Late Registration is the follow up to Kanye's smash debut The College Dropout. The first single 'Diamonds From Sierra Leone' samples vocals of the legendary Shirley Bassey. Highlights include 'Gold Digger' featuring Jaime Foxx and 'Hear Em Say' featuring Adam Levine of Maroon 5. John Mayer also makes a guest appearance on what is sure to the album of the year. Def Jam. 2005.
For haters eager to see Kanye hit a sophomore slump--no such luck. Late Registration
can't replicate the novelty of last year's College Dropout
, but otherwise, this is an impressively more mature and labored-over album. Lyrically, Kanye's only improved a notch but musically, the album sounds incredible, especially with co-producer Jon Brion helping polish the songs to perfection. Tracks like "Heard 'Em Say" (featuring Maroon 5's Adam Levine) and "Hey Mama," are richly textured in their soulfulness while the flint-edge of "Crack Music" and "Gone" (feat. Cam'ron) will appeal to the street-oriented. There's a few duds on here--the sickly-sweet, syrupy "Bring Me Down" (feat. Brandy) being one of the worst offenders--but when the album's good, it's very, very good. In short, Kanye's detractors may not be swayed in their resistance to his charms but not only will his past supporters be rewarded but Late Registration
has enough appeal to earn new crowds of fans. --Oliver Wang