Track by Track: “Cruel Summer”- G.O.O.D. Music- by Dustin Brewer

Dustin goes track-by-track with Kanye West’s G.O.O.D. Music Mixtape and helps you decide if it’s worth a spin.

Photo from: sfcritic.com

Today, Kanye West-owned rap label G.O.O.D. Music released their new mixtape album, the aptly titled “Kanye West Presents Good Music Cruel Summer” or, “Cruel Summer” for short.

If there’s one thing that we can count on Kanye with, it’s unleashing music on the world that demands attention and respect, despite whatever his public persona, appearances and controversies have done to his image.

With that said welcome to the first HefferBrew track-by-track and what better way to start it than with some G.O.O.D. Music?

First off, this album art is absolutely spectacular. Do you think they round table vote on things like video and art concepts or does Kanye just come in and say “It’s gonna look like a white piece of tile with a woman standing naked” and turn around and leave? Either way, A+ guys, you’re off to a fantastic start.

  1. To the World- (Kanye West & R. Kelly)

They come right out of the gate with an R. Kelly hook about wanting the people to put their middle fingers up in the air at all their haters. Which confuses me, why would R. Kel or Kanye have haters? I can’t think of anything they’ve done that’s been less than beloved… Anyways,  this beat sounds like it could break into dubstep at any second but the bass just never drops. Also, Kanye’s verse doesn’t start until over 2 minutes into the 3 and a half minute song, which means- we get over 2 and a half minutes of pure uncut R. Kelly! The surprising duo work really well together, setting a pretty solid tone and raising expectations for the rest to come.

Best line- “Only n**** in Beverly Hills, where Axel Foley at?”- Kanye

2. Clique- (Big Sean, Kanye West and Jay-Z)

First off, I’m convinced Big Sean is nothing but Mr. Ghetto with a bit better publicity. He seems to enjoy just picking a random word and repeating it until you’re left seething mad as you realize 4 minutes have gone by. Not to mention his verse suggests he enjoys picking up chicks to give them to the rest of his clique to share. Thankfully, the appearance of Jay Z and Kanye helps this track to almost feel like a b-side from “Watch the Throne” the duo’s much publicized phone-in team up from last year. After the opening track though, this feels a bit like a let-down, at least Kanye was able to get Jigga to join in.

Best Line- “I’m way too black to burn from sun rays”- Kanye

3. Mercy- (Big Sean, Pusha T, Kanye West and 2 Chainz)

What do I have to do to join Kanye’s entourage? I can’t stress how much I wish I could be Big Sean on this song and just consistently say “Swerve” in the background. I also take back everything I said about Big Sean previously; he opens the song with one of the most ridiculous lines in rap. The rest of the song benefits from the rest of the verses being top notch as well, the only problem coming when the song decides to completely transform so Kanye has a completely different beat then the rest of the guys on the song but then he raps about putting suicide doors on an airplane and that his girlfriend makes your girlfriend look like the girl from “Precious.” And just when you think it couldn’t be better, 2 Chainz drops by to show why he’s one of the hottest MC’s in the world right now. This is what the rest of the album should sound like in terms of hooks and flow.

Best Line- TIE between “Drop it to the floor make that ass shake, build a house up on that ass that’s an ass-state, roll my weed on that ass that’s an ass-tray.” – Big Sean and “I’m drunk and high at the same time drinking champagne on an airplane” – 2 Chainz

4. New God Flow- (Pusha T, Kanye West and Ghostface Killah)

Possibly my favorite beat on the entire album, it’s deceptively simple and allows Pusha T and Kanye to shine throughout. The only thing I’m not sure on is Kanye’s mention of living Rodney King’s dream as well as a shout-out to Whitney Houston to rest in peace in the same verse, not that the Whitney love isn’t appreciated, it seems a little odd but hey, at least she’s getting recognition. Different from the version that was released before the album came out; the album version features a verse from Ghostface Killah who seems hell bent on out rapping the other two and showing them how it’s done.

Best Line- “I’m on fire hey that’s what Richard Pryor say.” – Kanye West.

5. The Morning- (Raekwon, Pusha T, Common, 2 Chainz, Cyhi the Prynce, Kid Cudi and D’banj

If you had told me it would take 5 songs for the album’s first Illuminati reference, I wouldn’t have believed you. If you tried to tell me it’d be on a song that doesn’t feature Kanye or Jay-Z, I’d flat out call you a liar but I guess it’s true. Pusha T is really showing his worth early on in the album, featuring on 3 of the first 5 tracks, hopefully this means he’ll be getting a good (no pun intended here) push soon. Also, it’s always a welcome treat to hear Kid Cudi on a hook. The first song to not feature Kanye and it still manages to sneak in a sample from him, however, even without him, the rappers are more than game to try and one-up each other.

Best line- “Eye on the dollar like Illuminati”- Common (really? Common is the one that drops the first Illuminati line?)

