THIS TWO DISC SET INCLUDES BONUS CD WITH THREE PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED SONGS. Eminem's fourth album offers few surprises, but still enough pleasures to carry the day. As evinced by Em's pre-election, pro-voting "Mosh," this is not exactly the same Eminem who seemingly crapped on anything and everything. Encore finds a surprisingly mature Eminem waxing reflective about his battle with Benzino ("Like Toy Soldiers") rather than unloading both barrels. However, it's not all elder statesmanship: "Puke" goes after his ex-wife Kim with incredible scorn, and "Big Weenie" showcases the familiar juvenile humor that made him famous. If Encore has a clear weakness, it's the bland production--the same plodding sound that he and Dr. Dre cooked up on the previous three albums. The exotic flavor of "Ass Like That" catches the ear, but many others run off the same monotonous minor-key melodies and tempos. Of course, people buy Eminem albums to hear him spit first and foremost, and in that regard few fans will be disappointed by Encore; it'd just be nice to see him switch up his sound at some point. --Oliver Wang
The original release of songs in A minor sold more than 12 million albums worldwide and garnered Keys with her first five, of 14 total, GrammyÂ® Awards including Best New Artist, Best Song of the Year for Fallin, and Best R&B Album. In celebration of the 10th Anniversary of ths album, the first ever vinyl edition of this breakthrough album is now available on 2 180g LPs.
Manufacturer: Roc A Fella
Brand: Umgd/Def Jam
Late Registration is the follow up to Kanye's smash debut The College Dropout. The first single 'Diamonds From Sierra Leone' samples vocals of the legendary Shirley Bassey. Highlights include 'Gold Digger' featuring Jaime Foxx and 'Hear Em Say' featuring Adam Levine of Maroon 5. John Mayer also makes a guest appearance on what is sure to the album of the year. Def Jam. 2005. For haters eager to see Kanye hit a sophomore slump--no such luck. Late Registration can't replicate the novelty of last year's College Dropout, but otherwise, this is an impressively more mature and labored-over album. Lyrically, Kanye's only improved a notch but musically, the album sounds incredible, especially with co-producer Jon Brion helping polish the songs to perfection. Tracks like "Heard 'Em Say" (featuring Maroon 5's Adam Levine) and "Hey Mama," are richly textured in their soulfulness while the flint-edge of "Crack Music" and "Gone" (feat. Cam'ron) will appeal to the street-oriented. There's a few duds on here--the sickly-sweet, syrupy "Bring Me Down" (feat. Brandy) being one of the worst offenders--but when the album's good, it's very, very good. In short, Kanye's detractors may not be swayed in their resistance to his charms but not only will his past supporters be rewarded but Late Registration has enough appeal to earn new crowds of fans. --Oliver Wang
Manufacturer: Roc A Fella
Brand: Umgd/Def Jam
Late Registration is the follow up to Kanye's smash debut The College Dropout. The first single 'Diamonds From Sierra Leone' samples vocals of the legendary Shirley Bassey. Highlights include 'Gold Digger' featuring Jaime Foxx and 'Hear Em Say' featuring Adam Levine of Maroon 5. John Mayer also makes a guest appearance on what is sure to the album of the year. CLEAN VERSION. Def Jam. 2005.
Late Registration is the second studio album by American hip hop artist Kanye West, released on August 30, 2005, by Roc-A-Fella Records. Recording sessions for the album took place over the course of a year at Record Plant Studios, Chalice Recording Studios, and Grandmaster Recording Studios in Hollywood, and at Sony Music Studios in New York City. West collaborated with American record producer and composer Jon Brion to produce Late Registration, and the album features guest contributions from artists such as Jay-Z, Common, Lupe Fiasco, Jamie Foxx, Nas, Brandy, and Adam Levine, among others. Upon its release, Late Registration received rave reviews from music critics and earned West several accolades, including a Grammy Award for Best Rap Album at the 2006 Grammy Awards and an Album of the Year nomination. It appeared at the top of several publications year-end lists of top albums. Rolling Stone named it the best album of 2005, and included it at number 118 on its list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time in 2012
Seven years after her debut at just 15 years old, Aaliyah assembled a third studio album that was astonishingly mature. Sadly, her death just a little over a month after its release stilled a promising voice in R&B. At 22, when most artists would just be getting started, Aaliyah had already progressed from pop to street to an unconventional retro-modern, risk-taking version of R&B. While lead track "We Need a Resolution" is as mainstream as it gets, there are fewer hits on this album than on previous efforts. Instead, this collection is an extraordinary romantic exposition of passion and pain. While Missy Elliott is cranking out jams for all her "club freaks," Aaliyah is like a modern-day (if less vocally gifted) Minnie Riperton, exploring the pains of moving from child star to adult sex symbol. Tracks such as "Never No More" and "I Care 4 U" (featuring Missy) are slinky, twisted ballads imbued with film-noir sultriness, as diva Aaliyah steps catlike away from the bubblegum R&B of her contemporaries. There's also the obligatory rock track tacked on near the end ("I Can Be"), but even this excels above the standard hip-hop/rock/R&B crossover fare with its Prince-like influences coupled with Aaliyah's own instinct for seduction. Aaliyah also signaled a move away from her long-standing musical relationship with producer Timbaland, who contributes just three cuts. Having started out heavily supported by R.Â Kelly, it appeared that Aaliyah was more than able to go it alone. --Jake Barnes