From what I have gathered, Kanye West and his G.O.O.D. Music crew will finally release their group debut, Cruel Summer, three days before summer officially comes to a close on Sept. 18. As we inch closer to that date (which will hopefully hold for the sake of the album name if nothing else) we can’t help but become caught up in the hype and hooplah surrounding the compilation. It almost seems like it would be difficult to NOT keep up with the random single and video drops, the increasing buzz, and the onslaught of interviews with everyone but Yeezy himself.
After reading and watching every interview, trying to dissect the cryptic descriptions of the music by guys like Pusha T and Common, and listening to the tracks that have dropped up to now, here’s the thing that remains on my mind: I still have no idea what Cruel Summer is going to sound like. “New God Flow” and “Mercy” sound nothing alike—and I know I’m not the only one who favors the former—and, honestly, it’s difficult to predict where Yeezy’s going to head sonically on this album.
His Watch The Throne project with Jay-Z was musically different than the much darker My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, though there were absolutely similarities. “Welcome to the Jungle”, for one, could have easily appeared on MBDTF. But other tracks, from “Otis” to “Who Gon Stop Me”, are proof of how difficult it is to predict or narrow down Yeezy’s next step.
This dilemma is also present in the context of the tracks released off Cruel Summer. “New God Flow” is much more boom-bap-indebted while “Mercy” is a minimalist, near-trap banger. Yet as different as they are, they both share forehead-slapping moments, be it the “Let’s go team!”-esque rally cry on “New God Flow” or the synth-diarrhea breakdown on “Mercy”. Both of those groan-inducing moments occur while West is at the helm, which may be good reason for us to look elsewhere—Pusha T, Q-Tip and Common’s contributions, for example—for this album’s highlights. I’ll admit Yeezy sounds inspired if not slightly delusional on “New God Flow”, but that call-and-response shit is garbage.
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