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CD Reviews: Review of Late Registration by Kanye West
Thompson Home / CD Reviews Home / Entertainment Channel / Entertainment Web Guide

Click here to buy yourself a copy from Amazon.com Kanye West: Late Registration (Rockafella 2005)

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Kanye West is the new P. Diddy. Oops. I mean, Kanye West is the new Diddy. Does that mean much? Of course it doesn’t! Not to yours truly, anyway. I’m still scratching my head and wondering why the hell this dude gets so many critical accolades. When the first real song on here (the first track is a dumb skit called “Wake Up Mr. West”), “Heard ‘em Say,” opens with Kanye intoning, “Uh, yeah…uh, yeah” over and over to get all warmed up, I am immediately reminded of P. Doody and his brand of hollow hip-hop hucksterism. I see through the smog here, people. Kanye West is a phony.

Oh, I know that he’s undoubtedly culturally and politically more savvy than Diddy because he’s rapping about the usual rapper’s urban plights – minimum wage jobs, being put down by the man – you know, you’ve heard it before, but underneath it all is this smug and typical mogul producer’s bullshit that ultimately says I still got more bling and booty than you’ll ever have. Frankly, I’m bored.

Or maybe West gets praised because the samples he uses are pretty funky. “Touch The Sky” borrows a heaping helping of Curtis Mayfield’s “Move On Up”, while “Gold Digger” rapes Ray Charles’ musical legacy by basing its rhymes on his “I Got A Woman.” Now don’t get me wrong. I love a good sample as much as the next guy, but it’s hard to get down to them when they’re propping up such lame rhymes as “Now I ain’t sayin’ she’s a gold digger / But she ain’t messin’ with no broke niggas.” Yeah, doggie.

And all right, I might be the first dude to say such but perhaps I just can’t relate to the whole “nigga” thing. It might have to do with my being white, but I could just lay it all down on the fact that my mom and dad always taught me the wrongs of racism and the goodness of equality. So perhaps my poor mind is still confused at the whole supposed difference between “niggers” and “niggas” and why the whole idea of it being ok to use the words in an entertaining fashion yet still get pissed off at them seems more than strange. Plus it just gets goddamned boring hearing it after the, oh, billionth time by the time the fourth song has rolled around.

But I still keep coming back to the fact that this charlatan is Diddy’s protégé. “Crack Music” is exactly the kind of superficial heart-tugging sap that the P-Meister would kill to be able to perform in front of all his friends while a 100-voice choir helps him keep it real with God. “Hey Mama” has the Diddy handprint on it as well, with the corny exclamation “Yeah! You know what dis iiiiiiiissss / It’s a celebration, bitches.” I’ve come to the conclusion that some of the more popular factions of rap and hip-hop haven’t moved an inch away from the glory days of the 2 Live Crew (and Jesus, they were sadly more entertaining in comparison).

Finally, I’d just like to say the whole West-as-furry-bear getup alter ego is goddamned lame. I see something like that and think I’m going to be whisked away to a wonderland of groovy beats and samples and some actually funking and rocking out a-la The Black Eyed peas, and instead I get the same old boring niggas and bitches routine. I suppose I’d hide under a costume if I was peddling this junk as well.

Mr. West, you’ve just met the one critic who ain’t gonna sing your praises, G.  

~Jason Thompson 


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