Cruel Summer (GOOD Music album)

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Cruel Summer
Compilation album by GOOD Music
ReleasedSeptember 14, 2012 (2012-09-14)
GenreHip hop
LabelGOOD, Def Jam
Kanye West chronology
Watch the Throne
Cruel Summer
Singles from Cruel Summer
  1. "Mercy"
    Released: April 3, 2012
  2. "Cold"
    Released: April 17, 2012
  3. "New God Flow"
    Released: July 21, 2012
  4. "Clique"
    Released: September 6, 2012
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Cruel Summer
Compilation album by GOOD Music
ReleasedSeptember 14, 2012 (2012-09-14)
GenreHip hop
LabelGOOD, Def Jam
Kanye West chronology
Watch the Throne
Cruel Summer
Singles from Cruel Summer
  1. "Mercy"
    Released: April 3, 2012
  2. "Cold"
    Released: April 17, 2012
  3. "New God Flow"
    Released: July 21, 2012
  4. "Clique"
    Released: September 6, 2012

Cruel Summer is a compilation album[2] by recording artists of American record label GOOD Music, released on September 14, 2012, by the label and Def Jam Recordings. American rapper Kanye West, head of the label, first revealed plans for a label collaborative album in October 2011. The album produced four singles—"Mercy", "Cold", "New God Flow", and "Clique"—that charted on the US Billboard Hot 100.

Cruel Summer received generally positive reviews from music critics, who commended its hubristic style and the tracks featuring West, but found it uneven as an album. It debuted at number two on the US Billboard 200, selling 205,000 copies in its first week. The album also reached the top 10 of charts in Australia, Canada, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. As of November 4, 2012, Cruel Summer has sold 389,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

Background and recording[edit]

Kanye West founded the GOOD Music label in 2004.[3] Since the label's inception, multiple acts have been signed to the label, including close collaborators of West such as Kid Cudi, Common, John Legend, Pusha T and Big Sean. West first announced plans for a GOOD Music album in October 2011 via his Twitter account, writing: "GOODMUSIC.THE ALBUM.SPRING2012".[4] Later on May 23, 2012, the title was revealed in part with a film, Cruel Summer, which debuted at the Cannes Film Festival.[5] The album was originally slated for release on August 7, 2012, but underwent several delays.[6]

Pusha T said that he recorded over 20 verses for the album, and a song with Big Sean and Common called "Trash Bags" that was ultimately scrapped.[7] American rapper Azealia Banks also said that she recorded with West earlier in 2012, but her contributions were not included on the album.[8]


Cruel Summer was made available to pre-order on the website of the Japanese branch of retail chain HMV on September 1, 2012, revealing the album's track listing as well as each track's respective performers.[9][10]

The album art was designed by DONDA, West's creative agency.[11]


"Mercy", a collaboration between Kanye West, Big Sean, Pusha T and 2 Chainz, was released as the album's lead single on April 3, 2012. The track was premiered by Funkmaster Flex's Hot 97 radio show and was released onto the Internet the following day onto West's official website.[12] The release of the track continued West's GOOD Fridays, a music giveaway that provided free MP3 downloads every week, which had been on hiatus since December 2010.[13] The song peaked at number 13 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and topped the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and Hot Rap Songs charts.[14]

"Cold", featuring DJ Khaled, was released as the album's second single. The track was then released as a single onto iTunes on April 17, 2012.[15] Following its digital release, the song impacted urban contemporary radio on May 8, 2012.[16] The single peaked at numbers 89 and 69 respectively on the Billboard Hot 100 and Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs singles charts.[14]

"New God Flow", a collaboration between Pusha T and Kanye West, was released onto iTunes as the album's third single on July 21, 2012.[17] It first premiered at the 2012 BET Awards on July 2, 2012, with West performing an a cappella version of his verse.[18] The song peaked at number 89 on the Billboard Hot 100.[19] "Clique", a collaboration between Kanye West, Jay-Z and Big Sean, was released as the album's fourth single on September 7, 2012.[20] The single peaked at numbers 12 and 22 respectively on the Billboard Hot 100 and Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs singles charts.[14]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic4/5 stars[21]
The A.V. ClubC+[22]
Robert ChristgauB+[23]
The Guardian4/5 stars[24]
The Independent3/5 stars[25]
Pitchfork Media6.5/10[27]
Rolling Stone3/5 stars[28]
Slant Magazine2.5/5 stars[29]

Cruel Summer received generally positive reviews from music critics.[31] At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 68, based on 28 reviews.[32] Christopher R. Weingarten of Spin felt that it is "not a cohesive crew album" and called it "a runway show of small, costly, uncomfortable missteps."[30] Nathan Rabin, writing in The A.V. Club, said that it "feels like an unusually crowded solo album, but West’s affiliates don’t share his gift for fusing self-aggrandizement with soul-searching reflection."[22] Slant Magazine's Ted Scheinman observed no "concept or production value to hold" the album, which he felt "isn't a Kanye album per se, but even as a high-pedigree compilation, it still falls flat."[29] Jon Caramanica of The New York Times complimented the album's four singles for "show[ing] [West] at or near his best", but found GOOD Music's other rappers to be "a mixed bag".[33] Jonah Weiner of Rolling Stone called the album "occasionally exhilarating, ultimately underwhelming", and observed "no grand statements, but plenty of hot lines", with West as "the star ... who bum-rushes every song he's on like it's someone else's acceptance speech".[28]

