Mr. West eschews his now atypical sped up soul and gospel samples for a more synthesized, newer and fresher reverberation on his new album, Graduation. Instead of taking an up and center roll, the likes of Laura Nyro and Labi Siffre sit in the back of Kanye’s groove machine and sing out from the back – noticeable but not as overpowering as their contemporaries are on Late Registration’s “Gold Digger” or College Dropout’s break out, “Through the Wire”; they are layered farther down, almost muffled behind the Steely Dan riffs and whip-like snares that are accentuated throughout the record.
Kanye lacks the freshness and insight he had on his previous chart topping smashes. He, much like Eminem on his Marshall Mathers LP, is entranced and dismayed by finally becoming what he had always dreamt about. The two bare similarity in their well documented rises to the top, but the problem lies in the question asked by all whom own the coveted number one position – “Where to now?” Eminem, after achieving his goal, lashed out at the fame he worked so hard for and, in looking outside himself – found that his battle like rhyme style was fun and sharp – but eventually the warrior had to hang up his sword and shield – Kanye is more obsessed with himself, and over half of his songs on Graduation focus on his own likeness, which is not unusual for the genre; but what makes ‘ye unique though, is his ability and honesty to own up to his own weakness. Although he has reached his goal, he is still out to change the world, one rhyme at a time. He does not take up any one’s charity but his own – his fame and perfection has been driven by insecurity and that insecurity doesn’t seem like its going anywhere soon.