Cruel Summer is a G.O.O.D. production, nothing more and nothing less. While Kanye rides out his post WTT / MBDTF wave of success, he gets the G.O.O.D. team together to drop the longly anticipated album that just so happens to fall slightly short of greatness. In Kanye’s defense, perhaps it was the Coldest Winter that made the summer not as cruel as he had anticipated, but the overall product was enough to get us colder, higher, and more merciful than we’ve been in quite some time. John Legend, Teyana Taylor, 2 Chainz, Ghostface Killah, Pusha T, Jadakiss, Big Sean, Marsha Ambrosius, Cyhi The Prince, Malike Yusef, Travi$ Scott, Raekwon, Mase, DJ Khaled, R. Kelly, Common, Kid Cudi, Mase (yes, Mase), and naturally the other half of the throne aka Jay-Z, all dropped by to deliver some lyrical. Here, it’s obvious that the clique is tight and the lineup, tighter; as Kanye sits atop his throne, his beautiful dark twisted fantasies become tamer, his heartbreaks, fainter, and his listeners, less shocked by the sound. Cruel Summer is pleasing to the ears and just catchy enough in a new age kind of way to leave no song the exception to our liking.
It’s obvious too that Kanye and the crew laid their intentions on careful collaboration whilst making sure to showcase the talent of each individual artist. From opening song “To The World” by Kanye, Teyana Taylor, and the incessantly echoing, almost back in the closet R. Kelly to “I Don’t Like” by Pusha T., Chief Keef, Jadakiss, & Big Sean, Kanye made an effort (cringeworthy to every Kanye fan knowing of his nature) to stay enough involved without being overpowering. Hands on the production, however, no one could more easily be pinned to the sound than he; Cruel Summer somehow sounds like the love child of Watch The Throne and My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, making the overall gathering of artistry something like a great big family reunion. Although nearly half of the album was dropped before its release (or leak, rather), I thoroughly enjoyed this Cruel Summer and commend Kanye’s efforts for making the album a product of pure G.O.O.D.ness.