GOOD Music’s “Cruel Summer” Lives up to Hype (Almost)

An all-star cast and solid range of beats contribute to a near-perfect album

By Aditya Kumar

When rapper Common produced his Grammy-award winning album under Kanye West’s label GOOD Music in 2004, the rap and hip-hop world looked to the up-and-coming-label for more “good” music. The label did not disappoint. After A-list artists John Legend, Big Sean, and Kid Cudi produced their albums under the label from 2004-2011, the record company was confirmed as a success. One thing that the label failed to produce, however, was the collaboration album first mentioned by Kanye in 2009. For three years, fans waited for the all-powerful collaborative album by the hottest names in rap and hip-hop.

Album cover probably chosen by Kanye.

In April 2012, Kanye West featured Pusha T, Big Sean, and 2 Chainz on the bass-boosting track “Mercy.” A string of singles followed throughout the summer, from the harsh lyrics of “I Don’t Like” to the rolling instrumental of “Clique.” In most of the album’s songs, each artist infuses his own signature style into the track while maintaining the song’s flow. However, there were two things wrong with this album: “rapper” 2 Chainz. The infamous rapper has a notorious reputation for rapping with the lyrics (and maturity) of a junior high school student. His profane words coupled with hoarse voice projects the rapper as a joke not to beb taken seriously.  Other than the oversized teenager, however, the album as a whole masterfully arranges high-quality instrumentals and artists to the pleasure of the listener.