Cruel Summer is far from G.O.O.D.
The long awaited G.O.O.D Music album Cruel Summer is far from a good album. Though the songs are listenable, the album seems choppy and unfinished. It completely disappoints on all levels. Whether you had high expectations for the album or whether you wanted to listen to the album based on the starpower of the all-star collective, you will take off your headphones wanting more from something that could have been better.
Kanye West, who started the G.O.O.D. Music label in 2004 and has released music by a slew of artists from John Legend to Kid Cudi, has been known as one of the game’s best lyricists since his 2004 debut The College Dropout. Though West delivers some of his best verses on Cruel Summer, the rest of the G.O.O.D. Music crew seem to just take up space.
The albums opener, “To the World” could be the best song on the album despite the annoying rasp of Teyana Taylor’s voice. R. Kelly and West save the song from being terrible. “The Morning” features two great verses from Rakewon and Common, but other than that, that’s it. The song “Clique” is great when you skip a mediocre verse from Big Sean, this should have been the opener and could have included more G.O.O.D Music artists.
All of these songs can be tied in with the album’s recurring detrimental theme of choppiness and incompleteness. Certain tracks start off really well with intense and direct verses, but they eventually drift off into something that’s unlistenable.
The songs that really stood out were “Mercy,” a single that has been out since the spring and a complete song that is one of the best on Cruel Summer, and “New God Flow,” where Pusha T refers to himself as “the God of everything else.”
“The One” features the voice of Marsha Ambrosius, who seems to come out of her lyrical comfort zone to sing about guns and violence, and even more subpar verses from Kanye West, Big Sean and 2 Chainz. The best song on the album is “Don’t Like” with non G.O.O.D Music member Chief Keef with Kanye West, Pusha T, Big Sean and Jadakiss. This is the only song you’ll probably repeat.
While there are some songs on Cruel Summer that go together seamlessly, there are other songs that simply don’t fit. The Kid Cudi track “Creepers” is stellar. However, musically, it stands out in the wrong way. “Bliss” stands out in the same vain; lyrically, it doesn’t fit.
The best hip-hop albums are the ones that are raw and all the songs flow together to make one singular, flowing piece of art. With this record, it sounds more like a mixtape. As opposed to it being one unit, Cruel Summer goes in different musical and artistic directions that, altogether, creates an unsatisfying listening experience.