Hip hop music
14 September 2012
| September 14, 2012 (2012-09-14)|
Che Pope (also exec.)
Kanye West (also exec.)
Andrew "Pop" Wansel
Boogz & Tapez
The Twilite Tone
Universal Music (Argentina)
World Music Award for World’s Best Album
Late Registration, Graduation, My Beautiful Dark Twis, The College Dropout, 808s & Heartbreak
Cruel Summer is a compilation album by recording artists of American record label GOOD Music, released on September 14, 2012, by the label and Def Jam Recordings. American rapper Kanye West, head of the label, first revealed plans for a label collaborative album in October 2011. The album produced four singles—"Mercy", "Cold", "New God Flow", and "Clique"—that charted on the US Billboard Hot 100. The album features appearances from West himself, along GOOD Music signees Pusha T, Big Sean, Teyana Taylor, Cyhi the Prynce, Kid Cudi, John Legend, Common, D'banj and Malik Yusef, and also features contributions by GOOD Music affiliates 2 Chainz, Jay Z, Travi$ Scott and more. Production on the album was primarily handled by members of GOOD Music's production wing, Very GOOD Beats, including West, Hit-Boy, Hudson Mohawke, Travis Scott and Lifted, among others.
Cruel Summer received moderately positive reviews from critics, who found it uneven as an album but commended its hubristic style and the tracks featuring West. It debuted at number two on the US Billboard 200, selling 205,000 copies in its first week. The album also reached the top 10 of charts in Australia, Canada, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. As of November 4, 2012, Cruel Summer has sold 389,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
Kanye West founded the GOOD Music label in 2004. Since the label's inception, multiple acts have been signed to the label, including close collaborators of West such as Kid Cudi, Common, John Legend, Pusha T, Big Sean and Travi$ Scott. West first announced plans for a GOOD Music album in October 2011 via his Twitter account, writing: "GOODMUSIC.THE ALBUM.SPRING2012". Later on May 23, 2012, the title was revealed in part with a film, Cruel Summer, which debuted at the Cannes Film Festival. The album was originally slated for release on August 7, 2012, but underwent several delays.
Pusha T said that he recorded over 20 verses for the album, and a song with Big Sean and Common called "Trash Bags" that was ultimately scrapped. American rapper Azealia Banks also said that she recorded with West earlier in 2012, but her contributions were not included on the album.
Cruel Summer was made available to pre-order on the website of the Japanese branch of retail chain HMV on September 1, 2012, revealing the album's track listing as well as each track's respective performers. The album's artwork was designed by DONDA, West's creative agency.
"Mercy", a collaboration between Kanye West, Big Sean, Pusha T and 2 Chainz, was released as the album's lead single on April 3, 2012. The track was premiered by Funkmaster Flex's Hot 97 radio show and was released onto the Internet the following day onto West's official website. The release of the track continued West's GOOD Fridays, a music giveaway that provided free MP3 downloads every week, which had been on hiatus since December 2010. The song peaked at number 13 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and topped the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and Hot Rap Songs charts.
"Cold", featuring DJ Khaled, was released as the album's second single. The track was then released as a single onto iTunes on April 17, 2012. Following its digital release, the song impacted urban contemporary radio on May 8, 2012. The single peaked at numbers 89 and 69 respectively on the Billboard Hot 100 and Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs singles charts.
"New God Flow", a collaboration between Pusha T and Kanye West, was released onto iTunes as the album's third single on July 21, 2012. It first premiered at the 2012 BET Awards on July 2, 2012, with West performing an a cappella version of his verse. The song peaked at number 89 on the Billboard Hot 100. "Clique", a collaboration between Kanye West, Jay-Z and Big Sean, was released as the album's fourth single on September 7, 2012. The single peaked at numbers 12 and 2 respectively on the Billboard Hot 100 and Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs singles charts.
