Kanye West - Late Registration
Critic Score
Based on 19 reviews
2005 Ratings: #32 / 424
User Score
2005 Ratings: #2
August 30, 2005 / Release Date
LP / Format
Roc-A-Fella / Label
Hip Hop / Genres
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kanyewest.com / Website
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CRITIC REVIEWS

100
AllMusic

West and Brion 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.

100
Paste

In the end, it’s West’s dogged vision that makes it a success. He never acts before he deliberates, and never leaves a detail unpolished. 

100
Rolling Stone

He steps up his lyrical game, shows off his epic production skills, reaches higher, pushes harder and claims the whole world of music as hip-hop turf.

100
The Guardian

Like the rest of Late Registration, Drive Slow suggests an artist effortlessly outstripping his peers: more ideas, better lyrics, bigger hooks, greater depth.

95
Pitchfork

With the help of co-producer Jon Brion, West has taken his jumbled personae, buoyant enthusiasm, and vision for the grandiose, and transformed his chattering, seemingly unrealistic ideas into an expansive, imperfect masterpiece.

83
Spin

Though West showcases a more versatile, eccentric flow than on Dropout, it pales in comparison to his sonic ambition.

83
Entertainment Weekly

Late Registration is more cumbersome and burdened than its predecessor — a little less cohesive, a lot less fun — but it rarely fails to engross at nearly every step.

80
NME

‘Late Registration’ is a solid set. And by freshening up his style without entirely abandoning it, West still has the rest of the rap world playing catch-up.

80
HipHopDX

From a technical and musical standpoint this is definitely stronger than his debut, but what is that worth when you just can’t feel it? Don’t get me wrong, it is still a really good album…it just isn’t a really great one.

80
Uncut

Second enthralling album from hip-hop’s rapping, producing, multi-faceted new hero.

79
Coke Machine Glow

Late Registration is a mainstream shot at being bigger than genre boundaries, a larger-than-life, lavishly funded attempt at erasing the stagnation that's come from nearly a decade of hip-hop having changed mostly through internal factionalizing.

70
Tiny Mix Tapes

Late Registration is still a pretty good, albeit flawed, album, and it's still great to have someone as exciting as Kanye making pop music today.

70
PopMatters

Together, Brion and West have made the most musically ambitious hip-hop album since Outkast’s Aquemini. But what prevents Late Registration from achieving that unequivocal classic status is Kanye’s alter ego: Kanye, the rapper.

70
Slant Magazine

Late Registration's salvation (and, undoubtedly, Kanye's own) are when it basks in the sunshine after the rain. 

60
Prefix

Undoubtedly, Kanye West thinks his new album can be the best hip-hop album of all time. But because he has nothing real to talk about, because he isn’t crafting protest songs or timeless morality tales, the music shoots off into the atmosphere with nowhere to arrive.

50
Drowned in Sound

For all Kanye's meditation on the wrongs of his upbringing and surroundings, you can't help but find that his statements ring a little hollow. Maybe it's the clinical production masking his rapping, but more likely it's that it just sounds forced.

BradTasteMusic
100
Running back through Kanye West’s discography, I feel like this is the album I’d almost never revisit since my first and only encounter. I gave this thing another listen today and it was amazing hour of pure bliss. It’s an album that lets me understand what perfection in Kanye’s abilities looks like. Every beat is fantastic and soulful. Kanye is at the highest in his career lyrically and conceptually. Every feature is perfect. My god this is such a magnificent piece of ... read more
Inglume
90
"nothin's ever promised tomorrow today"
"They say people in your life are seasons, and anything that happen is for a reason"

Unfortunately for Kanye, he wasn't prepared to have a season in his life taken away from him so soon.

Sometimes I take a step back and look through Kanye's discography from time to time. I've heard countless of times before about how people "miss the old Kanye". When people talk about great Kanye albums other than MBDTF, his first three ... read more
Atrocityblubber
100
I love Kanye!
exception
93
what an album... the variation on this project was just perfect. there were heartfelt songs like roses and hey mama, but there were also more upbeat songs like touch the sky and we major. the jazzy production was very fitting to the theme and vocals of this LP. my only complaint is that the skits were a little unnecessary. i liked the input of them, but they didn't seem to fit what was being said in the tracks before and after them. a really really enjoyable listen.
fav tracks: touch the ... read more
RakkSmells
99
Edit: Just re-listened to it again, and DANG it is fire. I love the samples Kanye uses, and as always the production is top-notch. Kanye is easily becoming one of my favourite rappers/artists.

I'm listening to Kanye's discography in order and even though I should probably give the albums a second listen when I'm finished everything, it's a really big toss up between this album and The College Dropout and which is better. Both have elements that make them great, like the old school sound on TCD ... read more
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Year End Lists

#1/Rolling Stone
#1/SPIN
#2/Pitchfork
#8/NME

Track List

  1. Wake Up Mr. West 
  2. Heard 'Em Say 
  3. Touch The Sky
  4. Gold Digger 
  5. Skit #1 
  6. Drive Slow 
  7. My Way Home 
  8. Crack Music 
  9. Roses 
  10. Bring Me Down 
  11. Addiction 
  12. Skit #2 
  13. Diamonds From Sierra Leone 
  14. We Major 
  15. Skit #3 
  16. Hey Mama 
  17. Celebration 
  18. Skit #4 
  19. Gone 
  20. Diamonds From Sierra Leone (Bonus Track)
  21. Late (Hidden Track)
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