I’ve heard Kanye West and G.O.O.D. Music’s “Cruel Summer” be described as “underwhelming,” and I think that’s about fitting.
In what was supposed to be a chance to showcase the talent accumulated by West’s music label since its inception in 2004, “Cruel Summer” gave me a headache and left me wondering where the hell West was throughout the entire album.
Perhaps most of all, though, “Cruel Summer’s” lack of focus makes it hard to understand the point of the album.
While West, thankfully is the executive producer of the 12-track album, the rap superstar only offers his vocal talents to seven songs, including “Mercy,” “Cold,” “New God Flow” and “Clique.” – all of which are already singles from “Cruel Summer.”
And, not surprisingly, those four songs are the best tracks on the album (though “Mercy” has been murdered by the radio and I can’t stand listening to it without getting that feeling after you eat too much turkey on Thanksgiving).
The thing is, I’m not sure if “Cruel Summer” even benefited from the other eight tracks on the album.
Without its singles, the album is a giant mess of some great and some mediocre artists doing their own thing without any rhyme or reason.
Besides those four songs and maybe “I Don’t Like” – a pounding, bass-heavy, senseless banger – “Cruel Summer” is what I’d expect from a Young Money crew album, not a G.O.O.D. music production with West’s fingerprints all over it.
By modern standards, I guess “Cruel Summer” might be an above-average album, when you have the Nicki Minaj’s of the world running around making absurdly bad music.
But by West’s standards, this record is basically a failure, a work so uncharacteristically rushed and incoherent that it makes me wonder if this was something West gave up on long before its release Tuesday.
He should’ve cut his losses much earlier and kept the likes of G.O.O.D. staples Common, John Legend, Big Sean and Pusha T and the non-G.O.O.D. music-affiliated talent like Jay-Z.
Other artists like Cyhi Da Prynce and even Kid Cudi seem expendable, especially after the disaster that was Cudi and the album’s 10th track “Creepers,” which is a step into what-in-the-hell-is-this land.
Though there’s plenty to be said about Cudi’s fall from rap prominence, there’s just far too much going on in “Cruel Summer,” and it makes what was hyped to be the album of the summer arguably the year’s biggest disappointment.
Listening to “Cruel Summer” is almost a gut punch to loyal G.O.O.D. music supporters. West can do better and he likely knows that.
The real question is why didn’t he?