This album is (was) one of the most anticipated albums of the year thus far. When Kanye made the announcement last year that this album was going to come out in the Spring, of course everyone was going to lose their collective minds. We waited, we got singles, but no album. The wait got so long that many people gave up on waiting for it and simply moved on, which is fair, because when you have singles floating around with videos as well but no album out, yes it keeps the anticipation high, but…can we have an album, sir? That’s all I ask. Feed the people with some good music (shut up, it was clever). When it finally became closer to the day and a leak sprung, I took a listen (much like a lot of people as well) and initially, I was just like “*blank stare…..really? That’s it?” And to be fair, here’s why: the amount of hype and anticipation, you’d think that this group album would be on the same level as Ruff Ryders Volume 1 or The Dynasty (just some examples), but nope. Didn’t get all of that, but what we got was an album that was most certainly overdue and should have been released in the ‘summer’, when it was necessary. Let’s recap:
An R.Kelly appearance? That was surprising and to be honest, I wasn’t a huge fan of the hook, but I know for a fact that if I heard it in the club, I’d be more hype for it. Production wise, To The World sounded like All of the Lights in a way. You can tell that some elements that were used on MBDTF were going to be present on this album. The song was a good tone setter for the album.
As we all know, Hit-Boy was introduced to the world (on a larger scale) when he was behind the fiery production that was ‘Niggas in Paris’, and since then, he hasn’t strayed far from his element. Well he was back at it again with Clique, which as bad as it sounds, would be deemed the next annoying anthem that will be all over the place. After hearing the single the first time, nothing amazed me with the beat and neither did the hook. After a couple of listens, the beat grew on me, and it’s a toe-tapping, head-bopping type of beat. I still feel the same way about the hook. It’s pretty basic, and there always seems to be a need for dumbed down repetition, but then again, this was supposed to be an album for the summer, and here we are a few days from fall (depending on when you read this), and it’s just meh. The main “controversy” around this song was when the snippet released and it was Kanye’s line “My girl’s a superstar all from a home movie” that caused the big ruckus. Sorry, but what is all the ruckus for? It’s Kanye West. Are we not forgetting that this is the same guy that said ‘George Bush doesn’t care about Black people’ on national TV next to a bewildered Mike Myers (still a classic reaction by the way)? This is what he does. I’m not going to lie, it was a funny line, I laughed and moved on. I hardly think that Kim cares that she was used as a punchline…her entire life for the past how many years have been a punchline, so we’ll just leave it at that. The highlight of this track was Jay-Z’s verse. Dropping names in his circle and showing off his old style with his diverse flow. So far only on the 2nd song, I haven’t been amazed as of yet.
This summer was dominated by a lot of G.O.O.D Music & MMG in the clubs. Mix it in with some French Montana and Chief Keef, and you’re on your way. One of the biggest songs of the year, not just the Summer was Mercy. If you’re listening to this album, I know you’ve probably already skipped this song because you’ve heard it a hundred thousand times over the duration of 5 months. The reggae sample, Big Sean’s ‘Assified’ verse (followed by the ‘Swerve’ ad-libs) & 2 Chainz’ verse are the main things that caught our attention in this song in the first place (no disrespect to Kanye & Pusha-T), but I think I’m done here with this song. I could go the rest of the year without voluntarily playing this song in my iTunes. I won’t lie, seeing this song performed live at Made In America was one of the best experiences ever, but its time has come for it to go to sleep.
New God Flow is one of my favourite songs on the album, and one of my favourite songs that has come from out of the G.O.O.D Music camp. Initially, this was apparently labelled as a diss track towards Young Money because of the subliminal lines:
Step on they necks ’til they can’t breathe
Claim they five stars but sell you dreams
They say death multiplies by threes
Line them all up and let’s just see
But Pusha-T quickly dismissed those rumours because no names were called out (Pusha…we’re not stupid you know). What I appreciated about this song was that there was a wicked beat (sampled from Ghostface Killah’s ‘Mighty Healthy’), and the lyrical content was pretty wicked too. It’s funny because when this song was first released as a single after Kanye West performed his verse at the most recent BET Awards, Jonathan Lowell (producer/rapper from TUS) called this and said that Kanye needed to get Ghostface on the remix. Well, wouldn’t you know that only a few days ago, my boy Khalil told me that there was a new version. I didn’t hear it, so I thought he was playing, but there is a new version WITH a Ghostface feature, so shout out to him for telling me about that. I still enjoy the song, and at this point this is when I feel that the album will finally start to get better.
