How Kanye West’s ‘Graduation’ Changed Music | Genius News

How Kanye West’s ‘Graduation’ Changed Music | Genius News

October 16, 2019 100 By Stanley Isaacs


Kanye: People talk about it everyday. In the barbershops they’re talkin’ about it, at the offices they’re talkin’ about it, the internet is talkin’ about it , this day is building up so much [JACQUES] 10 Years ago today Kanye West released
‘Graduation,’ the final piece of the education themed trilogy that established Kanye as an
icon. With ‘Graduation’, Kanye moved to a new level, musically and culturally… he graduated to rock star status. Kanye: I finally got a cover, man I made it! I made it! We on the top of the world. You see what we doing. You see I’m fresh to death as usual. This is not a mishap. The change was a concerted effort on Kanye’s part he came off opening for U2 on their ‘Vertigo’ tour with one goal
in mind – make music for stadiums. He was inspired by the ovations that Bono would receive after his performances. Kanye: When you hear “Stronger”, like when you saw the way “Stronger” went off, you knew like ahh ok, I see what the song is for. It’s definitely for the club, for the car, but also to annihilate just the stadium. [JACQUES] This focus lead West to seek out
new samples, sounds and even to change his lyrical structure – it was now all about anthems. Kanye had always been known for his deft handling of a soul sample, but on ‘Graduation’ he dived into more ‘electronic’
depths. He turned away from the live instruments of ‘Late Registration’ for synthesizers. And he sampled a track by French duo Daft Punk for one of his biggest singles to date, “Stronger.” According to producer A-Trak, West hadn’t even heard of Daft Punk prior to flipping their song. In a Genius annotation, A-Trak said quote. “We were on tour in Europe in 2006, spending a lot of hours on the bus listening to the
radio. Kanye heard “Touch It” and thought that
beat was cool. I said, “He just swooped up Daft Punk.” And Ye said, “Who?” I just couldn’t believe that Kanye had never
heard Daft Punk. [JACQUES] After two critically acclaimed projects, Kanye wanted his third album to solidify his place at the top. Kanye: I want the #1 spot. I’m going for it, I’m about to take it. This is what I’m here to do. I mean, what else do you want me to do? That’s why I go to the studio so I can murder shit. He was as self assured as ever, and his ego is apparent throughout the lyrics on the album. The Dropout Bear, featured on Kanye’s
first two projects, went through its own change at the hands of the great Japanese artist, Takashi Murakami. One of the most important aspects of ‘Graduation,’ is the sales battle between Kanye West and 50 Cent. Host: 50 Cent and Kanye West have highly anticipated albums that will go head to head on the same release day. [JACQUES] 50 Cent had been the biggest rapper in the game since 2003. And the feud, was a pivotal moment for hip-hop because it pitted more traditional gangster rap against Kanye’s more futuristic bars. Host: 50 Cent has been quoted as saying that if your album should out sell his he will never make another album ever again. Have you heard him? Kanye: I really like 50, I don’t want him to retire once my album sells the most. [JACQUES] It wasn’t even close. ‘Graduation’ bested 50 Cent’s ‘Curtis’
in its first week by nearly 300 thousand units. ‘Graduation’ also contained the song “Big Brother” which was dedicated to Kanye’s mentors Jay-Z and No I.D. This song served as a sign of the growing bond between Yeezy and Hov. Four years later they would release ‘Watch
The Throne.’ JAY-Z: That shit is emotional, if the camera wasnt going I would be saying other shit. But Ima just wait and I’ll tell you later. ‘Graduation’ is one of Kanye’s most important albums because events afterwards would change him and his music forever. Kanye West’s mother Donda passed away two
months after ‘Graduation’ was released. Kanye: And I know you’re really proud of me right now, and I know you wouldn’t want me to stop. And you want me to be the number one artist in the world. And mama all ima do is keep making you proud. We run this. Because of this, Kanye’s music post-‘Graduation,’ had a much darker tone. ‘Graduation’ took Kanye to his apex. He knew that he had changed the game and as time would tell, he was only getting started. I’m Jacques Morel with Genius News bringing you the meaning and knowledge behind the music. Peace!