I’m seriously conflicted about Graduation. I love it and I hate it. I haven’t stopped listening to it for the past week. No doubt, it’s Kanye’s leanest album yet (thank you, God, for no “skits”).
Yet, I can’t get over some of the flat-out horrible rhyming on this record. I’ve never thought of Kanye as an elite MC, but damn … he’s had some gems in his day (“Look back on my life like the ghost of Christmas past / unbreakable / what, you thought they called me Mr. Glass?”).
My boy Royce thinks I should let it go lest these feelings fester and, ultimately, ruin Graduation. So, I’m going to just get it all out here, a little blog therapy. Because, honestly, I am really digging this album (especially Barry Bonds and Flashing Lights).
Inspired in part by Tom Breihan’s Ten Favorite Moments on Kanye West’s Graduation, these are, in no particular order, my 10 least favorite lines from the album:
“I’m like the fly Malcolm X / buy any jeans necessary” (Good Morning).
Kanye’s insistence on perpetuating/celebrating his “Louis Vuitton don” image in verse won’t do him any favors, especially when his reputation as an award-show whiner already precedes him.
“Just a lil’ somethin’ to show you how we live / Everybody want it but it ain’t that se’ious” (Champion).
Look, I don’t care how many letters you take out of the word “serious”, it just doesn’t rhyme with the word “live.” No, it doesn’t.
“Do you even remember what the issue is? / You just trying to find where the tissue is / You can still be what you wish you is / It ain’t happened yet, and that’s what intuition is” (I Wonder).
If you didn’t notice, Kanye rhymes the word “is” four times there. This is a recurring theme. Keep reading.
“I feel the pressure, under the scrutiny / and what I do? Act more stupidly” (Can’t Tell Me Nothing).
“Act more stupidly.” Irony, right?
“Don’t ever fix your lips like collagen / Then say something where you gonna end up apolog’in.” (Can’t Tell Me Nothing).
I know. I’m white. But “apolog’in”? That’s a reach.
“Top five MCs you aint gotta remind me / top five MCs you gotta rewind me / I’m high up on the line you can get behind me / but my head so big you can’t sit behind me” (Barry Bonds).
Me, me, me, me. That’s about right.
“You more like ‘love to start shit’ / I’m more of the / trips to Flor-i-da” (Flashing Lights).
The delivery here really gets to me, and it probably only makes sense if you hear it in the context of the song. But the way he chops up Florida (sounds like FLOOR-I-DUH) to make it rhyme with “I’m more of the” makes me convulse. It’s agonizing.
“In two years Dwayne Wayne became Dwyane Wade / and ‘ay / Please don’t start me / I’m like Gnarls Barkley meets Charles Barkley” (The Glory).
I … I … I don’t even know where to start. Someone tell me what Dwayne Wayne and Dwyane Wade have to do with each other? Please?
Chris Martin’s verse (Homecoming).
“But he got me out my mama crib / Then he helped me get my mama a crib.”
This whole song, this worshipping of Jay-Z is just … kinda creepy.