big claim to fame is that he's marginally less dim than 50 Cent. It's hard to think of anyone else who could bring such diametrically opposed voices together.

Late Registration, the sophomore release by young, hip-hop luminary Kanye West, contains even more of the stellar production, witty raps, and sample-centric pleasures fans heard on his 2004 breakthrough College Dropout. He has always been a dynamic and warm producer with a rich and wide sonic palette; ambitious Late Registration embraces and ambitiously explores this consistently better than anything he has done before. It is not 2005's best rap album, yet this is still hugely superior rap music well worth listening to.

Rate review2.93
Total votes - 11479

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