Rappers who can’t produce can’t really come up with their own music, so they just let another producer come along and do it for them. And most producers that try to rap can’t (frankly, they usually suck ass). But not Kanye! Despite what many others say, I think Kanye has a skilled flow and an ear for the harmonics too.
Looking into the tracks,”All Falls Down” is one of those rare songs that is catchy and has social content. I feel like most conscious rappers get too serious when they think their song’s content deserves attention, and the music suffers. Syleena Johnson provides vocals for the chorus and they’re flawless. The fourth single from the album, “Jesus Walks,” has bass you have to hear and feel to believe and it’s songs like this one that make me wonder how anyone could question Kanye’s talent.
Two songs later, the album features Common, one of my favorite rappers of all time, alongside Talib Kweli on the club track “Get Em High.” The track’s made for dancing, and even though I love him, Kanye outshines Common. Another highlight artist feature is Ludacris on “Breathe In, Breathe Out,” a track that has a strong “Stand Up” vibe to it, not just because of Luda’s voice, but because of the bass and horns in the chorus.
The last tracks I want to talk about are “Two Words” and “Last Call.” Words is the hardest song on the album, and Mos Def, Freeway, and Kanye all bring it. Kanye’s producing chops were already proven years before this album and tracks like this only further prove his rap skills. He’s a true talent on the mic. As for “Last Call,” it’s a short song toasting his label Roc-A-Fella and a bit of autobiography from West explaining how he originally landed his record deal. Even though it’s at the end of the album, it’s great.
I know some people are gonna accuse me of being a dick rider for saying all this, but there isn’t a bad song on the album and Kanye is a much better rapper than he’s usually given credit for. Sure he’s an egomaniac, but he deserves the hype! And before you ask, I wasn’t born here, so no it’s not just loyalty to Chicago that has me saying all this.