Cruel Summer - Various Artists
Metascore
68

Generally favorable reviews - based on 28 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 28
  2. Negative: 0 out of 28
  1. 91
    Cruel Summer is a posse album struck in West's image, full of the same idiosyncratic bombast that has fueled his biggest hits. He's a benevolent host, letting each squad member show off his skills.
  2. The surprise is that the attention requires so little effort, because there's always a musical touch to keep you alert.
  3. Oct 25, 2012
    80
    Cruel Summer is a mistitled fireworks show from Kanye West and his G.O.O.D. Music label/roster/empire, one that comes off as mixtape-minded follow-up to his flossy Jay-Z team-up Watch the Throne.
  4. Oct 25, 2012
    80
    From start to finish, this album is a great look at what G.O.O.D. Music has to offer. [No. 225, p.95]
  5. Sep 20, 2012
    80
    Cruel Summer has more highlights than most long-gestated efforts.
  6. Sep 19, 2012
    80
    A healthy batch of impressive, often incredible music.
  7. Cruel Summer might be the worst thing in Kanye West's discography thus far, but it's a success as mainstream rap cabal compilation albums go.
  8. Dec 21, 2012
    70
    For all its flaws and excesses, Cruel Summer is an order of magnitude above the dreck of 808s and Heartbreak (2008), and if it doesn't outshine any of Ye's other solo works, I'd argue that it's a deeper and bolder album than last year's Watch the Throne.
  9. 70
    After the twin peaks of 'Watch The Throne' and 'My Beautiful Twisted Dark Fantasy''s rap-pop grandeur, Cruel Summer feels slight in comparison. Still, as a cross section of the most brilliant, solipsistic mind in rap, it's an essential purchase.
  10. Sep 19, 2012
    70
    While everyone else is solid, there are no epiphanies, no "that artist is the next to blow!" moment that particularly deserves mention.
  11. Sep 17, 2012
    70
    It's exactly what everyone expected this much hyped album to be like. We all guessed the Jay-Z appearance and a Wu-Tang member outshining the other acts on show. We all expected insane feats of arrogance... But don't get me wrong, it's a good album.
  12. Sep 17, 2012
    70
    Cruel Summer is heavy and brash, and in that sense, it succeeds. G.O.O.D. Music's first outing successfully showcases the collective's talents, but it's ultimately an underachieving and uneven effort.
  13. Sep 18, 2012
    65
    A handful of guests aside, though, none of G.O.O.D. Music's personalities do much to justify their newfound prominence. If Cruel Summer is meant to be an argument for the label's other talent, it makes a weak case.
  14. Oct 11, 2012
    60
    Other posses succeeded because all members contributed to a central sensibility and ethos that made the whole greater that the sum of its parts. G.O.O.D. Music just obscures the greatness already there.
  15. Sep 28, 2012
    60
    Cruel Summer is certainly an accomplished CD, and perhaps by sheer numbers can claim to be as massive as it assumes, but it's mostly a disc that don't have much unifying character other than "yea, this sounds as big as G.O.O.D. Music's ego."
  16. Sep 27, 2012
    60
    All the best cuts are Ye-led and stellar. He's as inventive, hilarious and potent as ever. The guest list, however, is less consistent.
  17. 60
    The music Kanye West reserves for his own albums is so much more ambitious than that apportioned to the collaborations on this compilation from his new label, Good Music. Which isn't to say it's not effective.
  18. Sep 20, 2012
    60
    Consider Cruel Summer the first real creative vacation West has taken in his illustrious career – an occasionally exhilarating, ultimately underwhelming showcase for Kanye and his friends.
  19. Sep 18, 2012
    60
    So no, this is not a cohesive crew album, but has there really been one since Marley Marl's In Control, Vol. 1 came out 24 years ago?
  20. Sep 18, 2012
    60
    While every second of Cruel Summer sounds high quality, it never feels cohesive.
  21. 60
    For every fiery, self-serious verse here, you'll find at least one maladroit dud.
  22. Sep 26, 2012
    58
    With Cruel Summer, Kanye's corralled an impressive roster of allies and contemporaries to make a sleek, state-of-the-art album that's not half as good as one of those more modest old offerings.
  23. Sep 18, 2012
    55
    The biggest fault of Cruel Summer may be that it lacks a unifying voice or vision.
  24. Sep 24, 2012
    50
    Cruel Summer isn't a Kanye album per se, but even as a high-pedigree compilation, it still falls flat.
  25. Sep 18, 2012
    50
    Cruel Summer is half a classic and half a concession to mediocre talents.
  26. Sep 25, 2012
    40
    Cruel Summer has too few of these transcendent moments and is decidedly less than the sum of its parts.
  27. Sep 18, 2012
    40
    Mr. West is often nowhere to be found, and more crucially, nowhere to be felt. Parts of this album - "Sin City," "The One," "Creepers" - feature what's easily the laziest music on any Kanye-related project, with no trace of his trademark meticulousness.
  28. Sep 17, 2012
    40
    At least five of these songs [out of twelve] should've remained on the cutting room floor.
User Score
7.6

Generally favorable reviews- based on 84 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 18
  2. Negative: 1 out of 18
  1. Sep 20, 2012
    10
    Severely mis-appreciated - that would be the perfect way to describe Cruel Summer. The reason why the album will have a low score is not because it is bad - in fact, it's a great album. However, most reviewers (professional or not) are judging this album based of "what they expected". This is wrong; sure, considering GOOD Music's roster, the album may have been much, much better, but you have to be objective and take the album for what it is - a compilation showcasing GOOD's main artists. If you can do so, you will realize, that this is a great release. None of the other labels pay as much attention to detail as GOOD. If you listen to this album along with all the other label compilations out there, you will realize - GOOD is the best (mainstream) group out there, at the moment. Full Review »
  2. Sep 19, 2012
    5
    Pros
    . Some really interesting but simple production styles on most of these tracks like Clique, New God Flow & Mercy, Cold. I think the
    production is kind of the saving grace on this album especially when you have Kanye, Hit-Boy, and Hudson Mowake producing.
    . Pusha-T, Cyhi, and Kanye has some really nice bars along with some of the extra guests like Jay-Z, Ghostface Killah, and Raekwon.

    Cons
    . Cheesy tracks like To The World & The One
    . Bad Hooks
    . Very disjointed
    . Some lazy verses
    . Guests like Jay-Z and rappers from Wu-Tang overpower GOOD Music artists
    . Where is Mr. Hudson?
    . Not a GOOD example of what G.O.O.D music has to offer(next time only good music artists)
    Full Review »
  3. Sep 19, 2012
    10
    Not as good as a Kanye solo album but still an almost very good album! Best songs are Clique, Creepers, The One and To The World. Disappointed not to see Mr Hudson though! Full Review »