Artist – Kanye West, Jay-Z & Big Sean
Album – Cruel Summer
Year – 2012
Genre – Hip-Hop/Rap
Say what you will about his ego, but Kanye West is arguably the most successful rapper of today. Not only does he consistently produce extremely well crafted albums, but his record label, G.O.O.D. Music, released Cruel Summer last year. The album showcases artists who are signed to the label, and the majority of the songs feature West himself. It’s a very good album, but this track absolutely stands out above the rest.
The opening soulful vocals will give you goosebumps. James Fauntleroy, who I honestly have never heard of before, sings the introduction. Though he is literally in the song for about ten seconds, after listening to the song, I wish he had kept singing because that beginning is so good. It’s amazing how much emotion and soul you can get out of that ten seconds, especially the first line, “What of the dollar you murdered for?” Then the beat begins, and oh my God is it awesome. It’s low, it’s slow, and it’s sensual. Also the vocalized sounds in the background are a unique touch that adds some cool texturing. Big Sean begins the song with the repeated hook and then his verse. The hook in this song is addictive. You will find yourself saying “Ain’t nobody fresher than my motherfuckin’ clique,” around your friends. And the last line in the hook, “And all these bad bitches man, they want the…” When my friends and I heard that line, we all went “OH MY GOD THAT’S SO GOOD!” It’s such a clever and totally badass line. The melody before the verse builds up and then Big Sean starts his verse. Surprisingly, Big Sean is the best rapper in this song without a doubt. His flow is better than Jay-Z and Kanye here, and his line about “pulling up in that Bruce Wayne” is extremely clever. He finishes strong, and the hook repeats.
Jay-Z is next, and he comes in a close second for his verse. He raps about his wealth and his women, but he does it very well and with great style and flow. The lines where he raps about his money multiplying is extremely enjoyable to listen to, and he holds his own with panache.
Continuing after the next hook is Kanye’s verse, which of course is longer than everyone else’s. Even though he is a very talented rapper, he comes up a little short here. There’s really nothing new or special about this verse, as he raps about how awesome he is (as usual), and claiming that he can “eat breakfast at Gucci.” Really, that’s pretty much it. This verse is really mostly about his ego, which is not a bad thing, but I was hoping for something more clever or new. If you like Kanye in general, you’ll have no problem with this verse at all though.
The song finishes with one last hook, and then the music stops after Big Sean finishes with that last, oh so clever line. Regardless of some of the typical rap song lyrics, this song is worth it for the beat alone. It’s dark as midnight, and sexy too. It’s a great rap track that shows off three of the biggest rappers in today’s game to great effect. So to summarize: come for the talent, stay for the music and the beat. Big Sean really steals the show with this one, but I’m curious to hear who you liked best. Leave your pick in the comments, and also if you liked this track or the review.