Adam Fleischer of XXL cited the songs with West as the album's highlights.[34] Andy Gill of The Independent viewed it as less "ambitious" than West's own albums and said that the songs "may lack grandeur, but they bring a sinister, stalking ambience that matches the blend of money, mystery and menace in the contributions of collaborators".[25] Paul MacInnes of The Guardian wrote that his "penchant for superabundance is one of the most exhilirating [sic] things in pop music."[24] Priya Elan of NME felt that the album is "essential" as "a cross section of the most brilliant, solipsistic mind in rap".[26] MSN Music's Robert Christgau gave the album a "B+",[23] indicating "remarkable one way or another, yet also flirts with the humdrum or the half-assed."[35] He found the rapping to be clever, but plagued by a "Conspicuous Consumption Equals Authentic Negritude" philosophy, and stated, "The surprise is that the attention requires so little effort, because there's always a musical touch to keep you alert".[23]

Rolling Stone ranked Cruel Summer number 24 on their year-end best albums list.[36]

Commercial performance[edit]

The album debuted at number two on the US Billboard 200, selling 205,000 copies in its first week.[37] It also entered at number one on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums.[37] Cruel Summer debuted at number four on the Canadian Albums Chart, with first-week sales of 12,000 copies in Canada.[38] As of November 4, 2012, Cruel Summer has sold 389,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan.[39]

Track listing[edit]

1."To the World" (featuring Kanye West, R. Kelly and Teyana Taylor)Kanye West, Robert Kelly, Andrew Wansel, Warren Felder, Che Smith, Malik JonesWansel, Oakwud, West[a], Hudson Mohawke[b], Ken Lewis[b], Mano[b], Travis Scott[b], Anthony Kilhoffer[b]3:51
2."Clique" (featuring Kanye West, Jay-Z and Big Sean)Chauncey Hollis, Sean Anderson, West, Alexander Izquierdo Shawn Carter, James FauntleroyHit-Boy, West[a], Kilhoffer[b], Noah Goldstein[b]4:53
3."Mercy" (featuring Kanye West, Big Sean, Pusha T and 2 Chainz)West, Stephan Taft, Anderson, Terrence Thornton, Tauheed Epps, James Thomas, Denzie Beagle, Winston Riley, Reggie WilliamsLifted, West[b], Mike Will Made It[b], Hudson Mohawke[b], Mike Dean[b]5:26
4."New God Flow" (featuring Kanye West, Pusha T and Ghostface Killah)West, Thornton, Herb Rooney, Ronald Bean, Highleigh Crizoe, Dennis Coles, G.I. Townsend, Marcos ValleWest, Boogz & Tapez[a], Kilhoffer[b]5:57
5."The Morning" (featuring Raekwon, Pusha T, Common, 2 Chainz, Cyhi the Prynce, Kid Cudi, D'banj and Kanye West)West, Ramon Ibanga, Jeff Bhasker, Jacques Webster, Corey Woods, Thornton, Lonnie Lynn, Epps, Cydel Young, Andrea Martin, Alan Lerner, Frederick LoeweWest, Illmind, Bhasker[a], Travis Scott[a]4:35
6."Cold" (featuring Kanye West and DJ Khaled)West, Hollis, James Smith, Marlon WilliamsHit-Boy3:36
7."Higher" (featuring The-Dream, Pusha T, Mase and Cocaine 80s)Hollis, Terius Nash, Thornton, Mason Betha, Fauntleroy, Jeremiah ProbodanuHit-Boy, West[a], Dean[b]4:34
8."Sin City" (featuring John Legend, Travis Scott, Teyana Taylor, Cyhi the Prynce and Malik Yusef)John Stephens, Webster, T. Brown, Taylor, J. Young, C. Young, Jones, Victoria McCantsTommy Brown, Travis Scott4:28
9."The One" (featuring Kanye West, Big Sean, 2 Chainz and Marsha Ambrosius)West, Anderson, Epps, Ambrosius, Sam Bruno, B. Thomas, Jones, Fauntleroy, C. Smith, C. Ridenhour, J. Boxley, Dave Barker, Winston Riley, Ansell CollinsWest, Hudson Mohawke[a], The Twilite Tone[a], Kilhoffer[a], Mannie Fresh[b], Lifted[b]5:44
10."Creepers" (featuring Kid Cudi)Scott Mescudi, Dan BlackBlack3:14
11."Bliss" (featuring John Legend and Teyana Taylor)Stephens, Taylor, Ross Birchard, E. HamiltonHudson Mohawke3:30
12."Don't Like" (featuring Kanye West, Chief Keef, Pusha T, Big Sean and Jadakiss)West, Keith Cozart, Thornton, Anderson, Jason Phillips, Tyree Pittman, Townsend, Barrington Levy, Paul LoveYoung Chop, West[a], The Twilite Tone[b], Goldstein[b]4:43
Total length:
Sample credits[40]


