Kanye West - Late Registration
Critic Score
Based on 20 reviews
2005 Ratings: #19 / 456
User Score
2005 Ratings: #2
Liked by 139 people
August 30, 2005 / Release Date
LP / Format
Roc-A-Fella / Label
Hip Hop / Genres
kanyewest.com / Website
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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.


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. 

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.

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.


All in all 'Late Registration' is exactly what commercial fans wanted and hip-hop fans needed.

Q Magazine
West substantially fleshed out his sound with this expansive, richly layered and staggeringly ambitious rap landmark.

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.


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

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.


‘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.


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.


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

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.

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.


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.

Slant Magazine

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


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.

NOW Magazine
It's apparent how horrible this might've been without Brion's creative input, which also involves string and brass arrangements on the best track, Bring Me Down. Hopefully, Brion was well-paid for this save.
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.

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
"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
I'm listening to this classic for the first time after 15 years of its release, call it a Late Registration. *insert laugh track*

Wake Up Mr. West #2: Late Registration

As The College Dropout blasted Kanye West into the Hip-Hop landscape, Late Registration cemented Kanye into a well-respected individual among peers and audiences.

Uncharted. One of the best game series of all time. While Uncharted 1 was fantastic, Uncharted 2 took the series to a whole new level. What makes this game ... read more

I think one word I can use to describe the albums I gift perfect scores are "pure".

They all provide the kind of experiences I fail to find anywhere else. "Plastic Beach" is a tense-less journey through an island of paradise that seems too good to be true.

"Stankonia" is a gorgeous voyage through incomparable landscapes that always leaves me speechless by the conclusion.

And "Deltron 3030" depicts a world that feels exaggerated yet ... read more
I love Kanye!
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Year End Lists

#1/Rolling Stone

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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