Finally, time for a new song I haven’t heard yet. I saw the line-up of The Morning, and the first name that jumped out was Raekwon. People seem to forget that he had a great verse on ‘Gorgeous’ from MBDTF. He’s still a dope rapper when he has to be, so all praises due to The Chef. However, before all of that, we’re once again blessed with a reggae sample (or…are we?). Kanye definitely loves his reggae (we all remember Jay-Z’s ‘Lucifer’) since he used one in Mercy, so large up to mistah Kanye fi di BIG CHUNE (Translation: Much respect to Kanye West for this great song)! One thing I didn’t know was that the guy singing in the hook (after the sample, but it’s hard to tell) is named D’banj. I had no idea that he was signed with G.O.O.D Music, but it’s cool that Kanye has more diversity with his label by reaching out to other countries to find talent. No one really had a bad verse on this track: Raekwon had the best to me, 2 Chainz’ was too short, but it was good. Common’s verse wasn’t anything spectacular to me because his flow was so staggered, but that is his style. I just don’t think it fit on this track. CyHi the Prince came out of the ashes of the abyss to drop a verse when most thought that he would be dropped from the label, but who knows. You ever notice how a song (in cinematic fashion) breaks down before a Kanye West verse or even during it? I thought I was the only one, but the breakdown was dope. Kanye loves his 808s as we all know. His verse wasn’t anything special (his songs lately haven’t been anything lyrically amazing, he just makes club hits these days) and he even used the same lines from New God Flow
The clothes,cars, money, girls and the clothes
Aw money, you sold your soul
Nah man, mad people was frontin’
God damn, we made something from nothing
I guess I can’t escape this
Theraflu Cold song anymore. Heard it as a single, heard it on DJ Khaled’s ‘Kiss The Ring’ album, and now I’m hearing it on this album. I only ask one question…FOR WHAT?! He couldn’t replace this song from a new song? We know the words, we know the shots that were taken, we know the names that were dropped, we know that he had to change the name because Theraflu said “NO SIR!” Didn’t he write a song about Kim Kardashian or something like that? Why not put it here? I really didn’t think that this would make the album, because I thought it was strictly for Khaled’s….NOPE! Fooled as usual. It’s sad. Skip it if you haven’t already, unless you still enjoy it, then by all means, enjoy it.
The hate that I have for autotune can only be described by the words of Jay-Z from ‘D.O.A – Death of Autotune’
You niggas singing too much
Get back to rap, you T-Paining too much
AND IT’S TRUE! Lord, the way I have spite towards T-Pain & Kanye West for making autotune popular and thinking that just anyone can pick it up and feel like they can do it some justice (Looking towards Travis Porter, Chris Brown & Future for examples) is just WRONG! The Dream didn’t make my argument any more clear than what he did on Higher. The Dream can actually sing without with the aide of Autotune, so I have no idea why he decided to use it here. The only thing I liked about this song was the beat (much like the entire album), and maybe people who are frequent smokers have a greater appreciation of this song than I do, but still there wasn’t anything special about this. Ma$e came out of NOWHERE and just when I thought he was going to drop a great verse…NOPE! Fooled. He had a crazy verse on the ‘Slightwork Remix’ and pretty much he hasn’t been able to mimic that flare since. Maybe ‘Murda Ma$e’ will resurrect himself soon enough (oh, that was witty) The breakdown at the end was wicked too. I was only here for the instrumental and nothing more. On to the next one, shall we?
Here’s another one of my favourite songs on this album, and it’s really because of the hook & beat mainly. Many people are still trying to discover the relevance and importance of Teyana Taylor’s role in G.O.O.D Music, but she can sing. She may not be amazing, but she can still sing. I have no idea who Travis Scott is, but I’ll probably check him out after this. Nothing impressed me here, but maybe his individual stuff is good. CyHi was weak on this song. Aside from the beat & hook as I’ve stated before, there wasn’t anything great about Sin City.
- The common theme of this album revolved around God & Religion, and constant direct and indirect references to the Illuminati. Of course it’s always been a common topic because when you get successful with a lot of money and whatnot, you’re labelled as selling your soul to get fame, and if you’re a YouTube conspiracy theorist, this album is probably the most devilish thing you’ve ever heard, but spare me with the theories and just listen to the music. That’s as political I get on this.
Say word Marsha Ambrosious has some gangster in her? Talking about she’s a “motherfucking soldier” and she’s “got a pistol on her hip”, but wait…you’re the same one who used to be one half of Floetry, right? Well damn, go’head then Marsha (in my struggling American accent). To sum up this song, I’ll take a quote from this Danny Brown video that he did with ‘Yours Truly’
“You can tell when people are making shit for you to like” – Danny Brown
Why I say that is because The One is trying to be soulful and it totally missed. It’s well below average. I don’t even think I can use the word average in this song, because it had promise and then it just dropped before it was able to rise. Big Sean did really well with ‘Detroit’, but had a forgettable verse on this one. 2 Chainz is who he is, and we don’t expect him to be lyrically great because he’s mainly used for hype. He didn’t fit here. At all. This track is a throwaway. Many people said that this should have been a mixtape, and people said that this was a mixtape that he just wanted to get paid for. Either way you look at it, it didn’t really feel like an album, but moving on.
