Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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G.O.O.D. Music

  • Cruel Summer [G.O.O.D. Music/Def Jam, 2012] B+

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Cruel Summer [G.O.O.D. Music/Def Jam, 2012]
Lyrically, Kanye & Assoc. do little more than add ho and gangsta sidebars to the boss's core philosophy: "Conspicuous Consumption Equals Authentic Negritude." Usual suspects Pusha T and Raekwon sound better working this con than young jurks Big Sean and Chief Keef, and there's cleverness all around, with my pick the boss chorus "We flier than a parakeet/Floating with no parachute/Six thousand dollar pair of shoes/We made it to the Paris news." But close attention to the rhyming reveals all too clearly that the philosophy has gotten even lamer than it was to begin with. The surprise is that the attention requires so little effort, because there's always a musical touch to keep you alert: strings chamber and pizzicato, shouts and murmurs, cackles and whoos, glitches of every description, and a predictably unpredictable panoply of percussives. As with the virtual naturescapes in Samuel Delany's Stars in My Pockets Like Grains of Sand, you may never touch Gucci, but you'll know the texture of luxury just the same. And that better the hell be enough. B+