If this had been released by any other label, it would have been received as a solid rap compilation with perhaps a bit more big budget frills than expected. But this is the first comp from Kanye West’s G.O.O.D. Music and as such is judged against the high standards expected of West (largely set by West himself).
In early July of this year, Pitchfork published a round-up of speculation on what would be on the album over two months before its release, and West made headlines by merely tweeting the album cover a month later. All much more fuss than accompanied, say, Irv Gotti Presents: The Inc.
The album was finally released on Sept. 18, missing the album title’s self-imposed deadline by at least three months (West has a history of fucking up here; last year he threatened “Now I’m ‘bout to make them tuck they whole summer in” on an album, Watch The Throne, that didn’t even come out until August).
Reviews were lukewarm—after freaking out in anticipation, Pitchfork gave it a 6.5—but Cruel Summer’s actually not bad overall and provides a convenient one-stop shop for various tracks that made noise on rap radio and music blogs. A couple weeks after it came out, G.O.O.D. Music signee Q-Tip let slip that Cruel Summer may see a sequel called Cruel Winter, which will probably come out in mid-April—if at all.