Definitions

spazzed out

Graduation (album)

Graduation is the third studio album by rapper Kanye West, released on September 11, 2007 on Roc-A-Fella Records. The title of the album follows the college theme of Kanye West's previous two studio albums, The College Dropout and Late Registration. The album artwork was designed by Takashi Murakami. Graduation has received three Grammy Awards, including Best Rap Album, thereby making West the only artist other than Eminem to win three Best Rap Album Grammys.

Reception

Commercial

In July 2007, West changed the US release date of Graduation from September 18, 2007, to September 11, 2007, the same release date as 50 Cent's Curtis.50 Cent said he would end his career as a solo rapper if Graduation sold more copies than Curtis in the U.S. However, he later retracted his comments due to contract agreements with Aftermath Entertainment and Interscope Records.

Graduation topped the Canadian, UK, United World Chart, and US album charts; however Curtis debuted at number one on the Irish and Swiss album charts, claiming the top spot on the Billboard European Top 100 Albums chart.

Graduation's first week sales of 957,000 and Curtis's first week sales of 691,000 marked only the second time ever (since Nielsen SoundScan began collecting data in 1991) that two albums sold more than 600,000 in a week in the United States. The first occurrence of such an event was in 1991 when Guns N' Roses released Use Your Illusion I, which sold 685,000 copies, and Use Your Illusion II, which sold 770,000 copies. The first week sales totals of Graduation and Curtis have outsold the first week sales totals of Guns N' Roses' two albums.

Graduation sold approximately 957,000 copies in the United States in its first week of release, becoming the highest sales week for an album in 2007 (topping Linkin Park's Minutes to Midnight, which sold 626,000) as well as West's highest sales week to date, topping his 860,000 opening week of his previous album Late Registration. In addition, it became the 15th highest sales week for an album since Nielsen SoundScan began tracking data in 1991, and the highest sales week at the time of its release for an album since 50 Cent's The Massacre opened with 1.1 million in March 2005. Graduation debuted at number one on the United World Chart, selling approximately 1,153,000 copies worldwide and now is at 2,900,000 as of August 2008. As of January 15, 2008, Graduation was certified 2× Platinum by RIAA.

Critical

Graduation received generally favorable reviews from music critics. Rolling Stone said that "none of the beats clobber you as immediately as "Jesus Walks" or "Gold Digger," but most of them improve on every listen: This is an album that you first like, then love." Rolling Stone also wrote that, "as a lyricist, West will never possess the pure cool or formal mastery of his mentor Jay-Z, but he's grown as a writer. (See the off-kilter, dreamlike "I Wonder".) And given the lousy year hip-hop has had, the music needs his spazzed-out, neurotic creativity more than ever. As for the rest of you rappers: Try harder. Entertainment Weekly noted that "West's vocal mediocrity wouldn't be so glaring if the production were more of a diversion. There are no truly tragic compositions on Graduation—though the droning "Drunk and Hot Girls" could have been half as irritating at twice the speed—but most of the music just seems uninspired. The Chicago Tribune gave the album a favorable review, claiming that "West is at his best". Music critic Robert Christgau wrote of the album:

Every single track offers up its momentary pleasures--choruses that make you say yeah on songs you've already found wanting, confessional details and emotional aperçus on an album that still reduces to quality product when they're over.|Robert Christgau

This album was #5 on Rolling Stone's list of the Top 50 Albums of 2007. Kanye also received a rating of XL from the hip-hop magazine XXL, which rated his first and second albums with a classic rating of XXL.

Track listing

Charts

Charts (2007) Peak
position
Australian Albums Chart 2
Austrian Albums Chart 1
Belgian Albums Chart 1
Billboard European Top 100 Albums 1
Canadian Albums Chart 1
Danish Albums Charts 10
Dutch Albums Chart 11
Finnish Albums Chart 16
French Albums Chart 9
German Albums Chart 10
Irish Albums Chart 2
Italian Albums Chart 33
Japanese Albums Chart 13
New Zealand Albums Chart 2
Norwegian Albums Chart 2
Swedish Albums Chart 6
Swiss Albums Chart 3
UK Albums Chart 1
United World Chart 1
U.S. Billboard 200 1
U.S. Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums 1
U.S. Billboard Top Rap Albums 1

Release history

Region Date
Ireland September 7,2007
United Kingdom September 10, 2007
United States September 11, 2007

References

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