He still doesn't have that degree from Chicago State, but Kanye West has finally graduated from his own school of thought: candid, eccentric and stubbornly self-assured. With producer Jon Brion back in the sidecar, West delivers another failsafe collection of sharp, soulful songs, exposing his new affinity for synths and electronic drums while adding new lyrical ground to that campus-sized ego.
There are no skits and fewer tracks than usual, but the songs here are more substantial. You'll find more joy (on The Glory, Kanye asks, "Can I talk my shit again?" before dumping accolades on himself), more introspection (Can't Tell Me Nothing is mired in existentialism) and acute honesty.
The latter quality is all over Big Brother, in which Kanye professes familial love for Jay-Z and narrates the highs and lows of their relationship. Turns out there was sibling rivalry over Coldplay's Chris Martin, who appears on Graduation highlight Homecoming.