Graduation is the 3rd installment in the Kanye West series of ground breaking albums, targeting every school kid, from those that have dropped out (Debut Album, College Dropout), to those late registrants (sophmore album Late Registration), to those that have gone on and completed school (current album Graduation). Though technically this earmarks a junior year, West's approach to crafting this album was very much senior. Kanye teams up with veterans Daft Punk and Edwin Birdsong on Stronger- Graduation's forthcoming single; as well as enlisting a little help from current chart topper T-Pain on Good Life. Chris Martin of Coldplay appears on a track called HomeComing as well. Kanye has continued to prove his understanding and appreciation for a wide array of music and musical influences. What makes GRADUATION so special? Like most Kanye titles, his fearlessness and blindness to inhibiting boundaries, coupled with his fan driven core competence is evidence that he knows exactly what people yearn for...great music, perspective, and a voice to be heard.
Kanye West's third in a whimsical trilogy of "scholarly" albums, Graduation wears its predecessors' badges of success on its sleeve. Matriculation has its rewards, apparently, and it's time to take stock. Lyrically, there's plenty of self-congratulation to attend to, but the real fun comes in the collabs, and West chooses co-conspirators like a kid in a candy store--John Legend ("Good Life"), Coldplay's Chris Martin ("Homecoming"), Mos Def and the Section Quartet (both adorable choices for the foreboding "Drunk and Hot Girls")--and plucks samples with A-list braggadocio: Elton John, Steely Dan, Daft Punk, Can, Michael Jackson, Public Enemy. Nothing here quite captures the superlative symbiosis of West's past best beats (think "Gold Digger"), but the central motif remains: No one ever accused Kanye West of being too cool for school, and Graduation still knows how to party. True, Kanye West will happily whine about the pitfalls at the top of the heap, clear his throat and try to rhyme it with Barry Bonds, or diss fish in a barrel all day, but that can't stop a shameless good time, and Graduation maintains an unshakeable knack for producing it. --Jason Kirk