What do you do after youve reinvented a genre? Well, going on Graduation
, the third full-length artist album by hip-hops most famous Noughties auteur Kanye West, you hunt across the pop landscape for fresh sounds ripe for plunder. Most obviously, theres Daft Punk, whose track "Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger" forms the vocoder foundation to "Stronger". But Kanyes learnt more from the robots than this straight steal would suggest--indeed, a good proportion of Graduation
sounds informed by their vintage synthesisers and noveau 80s feel. Elsewhere, theres much to suggest Kanyes pop ambitions have no sign of waning: the opulent "Good Life" rolls along on a hook snatched from Michael Jacksons "PYT (Pretty Young Thing)", while "Homecoming" follows Jay-Zs lead and borrows the vocal talents of Coldplays Chris Martin. The albums not without the occasional goof--"Drunk and Hot Girls", a boozy tale set to the tempo of an Eastern European drinking song, is something Outkast could more comfortably handle. But thankfully, theres also numerous moments where Kanye simply does what Kanye does best. "Cant Tell Me Nothing" is a sleek, swaggering statement of self-assurance, while "Everything I Am" kicks off on a battle tack but gradually softens, the sound of a man balancing power and responsibility: "Last year Chicago had 600 caskets," muses Kanye, "Man, killings some wack shit". --Louis Pattison
Given the remarkable critical and commercial success of 2005's LATE REGISTRATION, Kanye West's rich, rewarding sophomore release, expectations were high for 2007's GRADUATION. Ever savvy, West flouts those expectations by delivering a record .that delivers curveballs while staying true to his sharply sculpted, commercially minded m.o. West's rapping, never his greatest strength, is still entertaining. He delivers witty, smart, sometimes absurd rhymes (he seems to take more lyrical chances on GRADUATION) that fit nicely with the overall feel of his tracks.