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Graduation is Not That Bad…

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So uh, first thing’s first. This entry doesn’t negate this entry. Driving home from work, listening to ‘Everything I Am’ it sort of hit me hard, like I started crying. The song’s tugs the heart-strings so it’s a little embarrassing because I was sort of “had” by Kanye, but it’s still pretty affecting. I’m sure it was the combination of my friend John, text messaging me and wanting to take all of my friends out to dinner on him because he’s got a real job and is getting paid. See, that’s really nice and comforting, especially when one of the people in said group of friends blew his head off because see, even if you’re really fucking close, it kinda pulls you apart or at least changes shit. Just little nice things like that mean even more because as those guys who made the year’s actual best album once said, “One day you’re here and then you’re gone”…So, that linked with the you know, the cloying but still emotional beat on ‘Everything I Am’ kinda messed me up. Premier’s scratching is purposefully amateurish, stumbling, moving forward and then back but not like artfully but sloppily- which fits Kanye’s mind bouncing around from bragging to poignant observations and everywhere in between. That’s also what life is, no? You sloppily move forward and then fall back and then forward again…

Sampling Jay-Z’s voice on ‘Good Morning’, the line “hustlers, that’s if you’re still livin” is appropriate because this album represents a transition away from this idiotic, watered-down, cool to a fifth grader version of street rap. If those hustlers are still living by the time this album ends. If those hustlers will know what to do when they hear ‘Graduation’, an album that really isn’t street on any level but isn’t pussified either. If those hustlers are still livin’ and didn’t turn to stone listening to an album by Kanghey…on ‘Everything I Am’ there’s that line: “Just last year,Chicago had over 600 caskets/Man, killin’s some wack shit/Oh I forgot, except when niggas is rapping” which is harsher than anything Lupe or Talib or Common will rap. See, there’s no condescension there, he doesn’t get to feel better than those guys rapping about murder because he sounds so fucking sad about it. He’s basically implicating the “it’s only entertainment” argument, not on some ideal, moral level but just sheer facts: 600 dead.

The album tries to break down the fake and not only bitch about it but offer some kind of answer. On ‘Good Life’ he exclaims “We like the girls who ain’t on TV/Because they got more ass than the models” and that’s as brave to say as it is true. The album is about replacing the fake with the real but Kanye’s real is rightfully conflicted and still features drunk, hot girls and parties and shit. The real isn’t some kind of Utopian, political correct world of wonderfullness…

‘Graduation’ is not the future of rap as many have eloquently claimed but it’s the first step towards that future. It’s a scary future too because apparently, it means sampling Krautrock instead of the Dramatics and rapping really slow so uh, drunk, hot girls can enjoy the music too. I’m scared and a little annoyed with it but I’m willing to go along. I just wish Kanye had made the album he wanted to make and not the album he felt was supposed to make.

Written by Brandon

August 31st, 2007 at 6:01 pm

Posted in Kanye West

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