Credits for Cruel Summer adapted from Allmusic.[41]


Chart (2012)Peak
Australian Albums Chart[42]7
Belgian Albums Chart (Flanders)[43]61
Canadian Albums Chart[44]4
Danish Albums Chart[45]12
Dutch Albums Chart[46]69
French Albums Chart[47]30
Swiss Compilations Chart[48]10
UK Compilation Chart[49]2
US Billboard 200[37]2
US Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums[37]1
US Top Rap Albums[37]1

Release history[edit]

List of release date, showing country, and record label
Ireland[50]September 14, 2012GOOD Music, Def Jam
New Zealand[51]
United Kingdom[53]September 17, 2012
United States[54]September 18, 2012


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  2. ^ "Kanye West's 'Cruel Summer' compilation leaks online". NME. IPC Media. September 14, 2012. Retrieved September 22, 2012. 
  3. ^ "Kanye West". AllMusic. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved September 8, 2012. 
  4. ^ "Kanye West Announces G.O.O.D. Music Album". Rap-Up. Retrieved September 8, 2012. 
  5. ^ Kaufman, Gil (May 18, 2012). "Kanye West Reveals G.O.O.D. Music Album Title, 'Cruel Summer' Film". MTV News. MTV Networks. Retrieved September 8, 2012. 
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  13. ^ "Kanye West Promises New Song Every Week Through Christmas – Music, Celebrity, Artist News". MTV Networks. August 23, 2010. Retrieved February 26, 2011. 
  14. ^ a b c "Kanye West – Awards (Billboard Singles)". AllMusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved July 23, 2012. 
  15. ^ Coleman, Miriam (April 15, 2012). "Kanye West Renames 'Theraflu' 'Way Too Cold'". Rolling Stone. Wenner Media. Retrieved April 23, 2012. 
  16. ^ "Urban/UAC Future Releases (May 8, 2012)". All Access Music Group. Archived from the original on May 8, 2012. Retrieved July 5, 2012. 
  17. ^ "New God Flow – Single by Pusha T & Kanye West". iTunes Store. Apple. Retrieved September 8, 2012. 
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  20. ^ "Clique – Single by Kanye West, Jay-Z & Big Sean". iTunes Store. Apple. Retrieved September 8, 2012. 
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  23. ^ a b c Christgau, Robert (October 16, 2012). "Jamey Johnson/G.O.O.D. Music". MSN Music. Microsoft. Retrieved October 16, 2012. 
  24. ^ a b MacInnes, Paul (September 20, 2012). "Kanye West presents GOOD Music: Cruel Summer – review". The Guardian (London). section G2, p. 21. Retrieved September 20, 2012. 
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  26. ^ a b Elan, Priya (September 21, 2012). "Kanye West's Good Music - 'Cruel Summer'". NME (London). Retrieved September 24, 2012. 
  27. ^ Greene, Jayson (September 18, 2012). "G.O.O.D. Music: Cruel Summer". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved September 17, 2012. 
  28. ^ a b Weiner, Jonah (September 20, 2012). "Cruel Summer". Rolling Stone (New York). Retrieved September 20, 2012. 
  29. ^ a b Scheinman, Ted (September 22, 2012). "Various Artists: Kanye West Presents G.O.O.D. Music: Cruel Summer". Slant Magazine. Retrieved September 24, 2012. 
  30. ^ a b Weingarten, Christopher R. (September 17, 2012). "G.O.O.D. Music, 'Cruel Summer' (G.O.O.D. Music-Def Jam)". Spin (New York). Retrieved September 19, 2012. 
  31. ^ "Cruel Summer by G.O.O.D. Music reviews". AnyDecentMusic?. Left-hand column titled "Album to Watch". Archived from the original on September 29, 2012. Retrieved September 18, 2012. The Kanye West compilation 'crew' album featuring artists signed to his G.O.O.D. Music collective is getting a fairly luke-warm response. 
  32. ^ "Cruel Summer Reviews, Ratings, Credits, and More". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved September 19, 2012. 
  33. ^ Caramanica, Jon (September 19, 2012). "Man Who’s Everywhere May Really Be Nowhere". The New York Times. p. C1. Retrieved September 19, 2012. 
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  35. ^ Christgau, Robert (2000). "Key to Icons". Robert Christgau. Retrieved October 16, 2012. 
  36. ^ "50 Best Albums of 2012: GOOD Music Cruel Summer". Rolling Stone. 2012. Retrieved December 21, 2012. 
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  38. ^ Tuch, Paul (September 26, 2012). "P!nk Scores First Number One Album". Nielsen Music 360° Report (Canada): 1. 
  39. ^ Paine, Jake. "Hip Hop Album Sales: The Week Ending 11/4/2012". HipHop DX. Cheri Media Group. Retrieved November 14, 2012. 
  40. ^ a b Cruel Summer (PDF digital booklet). GOOD Music. Def Jam Recordings. 2012. 
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External links[edit]