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Wednesday, October 4, 2023


Music Notes; ‘Graduation’ can’t come soon enough

Most college students probably aren’t thinking about graduation during these hot summer days, but music lovers certainly are. After the release of two illustrious singles, Kanye West’s third effort Graduation has become an album that many can’t wait to hear.

The first single from the anticipated album, "Can’t Tell Me Nothing," was first heard several months ago and is still a favorite among fans. The song shows West’s deeper side, with lyrics that touch on more serious topics in life, such as when West declares: "I told God I’d be back in a second / Man it’s so hard not to act reckless / To whom much is given, much is tested."

In addition to the notable lyrics, the song features a slow beat with a great melody and catchy vocal sample, as well as an excellent chorus. While the song’s popularity still runs strong, West’s second single "Stronger" has received equal recognition. This song, however, is much more upbeat and stands out very much, thanks to a sample from a Daft Punk song.

The chorus, "harder, better, faster, stronger," is very catchy, while the French house group’s vocals repeat in the background. West explains: "That which doesn’t kill me can only make me stronger, I know I got to be right now / ’cause I can’t get much wronger."

The inclusion of Daft Punk is a nice move from left field in a climate where music often repeats the same tired themes and releases predictable songs. The sample only makes the song stronger and appeal to various music fans as opposed to just hip-hop fans.

West explained to MTV why he chose to use the sample: "There’s not one artist in the world that has as much responsibility as me. When I deliver a piece of music, it has to connect with the most genres of music. I don’t care who you name. If you name rap artists, their only responsibility is to rap crowds. If you name a pop artist, their only responsibility is to a pop crowd. If you name some French dance music, their responsibility is to the cool crowd. But I have to deliver songs. All these people are looking at me from super-middle America to the hipsters like, ‘What’s he gonna do next?’"

West also explained that, unlike his first two albums that featured several guests, Graduation will boast fewer guest artists.

"I don’t have any rappers on my album. Not just because I’m trying to make a statement of being an MC – I want people to get into my album and zone out. You never asked Marvin Gaye, ‘You have such-and-such doing a background track?’ I do have an ad-lib from (Young) Jeezy. That’s because he has that line, ‘Hey Snowman, can I get an ad-lib?’ So I asked for an ad-lib. Where the rappers do appear is on the remixes."

In addition, Graduation will be different compared to West’s previous albums because he won’t be producing every song. If the album is anything like the first two singles, it should be a treat for the ears. The Graduation release has been pushed up from September to Aug. 21.

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