Why Were Q-Tip and Yasiin Bey (Mos Def) Left Off ‘Cruel Summer’?

If you’re anything like me, you were extremely disappointed to see (and hear) that both Q-Tip and Yasiin Bey (formerly Mos Def) were nowhere to be found on G.O.O.D. Music’s Cruel Summer album. This realization was especially frustrating for two big reasons, though I was also admittedly just straight-up let down by the project in general.

First of all, the team at my other gig, Complex Magazine, interviewed Tip and other members of the G.O.O.D. Music team. After reading the feature, it seemed like the Queens-repping living legend was destined to appear on the album. Why? Because he said so in his first fucking response!

Complex: What have you done for Cruel Summer?

Q-Tip: I’ve done beats. I’ve done rhymes. We’ll see. I didn’t mix. I’m just contributing.

OK, so he didn’t just rap on the album but he produced stuff, too. Well, where is all that? Seriously. WHERE?

My second point of anger derives from the fact that Malik Yusef, who does a spoken-word piece on the bench player-filled “Sin City”, hinted that Cruel Summer was delayed because they were taking the time to get Bey (and others like, hmm, Mr. Hudson and Q-Tip?) on the album.

Obviously it’s not a clear statement that Bey would be featured on the project, but you tell me what else “MOSt DEFinitely” would be referring to. I’m waiting…

Fast forward to today, when I happened upon a pair of interesting news items regarding Bey and Tip not appearing on Cruel Summer. The first item arrived by way of an interview with Pusha T, Big Sean, Common, Teyana Taylor, and CyHi the Prynce on Power 105.1’s endearing The Breakfast Club. At one point in the interview, the question comes up of why Tip didn’t land on the album and, sure enough, it’s handled well by the team. They explain that there was a ton of music recorded—so much that the G.O.O.D. Friday series could have gone on for ages—and that several of them, including Com and CyHi, are actually taking their unheard verses back for their own releases.

Interesting. So you’re telling me that Common actually appeared on more than just “The Morning”, which was a bit of a dud if you ask me, but we’re only going to hear those rhymes on a future project? Fine. You know what? That’s actually more than fine given the fact, again, that Cruel Summer as a whole felt under-cooked. The album also sounds forced at times, which is why tracks like “The Morning”, “Sin City”, and others just don’t really work.

So what are we supposed to make of all this? Is it just an example of Kanye West not finding his footing for one of the first times in his career? Or is he just becoming the egomaniac we all knew he was and embracing it while helping Kim Kardashian smooth out her cellulite? Who knows, but the second bit of information I received (via reader Zac Cohen) leans toward the latter.

While it’s impossible to tell if the following note is true or not, a user on Reddit claims to have worked on Cruel Summer as a sound engineer and revealed why Tip and Bey weren’t on there. According to Mr. G_O_O_D, it goes like this:

I worked as a sound engineer back in Janurary. The reason the album was pushed back so far was due to disagreements behind the scenes. Q-Tip is known for being hard-headed, just look at the break up of him and Phife (that Rappaport flick highlights this). “Creative differences” between him and others is why he is no where to be found. Common and Mos didnt want to be associated with the direction the compilation was taking so they distanced themselves (Mos entirely, Common only having the few bars – but he was already locked in, doing appearances, shows, etc..)

Honestly, Im not surprised this album was pushed back as much as it was. To those wondering why the singles were leaked way before the album dropped, that was NOT the original plan. The album should have dropped sooner, but because of the fighting above, it kept getting pushed back as songs were scrapped, rearranged, or redone altogether.

The album was forced – you cant have the album called “Cruel Summer” and then release it in winter.

Again, we  have no way to prove if the above post is true but … it all seems to make sense, save for saying it came out in the winter. It’s not even the fall yet damn it! Anyway, here’s hoping the truth comes out one day. It probably won’t, but hey, we can all speculate like crazy and pray that Tip just drops some new solo material away from the not-that-G.O.O.D. Music team.

10 thoughts on “Why Were Q-Tip and Yasiin Bey (Mos Def) Left Off ‘Cruel Summer’?

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  1. There were many people working on the album it was a complete collaboration from all angles weather that be lyrics, composing beats or production. I am a Q-Tip fan but just because he worked on the album doesn’t mean his stuff made the cut, and if it didn’t make the cut then why should he be mentioned. Many people get left out of all albums not just Kanye’s, its the business. If you don’t contribute enough then your not mentioned.. If you want your name to be shouted you do it big or not at all! This just sounds like a whole lot of hating and ranting and raving to me

  2. Lets hope Yasiin is with Kweli workin on some new Black Star.

  3. As upset that I was about Yasiin not being on the album, after listening through the album, it’s hard to see where he and Tip would fit in. Maybe if they just did one old school hip-hop bonus track with Bey, Comm & Tip, that would have been dope!

  4. sounds like Tip, Mos and Common wanted this to be an actual hip hop album, then said fuck it when they saw Kanye was just gonna go with Big Sean and 2Chainz, not to mention the production style. Whole thing should have been Tip, Mos, Common, Kanye, Pusha, and some verses from Jay.

  5. I’m kind of relieved to be honest. Hopefully their contributions will be sewn into a project more cohesive and deserving of their talent.

  6. On the real though, the album is underwhelming & I could have done
    without I Don’t Like, Theraflu/Cold & Bliss. New God Flow & Tone’s verse >>>>> The Morning’s MY
    SHIT coz of Raekwon & the beat just goes fam. Play that shit with
    headphones… FIRE!!! !llmind put in work. This could possibly be the first time Yeezy has a misstep. Confident ’bout his next solo effort though. Peace.

  7. I reckon Com only got 7 bars coz he had an album that was crack but had no trace of ‘Ye. ‘Ye felt (still feels) salty so he punished him by giving him scraps. Ha!

  8. Pissed that Q-Tip and Yasiin weren’t on the project. Hopefully we get new albums from them soon.

  9. “Cruel Summer as a whole felt under-cooked”, this sums it up pretty well Andrew.

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