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Dear diary

It's been eight years since I started out

Forced into education, the traditional route

Go to school, get a job, get a wife

This, my son, this is the good life

But I knew it wasn't for me, I had no doubt

I didn't fit in, so I simply dropped out

And look at me now, I did it, a late bloomer, fine

But so much more than just another nobody college dropout

 

I don't pretend that I'm a genius

Just one of many more billion children of Jesus

But that's not gonna stop me trynna beat this

Will my success into existence

With nothing more than my faith and persistence

Self-actualising myself into bein' royalty

My self-actualisation will be nothing short of fuckin' holy, man—

Greek myths and renaissance men aren't just fantasy, like

Sisyphus rolling the boulder up the mountain for all eternity

Believing that what he was doing was somehow worthy, heavenly

And who am I to call that vanity?

Roll a boulder up a hill just to watch it come straight back down and still keep your sanity

How can you imagine a man doing something like that anything but happily?

If THE COLLEGE DROPOUT was Kanye’s introduction to the world, LATE REGISTRATION is where Kanye made a statement: many of the tracks, namely "Gold Digger" and "Crack Music" were exactly the type of reason every suburban mum put a ban on Kanye's music in their homes as soon as they dropped. This type of thematically provocative music on the charts and mainstream radio, from a voice unheard to a lot of people (that of a black man from Chicago), Ye had nothing to prove and something to say. And he said it in such a way where it seemed he didn't care what you thought, as long as it made you think. And while this is what my mum would call arrogance (his public antics included), I call that bravery.

 

Looking back, LATE REGISTRATION may have some stale moments and a few rough spots where Kanye is trying to reach for concepts he (and we) just weren't ready for yet (his follow-up instrumental album, LATE ORCHESTRATION is another one of those examples), though his head and heart were in the right place. The passion was certainly never vacant. In fact, there are some of Kanye’s most affecting tracks on here; that unpolished sort-of excited sparkle behind his vocals — moments of barely controllable emotion behind his voice — and the erratic, jazzy beats on tracks like "Drive Slow" and the pop-influence of tracks like "Touch The Sky" make this a fun and fascinating album to revisit.

 

Even if LATE REGISTRATION isn’t lyrically, or even consistently, one of Kanye’s strongest albums, his brand of sly, biting humour and unflinching enthusiasm in his verses shines through the rough cracks of someone attempting to break free of the form — something Kanye has always struggled with. But witnessing Kanye try, seeing someone struggle, hearing someone’s voice break at notes they’re not ready for but sensing the passion behind them, and the music driving and underlying sense of love — is still special to hear. Seeing someone reach out and try to simply touch us, while fully aware that they aren’t clean or polished — a perfectionist's nightmare — is heartbreakingly beautiful. Passion in art is something Kanye has always done unimaginably good. And, maybe, he never did it better than here.

If THE COLLEGE DROPOUT was Kanye’s introduction to the world, LATE REGISTRATION is where Kanye made a statement: many of the tracks, namely "Gold Digger" and "Crack Music" were exactly the type of reason every suburban mum put a ban on Kanye's music in their homes as soon as they dropped. This type of thematically provocative music on the charts and mainstream radio, from a voice unheard to a lot of people (that of a black man from Chicago), Ye had nothing to prove and something to say. And he said it in such a way where it seemed he didn't care what you thought, as long as it made you think. And while this is what my mum would call arrogance (his public antics included), I call that bravery.

 

Looking back, LATE REGISTRATION may have some stale moments and a few rough spots where Kanye is trying to reach for concepts he (and we) just weren't ready for yet (his follow-up instrumental album, LATE ORCHESTRATION is another one of those examples), though his head and heart were in the right place. The passion was certainly never vacant. In fact, there are some of Kanye’s most affecting tracks on here; that unpolished sort-of excited sparkle behind his vocals — moments of barely controllable emotion behind his voice — and the erratic, jazzy beats on tracks like "Drive Slow" and the pop-influence of tracks like "Touch The Sky" make this a fun and fascinating album to revisit.

 

Even if LATE REGISTRATION isn’t lyrically, or even consistently, one of Kanye’s strongest albums, his brand of sly, biting humour and unflinching enthusiasm in his verses shines through the rough cracks of someone attempting to break free of the form — something Kanye has always struggled with. But witnessing Kanye try, seeing someone struggle, hearing someone’s voice break at notes they’re not ready for but sensing the passion behind them, and the music driving and underlying sense of love — is still special to hear. Seeing someone reach out and try to simply touch us, while fully aware that they aren’t clean or polished — a perfectionist's nightmare — is heartbreakingly beautiful. Passion in art is something Kanye has always done unimaginably good. And, maybe, he never did it better than here.

- Written and Designed by Bryson Edward Howe