"Cruel Summer" is something of a masterpiece in my opinion. It has one of my favorite rappers, Kanye West, taking on something he has never done in his career – a group. (I don't mean to scare you with the word group. I'm not talking about anything like the Backstreet Boys. It's more like a tribe.)

It's something completely unique, but still West. In '04, West started G.O.O.D. Music. He signed favorites like John Legend, Common and Mos Def along with upcoming stars like Big Sean, Pusha T, CyHi da Prynce and Kid Cudi. West took established artists to new heights and mentored the rookies to the ways of the industry until all of them were ready to drop the gem "Cruel Summer."

On the first song, "To The World" featuring West and R. Kelly, you hear a light flicker on as the bass rises into a melody of carefree bliss, heavy R&B vocals and social commentary-esque rap lyrics (as only West can do).

The next song, "Clique," features Big Sean, Jay-Z and West. Big Sean takes on a repetitive course that works for the song while adding some of his stop-and-go bars (a big step for Big Sean considering four years ago he was dropping free mix tapes. Not too bad, Sean). Following is a verse by Jay-Z about how he's a vet in the industry and a verse from West reflecting on his life. It's a good representation of where all three artists are at this point in their lives.

"New God Flow.1" has to be my favorite song on the album. It features West, Pusha T and Ghostface Killah. It is definitely the most lyrical and will have you pausing the song and saying to yourself "Wow!"

I could go on and on about all 12 songs and how great they are but that would take about five pages, so I just picked some of my favorites and told you how great those were (saving time and paper, to think they say my generation doesn't care about the environment). So head out and buy a copy. It has explicit lyrics, so if you have sensitive ears, you should probably steer clear of this one, but if you are looking for something new and fresh from one of the giants of the rap industry, you can't go wrong with "Cruel Summer."

Max Fisher is a senior at Leonardo DaVinci High School.


"Cruel Summer"

Kanye West and various artists

4 stars (out of 4)