Released: August 30, 2005
Charted: September 17, 2005
Peak: 12 US, 12 RB, 2 UK, 12 CN, 14 AU
Sales (in millions): 3.1 US, 0.85 UK, 5.39 world (includes US and UK)
Song Title (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.
Total Running Time: 70:25
4.296 out of 5.00 (average of 30 ratings)
Awards: (Click on award to learn more).
About the Album:
“The College Dropout introduced the world to a polo-shirt-wearing preppy who merged backpack-rap politics and bling-rap materialism.” RS’20 “Then, in a flash, Kanye was everywhere, transformed from respected producer to big-name producer/MC, throwing a fit at the American Music Awards, performing ‘Jesus Walks’ at the Grammys, wearing his diamond-studded Jesus piece, appearing on the cover of Time, running his mouth 24/7.” AMG “For haters eager to see Kanye hit a sophomore slump – no such luck.” AZ
On Late Registration “Kanye West really started showing off.” RS’20 “One thing that remains unchanged is Kanye’s hunger, even though his head has swollen to the point where it could be separated from his body, shot into space, and considered a planet. Raised middle class, Kanye didn’t have to hustle his way out of poverty, the number one key to credibility for many hip-hop fans, whether it comes to rapper turned rapping label presidents or suburban teens. And now that he has proved himself in another way, through his stratospheric success — which also won him a gaggle of haters as passionate as his followers – he doesn’t want to be seen as a novelty whose ambitions have been fulfilled.” AMG
On Late Registration, he finds himself backed into a corner, albeit as king of the mountain. It’s a paradox, which is exactly what he thrives on. His follow-up to The College Dropout isn’t likely to change the minds of the resistant” AMG and “Late Registration can’t replicate the novelty of [its predecessor] but otherwise, this is an impressively more mature and labored-over album.” AZ
“As an MC, Kanye remains limited, with all-too-familiar flows that weren’t exceptional to begin with (you could place a number of these rhymes over College Dropout beats). He uses the same lyrical strategies as well. Take lead single Diamonds from Sierra Leone, in which he switches from boastful to rueful; more importantly, the conflict felt in owning blood diamonds will be lost on those who couldn’t afford one with years of combined income. Even so, he can be tremendous as a pure writer, whether digging up uncovered topics (as on ‘Diamonds’) or spinning a clever line (‘Before anybody wanted K. West's beats, me and my girl split the buffet at KFC’).” AMG
“The production approach, however, is rather different from the debut.” AMG West brings in “savvy producer Jon Brion to co-produce.” RS’20 The result? “The album sounds incredible” AZ with “crude beats and drastically tempo-shifted samples…replaced with a more traditionally musical touch.” AMG “Jon Brion (Fiona Apple, Aimee Mann), who co-produces with West on most of the tracks,” AMG “help[s] polish the songs to perfection.” AZ They “are a good, if unlikely, match. Brion's string arrangements and brass flecks add a new dimension to West’s beats without overshadowing them, and the results are neither too adventurous nor too conservative.” AMG
Tracks like Heard ‘Em Say (featuring Maroon 5's Adam Levine) and “heartstring-tuggers” RS’20 like Hey Mama “are richly textured in their soulfulness while the flint-edge of Crack Music and Gone…will appeal to the street-oriented.” AZ
The Just Blaze-helmed” AMG “triumphal autobiography” RS’20 “Touch the Sky tops everything laid down by [West and Brion], despite its heavy reliance on Curtis Mayfield’s ‘Move on Up.’” AMG Commercially, however, the most successful song Gold Digger. Complete with Jamie Foxx doing his best Ray Charles impression, the “witty club pop” RS’20 song sailed to the top of the Billboard Hot 100.
“There's a few duds on here – the sickly-sweet, syrupy Bring Me Down…being one of the worst offenders – but when the album’s good, it's very, very good.” AZ This is “a near-perfect album that remade the pop landscape in West’s own oddball image.” RS’20
“Kanye’s detractors may not be swayed in their resistance to his charms but not only will his past supporters be rewarded but Late Registration has enough appeal to earn new crowds of fans.” AZ “While KRS-One was the first to proclaim, ‘I am hip-hop,’ Kanye West might as well be the first MC to boldly state, ‘I am pop.’” AMG
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First posted 3/16/2010; last updated 4/22/2022.