Summer 2018 is likely to be the summer of The Carters’ world tour, Cardi B.’s continued success of hit records, and Drake’s album “Scorpion”. There’s no denying how impactful each of these three have already been, and if there is any early indication as to how the year is going to go, they’ll stay that way. However, that does not go without saying that there aren’t other hitmakers who are worthy of some spotlight this summer. Perhaps no one has provided as many early contributions to the summer season thus far as Mr. Kanye West.
Since June, Kanye has been the man of the summer behind the scenes. This consistency in his contributions to music has not only aided those who he has worked with, but to music fans who’ve avidly added these new masterpieces to their musical library, a la the era of the playlist. Each project was tactfully crafted with a simple vision. The often highly produced, and carefully sampled products showcased both West’s genius as a producer, and a flashback to what made music lovers fall in love with him when he first burst onto the scene.
The first entry in this installment was his own opus, “Ye”, which would become another #1 album for the legendary rapper. At only seven songs in length, the template for the later three entries, each song was crafted to fit the current place in Ye’s life as both mature and chaotic man in America. His production plays on samples and instrumentation that crosses several genres, while his storytelling is infectious starting with thoughts of murder to gushing over his daughter.
“Ye” was followed up with a collaboration with Kid Cudi, “Kids See Ghosts”. For Cudi, this is the most nostalgic sound he has been able to embrace since his sophomore release in 2010. While the storytelling may not have been as dynamite as his own release, this joint project’s production appealed to mass audiences. For those looking for a more urban side, Pusha T’s “DAYTONA” is the perfect gem to capitalize on his rivalry with Drake. The record is simple at best in its themes, and relies heavily on two things: beats and bars, a rarity in this era of hip-hop.
Perhaps the most impressive, yet unexpected of the ‘Ye releases was his contributions to Nas’ album, “NASIR”. The album presented a glimpse at the legendary rapper from the guise of a seasoned, dissatisfied black man wanting equality not just for himself, but for his kids. He makes reference to his baby mothers and the simplicity of his current needs in life. All of this effectively communicated by Kanye’s featured vocals, and his phenomenal instrumentation. If that doesn’t convince you, listen to Teyana Taylor’s “K.T.S.E.”. Arguably the strongest production of the series comes to life in the form of “Rose From Harlem”, which features a sample that compliments the hard struggles of the song’s protagonists. West and Taylor also put together the sexual standouts “3 Way” and “WTP”.
To say Kanye West has more than earned his place in music history, is an understatement. To say that he hasn’t contributed some of the greatest sounds of this summer, is a crime. Check out some of these works and you decide for yourself.