Cruel Summer received moderately positive reviews from critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream publications, the album received an average score of 68, based on 28 reviews. Christopher R. Weingarten of Spin felt that it is "not a cohesive crew album" and called it "a runway show of small, costly, uncomfortable missteps." Nathan Rabin, writing in The A.V. Club, said that it "feels like an unusually crowded solo album, but West’s affiliates don’t share his gift for fusing self-aggrandizement with soul-searching reflection." Slant Magazine's Ted Scheinman observed no "concept or production value to hold" the album, which he felt "isn't a Kanye album per se, but even as a high-pedigree compilation, it still falls flat." Jon Caramanica of The New York Times complimented the album's four singles for "show[ing] [West] at or near his best", but found GOOD Music's other rappers to be "a mixed bag". Jonah Weiner of Rolling Stone called the album "occasionally exhilarating, ultimately underwhelming", and observed "no grand statements, but plenty of hot lines", with West as "the star ... who bum-rushes every song he's on like it's someone else's acceptance speech". The magazine later named it the 24th best record of 2012 in a year-end list.
Adam Fleischer from XXL felt the songs featuring West were Cruel Summer's highlights. Andy Gill of The Independent viewed it as less "ambitious" than West's own albums and said the songs "may lack grandeur, but they bring a sinister, stalking ambience that matches the blend of money, mystery and menace in the contributions of collaborators". Paul MacInnes of The Guardian wrote that his "penchant for superabundance is one of the most exhilirating [sic] things in pop music." Priya Elan of NME felt that the album is "essential" as "a cross section of the most brilliant, solipsistic mind in rap". MSN Music critic Robert Christgau was less enthusiastic and said the rapping is clever but plagued by a "Conspicuous Consumption Equals Authentic Negritude" philosophy, although he was impressed by the music: "The surprise is that the attention requires so little effort, because there's always a musical touch to keep you alert".
The album debuted at number two on the US Billboard 200, selling 205,000 copies in its first week. It also entered at number one on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums. Cruel Summer debuted at number four on the Canadian Albums Chart, with first-week sales of 12,000 copies in Canada. As of November 4, 2012, Cruel Summer has sold 389,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan.Notes
Track listing and credits from album booklet
^a signifies a co-producer
^b signifies an additional producer
"Mercy" contains samples from the recording "Dust a Sound Boy", written by Denzie Beagle and Winston Riley, and performed by Super Beagle; samples from the recording "Cu-Oonuh", written by Reggie Williams and Winston Riley, and performed by Reggie Stepper; and samples from the recording "Lambo", performed by YB
"New God Flow" contains samples of the recording "Synthetic Substitution", written by Herb Rooney, and performed by Melvin Bliss; samples of the recording "Mighty Healthy" (a capella), written by Herb Rooney, Ronald Bean, Highleigh Crizoe and Dennis Coles, and performed by Ghostface Killah; samples from the G.I. Townsend recording "Sermon Fragment", written by Townsend; and samples from "Bôdas De Sangue", written and performed by Marcos Valle
"The Morning" contains elements of "Get Me to the Church on Time", written by Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe
"Cold" contains interpolations of "Illegal Search", written by James T. Smith and Marlon L. Williams, also includes a sample from "Lookin' at Me" by Mase
"The One" contains samples of the recording "Public Enemy No. 1", written by Carlton Ridenhour and James Boxley, and performed by Public Enemy; and samples of the recording "Double Barrel", written by Dave Barker, Winston Riley, and Ansell George Collins, performed by Dave and Ansell Collins
"Don't Like" contains samples from the G.I. Townsend recording "Sermon Fragment", written by Townsend; and interpolations of "Under Mi Sensi", written by Barrington Levy and Paul Love
Credits for Cruel Summer adapted from Allmusic.
1To The World (Album Version Edited)Kanye West - Teyana Taylor - R Kelly3:51Cruel Summer (GOOD Music album) Wikipedia
2Clique [Clean]Kanye West - Jay Z - Big Sean4:54
3Mercy1 (Album Version Edited)Kanye West - Big Sean - 2 Chainz - 5:26