6. Cold- (DJ Khaled and Kanye West)

Originally called “Theraflu” this song sparked a mini-controversy from Kanye’s thinly veiled line aimed at Kim Kardashian’s ex Kris Humphries. Don’t think that’s the only point to the song cause this track KILLS IT! The chorus is ridiculous; “Tell PETA my mink is dragging on the floor” isn’t even the best line, that’s how hard Kanye is going on this song. If he keeps this type of tempo and production up for his next album, he just might be able to match, if not top, “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.”

Best line- “Can I have a bad b**** without no flaws, come and meet me without no drawers.”- Kanye West (the chorus to this song just kills.)

7. Higher- (The Dream, Pusha T, Ma$e and Marsha Ambrossius)

A slower jam is the perfect counter to the fast intensity from “Cold” and here comes Pusha T again, holding his own on his tracks regardless of who else is on them with him.  Unfortunately, this song lacks the overall punch the rest of the tracks have. It’s the first real lull that feels a bit more phoned in than anything else especially after “Cold.” However, a special shout-out is needed for Ma$e, the man appears on this song after at least three retirements from the rap game, one in 1999 so he could become a preacher, once after a controversy between Diddy and 50 Cent over who owned his contract and now he’s rumored to be releasing new music.*

Best Line- Unfortunately none, hopefully they pick this up

8. Sin City- (John Legend, Travis Scott, Teyana Taylor, Cyhi the Prynce and Malik Yusef)

WHERE WAS JOHN LEGEND ONE TRACK AGO?!?!?! His appearance immediately negates everything else.

Best line- “She stepped into hell, cause winter got cold, Don’t look in her eyes, you might see straight to her soul”- Malik Yusef (this is probably the most introspective lyric on the album, I’m interested in where Yusef goes from here because a thoughtful verse always leaves a longer lasting impression.)

9. The One- (Kanye West, Big Sean, 2 Chainz and Marsha Ambrosius)

It’s unfortunate that this album, which is I believe intended to showcase the rising talent is completely dominated by Kanye West whenever he appears but honestly, what would you expect? This is a good mid-tempo jam with a Big Sean verse that doesn’t include massive repetition, a great hook from Ambrosius and 2 Chainz being 2 Chainz but still, the ease in Kanye’s rhymes and flow is just too impressive. He’s easily positioned himself as a Mike Tyson of rap; he knows he dominates the rest but unlike Tyson, he doesn’t let himself get out of shape, all his verse seem like he’s just flexing his muscles for his next album.

Best Line- “That’s my reality so get off my Scott Disick.” – Kanye West. AND “I’m an XXL, the magazine and the condom size.”- Big Sean

10. Creepers- (Kid Cudi)

Kid Cudi is rapping again. Hey everybody; “KID CUDI IS RAPPING AGAIN!” I don’t care that this beat isn’t the best, I don’t even care that half the time I can’t really even tell what he’s saying. All I care is that this makes me forget about this, and that’s all I ever wanted.

Best line- Every last one of them. It’s just too big a relief. Welcome back Cud.

11. Bliss- (John Legend and Teyana Taylor)

A perfect dose of smooth R&B that once again brings back John Legend and features Teyana Taylor singing a flawless chorus, hopefully she proves to be able to carry an entire song because her voice stands out amongst even the most crowded tracks. And again, while you wouldn’t expect John Legend to be on the G.O.O.D. Music label Mixtape, his presence brings calm to the previously chaotic tracks and flow of the album. He’s like this generation’s Seal and it’s fantastic.

Best Line- “My world is yours, what you waiting for? Let’s run away. Let’s run away.”- John Legend (damn, this guy is the greatest thing to happen to bumbling men looking to set the mood since Michael Buble.)

12. Don’t Like- (Kanye West, Chief Keef, Pusha T, Big Sean and Jadakiss)

Ever wonder what every one of the rappers above just don’t like? Well, then this is the song for you, every line features another thing these guys just can’t stand. Kanye references so many things that have no business being together, he’s like the rap version of “Family Guy” but way more focused. Pusha T finishes a pretty strong second though as he consistently held his own throughout showing he could be the next breakout from the label. Jadakiss shows up for a while and it’s sort of weird, but at the same time, Ma$e was here a few tracks ago, come get yours Jada.

Best Line- “Shout out to Derrick Rose, man that n**** nice.” – Kanye West. Just in case you were worried that Chicago Bulls PG Derrick Rose could possibly be mean, Kanye is here to reassure you, he’s pretty solid. Thanks Kanye.

When it’s on, it’s some of the best MC’s around at the top of their game, when it misses the mark it manages to just mildly amuse. It does however manage to build on Kanye West’s impressive run of releases as well as create anticipation for his next full length.

* I posted this article yesterday originally, today I got a text from Cameron Heffernan that read: “What ? You got Ma$e on a track and you’re not taking the time to talk about how he’s the greatest preacher/rapper/burn victim ever?”- and of course I scoured the internet for ‘Ma$e burn victim’ finding nothing but advice on how to deal with being maced by law enforcement. So the jury’s out on the burn victim, but he’s definitely the best preacher/rapper (with the exception of Rev Run)

Dustin Brewer is co-creator/co-owner of HefferBrew. Reach him on twitter @dstnbrwr for more of his takes on the wacky world of entertainment.

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