I wouldn’t say that I’m the biggest Kid CuDi fan, but I did enjoy Man on the Moon 1 & 2, but then he released ‘WZRD’, which I totally hated, and here he is with Creepers. Didn’t like…at all. This guy sounded completely inaudible and incoherent for the majority of the song and it made no sense to me. You have to be a big fan to really see no wrongs in this song, but I assure you there aren’t a lot of rights. Half the song is lyrical mumbling, the rest are moans & groans to an instrumental. Either way, there’s no positive here.
Remember when I said that Teyana Taylor could sing? Well, I still mean it, and she didn’t disappoint because her collaboration with John Legend for Bliss was exactly what the title says it is – Audible ‘bliss’. The beat, the verses by John & Teyana respectively were refreshing and it’s in my top 5 of favourite songs on this surprisingly short album. I feel like this song should have been at least 5 minutes. I hate when I enjoy songs but they just…end. It sucks.
Okay, so this brings us to the last song on the album. I know, only 12 songs. I feel robbed, and I didn’t even buy this album, and I probably won’t. If you read my Made In America Day 1 recap or you watched it online, you’d know that G.O.O.D Music came on stage after Jay-Z and started off with this song that was pretty much the first of what seemed to be 1000 remixes of Chief Keef’s ‘Don’t Like’ which pretty much blew him on the scene (of course after much controversy with tweets saying that he did it alone, but I’ll leave that alone). Pusha-T’s verse is still probably one of the hardest this year and instantly when you hear it, you get the urge to throw something. The beat is what really drives the song, because if you take out Pusha-T & Kanye, this song is absolute garbage. Why Jadakiss was even on this track, no idea, but he didn’t do it any justice.
One word for this album: Disappointing
If this album had come out in the summer or even early spring when it was supposed to, I would have probably enjoyed it more. Releasing 4 singles before the album comes out and giving so much hype for it and then all of a sudden this is released? No sir, this should have been 18 songs Max, and at least have better material. Also, there were so many questions that needed to be asked. One of them being: Where were Mos Def (or Yasiin Bey) or Q-Tip on this album? Are they not apart of G.O.O.D Music? We need answers, because there’s really no reason why this album should have sounded as satisfactory as it did. When you have other groups with collective albums like MMG’s Self Made 2 & Odd Future’s OF Tape Volume 2, they actually weren’t bad. But this? Okay, let’s face it, G.O.O.D Music will always be on the charts because their production is better, they have a better line-up. Some will argue YMCMB, but they didn’t drop a group album, so their exempted from this statement and quite frankly, it’s just not true anyways. This was meant to be a summer album, because a majority of the album you can play in the club or already HAS BEEN played…in the club. I expected more, and I didn’t feel like lowering my expectations to enjoy this album. Could have been put together much better, and although the production was great, I still felt like they left a lot off the album that could have been wicked. Honestly, if Kanye just assembled all of the songs he released from his ‘G.O.O.D Friday’ series minus the songs that were on MBDTF, THAT would have been a better album than this. I’m just being real. This won’t get a lot of spins on my end, considering the fact that only 60% of the songs are new content.
Despite the previous rant, I’m still giving this album a 7/10. I’ve heard as low as 1.5/5, but that’s just speaking crazy because it’s really not that terrible, but it’s not memorable either. That’s just me, and this is just my opinion, but for now
That’s My Word & It STiXX
3 thoughts on “G.O.O.D Music – Cruel Summer – The STiXXclusive Review”
Greatly enjoyed your review. One of the most impartial that I’ve read and pretty fair. I’m a new reader and will be checking out many of your past and future reviews. Best to you.
I appreciate you reading it and thank you. I take the time out to really not be heavily one sided with my reviews. Do enjoy. Thank you once again.
i agree with pretty much 90 % of your review. though i think ‘Clique’ is a great song, its kinda addicting IMO, but yeah album could’ve/ should’ve been way better. “The one” got totally ruined by Big seans & 2 Chainz lame a** versus. they killed all potential for that song to be a hit. Why did they put “Dont like remix’ and ‘Too Cold’ on here? that was their biggest misstep. if they would’ve replace those two songs alone with two (EPIC) songs we havent heard yet this album would been ALMOST classic.