audio / Highlights

Kanye West – “To The World” (feat. R. Kelly)

I’ve made no secret of my feelings about Kanye and R. Kelly here in the past, so hearing of their collaboration on today’s release of G.O.O.D. Music’s Cruel Summer had me just shy of giddy.

This is very clearly not a Kanye West album, but a mixed-bag showcase for the his label collective’s roster. “To The World” is its opener, featuring beats from Glasgow up-and-comer Hudson Mohawke, and there’s something in the details of his lifting production that’s enticing to the ear.

Kelly’s autotuned vocals make the bulk of the track, but it’s Kanye’s verse you remember. Yes, he refers to himself as “The God of Rap” but it’s kind of the present truth, and also manages to squeeze in an election line (“Mitt Romney don’t pay no tax”) and the roll-off-your-tongue pun “Francis Foreign Car Coppola”—holy crap!

The overstuffed album is certainly uneven, but it’s hard to hate the hustle of one of today’s most prolific working artists, and his vision for what G.O.O.D. should, and maybe one day could still be. Grab “To The World” below.

“So many people get caught up in trying to remake their first album, and it’s impossible for me to make another College Dropout, but I can make the best Graduation and best 808s that I can make, and that’s how I think you keep on advancing as an artist. So few hip-hop artists have ever advanced. Their songs on their seventh, eighth albums sound exactly like the songs on their first album. More than an artist, I’m a real person—and real people grow. And I wanna just sing my growth.”  -Kanye West

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