Cruel Summer, a compilation helmed by rap superstar Kanye West to showcase the artists signed to his G.O.O.D. Music imprint, deserved its advance hype mainly because a posse record that spread the love was a welcome reprieve from a music industry dominated by egocentric pop and hip-hop.
Unsurprisingly, this LP (which mystifyingly shares its name with a Bananarama single) still feels like The Yeezy Show. West raps on more than half the tracks and co-produced all but three, giving the icy synths and menacing beats a sophisticated sonic coherency. All the best cuts are Ye-led and stellar. He's as inventive, hilarious and potent as ever.
The guest list, however, is less consistent. Vets like Ghostface Killah, Raekwon and R. Kelly deliver, while newbies Teyana Taylor, Cyhi Da Prynce and Big Sean fail to punch above their weight in songs that lack the spontaneity and manic energy that should prevail when a group of MCs have at it in the same studio.
Top track: New God Flow KEVIN RITCHIE