Advertise - Print Edition

Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Kanye’s the King

Published: September 21, 2007
Section: Arts, Etc.

The results are in and boy was I wrong! According to USA Today, Graduation, the newest album from Chicago native and soulful hip hop artist, Kanye West has sold 957,000 copies in its first week. This is considerably more than the 631,000 copies of Curtis that industry rival 50 Cent sold.

Score one for real Hip-hop.

As happy as I am for Kanye, what happened to Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson? 50 Cent, who is accustomed to going platinum in his first week (that's 1 million albums sold) hasn't even gotten near his mark.

The overconfidence which has drawn fans to love him and non-enthusiasts to disdain him has finally backfired on the self-proclaimed “King of New York.” His marketing campaign against Kanye, although a bold move befitting of Mr. Curtis Jackson, did not play out in his best interest.

Like myself, many people didn't believe that Kanye had a chance in hell of winning. Somehow it seems that a “root for the underdog” type of mentality has endowed Kanye West with the selling momentum necessary to almost go platinum his first week, missing his mark by only 43,000 sales.

On September 11, 50 and Kanye both came on the popular BET show, 106 and Park, to perform, introduce their new music videos and, build up hype in general. The favor of the masses was obviously on Kanye's side from the beginning of the show. The audience screamed his name with n-n-n-n-n-no G-Unit calls to be heard.

On his new album, Kanye sings, “Did you realize/ That you are a champion/…In their eyes?” This soul sample from the song, “Champion” says it all. Kanye is definitely a talented artist. In listening to Graduation, we realize that we've known it. Kanye knows that we've known it. And, just in case we forgot, he's glad to remind us.
There are about as many different musical influences on this album as there are colors on the album cover including scratches done by the legendary DJ Premier, some weird collaboration with the one and only Lil' Wayne, and sampling of everything from techno (“Stronger”) to Australian pop (vocals on several tracks are from Australian pop vocalist Connie Mitchell).

The album reaches its lyrical climax with the already popular “Can't Tell Me Nothing.” Therein we see some of Mr. West's most thought provoking rhyme and wordplay.

In terms of production, I'd say the album was an all around accomplishment in that Kanye cut away the extra and brought out the essence. The beats this time around are way simpler , in my opinion , way more soulful with a focus on how the listener feels in interacting with the song as opposed to just how it sounds.

For example, at the beginning of my personal favorite, “I Wonder,” the listener feels like they're listening to a jazz concert as opposed to a rap album, and when Kanye jumps in accompanied by catchy percussion, the urge to dance is sure to hit you.

All in all, the new album is not just a collection of music, but an experience- a story. It's a story of Kanye's trials and tribulations, rivalries with his “Big Brother” Jay-Z, and successes in life. Also, and I can't forget this part, the part Mr. West is sure to remind us of: “how fly [his] style is [and that] he don't see why [he needs] a stylist.” That's always nice.