Label: G.O.O.D. Music/Def Jam
Producers: Kanye West, Che Pope, Andrew "Pop" Wansel, Anthony Kilhoffer, Boogz & Tapez, Dan Black, Hit-Boy, Hudson Mohawke, Illmind, Jeff Bhasker, Ken Lewis, Lifted, Mano, Mannie Fresh, Mike Dean, Mike Will, The Twilite Tone, Tommy Brown, Travi$ Scott, Young Chop
Features: R. Kelly, Teyana Taylor, Jay Z, Big Sean, Pusha T, 2 Chainz, Ghostface Killah, Raekwon, Cyhi the Prynce, Kid Cudi, D'banj, DJ Khaled, The-Dream, Mase, Cocaine 80s, John Legend, Travis Scott, Malik Yusef, Marsha Ambrosius, Chief Keef, Jadakiss
The best teams are said to be greater than the sum of their parts. Cruel Summer actually feels lesser than the sum of its parts. Released on September 14, just six days before the end of Summer 2012, the G.O.O.D. Music collective album is widely considered a failure, despite the fact that it boasts two smash hit singles in "Mercy" and "Clique," two legitimate bangers in "Cold" and "New God Flow," as well as an all-star remix of Chief Keef's massive "I Don't Like."
Cruel Summer's undoing is its unchecked, aimless grandiosity, from the R. Kelly album opener to that unbearable "Sin City" spoken word interlude. It suffers from lack of focus. Who exactly was part of the G.O.O.D. Music crew at this point? One of the most prominently featured artists on the album, 2 Chainz, is not. Nor are Mase, Ghostface, Raekwon, Marsha Ambrosius. You know who is a part of the crew? Kanye West. Guess who we wish was on the album more. —Rob Kenner