Crack Music

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"Crack Music"
Song by Kanye West featuring The Game
from the album Late Registration
Released August 30, 2005
Recorded 2004–2005
The Record Plant
(Hollywood, California)
Chalice Recording Studios
(Hollywood, California)
Genre Political hip hop
Length 4:31
Label
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)

"Crack Music" is a song by American hip hop artist Kanye West from his second studio album Late Registration (2005), which features fellow rapper The Game. J. Cole released a freestyle over it in September 2011.[1]

Composition and lyrics[edit]

The track contains a sample of 1977 track "Since You Came Into My Life" by The New York Community Choir.[2] West drops a large number of political references throughout it.[3]

Release[edit]

It was revealed by West to TIME that he originally planned on releasing the song with usage of the term 'homey' instead of rapping "nigga", but he elaborated on why that didn't happen by saying:

Take the word nigga. I don't like the word, and I made an attempt to change it on this new song 'Crack Music.' I tried saying, ‘This is crack music, homey,' but it just didn't have the same impact.[4]

In April 2010, Tony Williams revealed that "Crack Music" was supposed to be a Puffy record, until he passed it on to West.[5]

Recording[edit]

Shortly before the release of the album, West revealed in an interview with Dorian Lynskey of The Guardian that the track was recorded after "Diamonds From Sierra Leone" and explained that he was trying to record something different from the song by saying:

All this is saying is, OK I see now, the 'hood does not quite want Shirley Bassey yet, so let me still give them this. Crack Music was made after Diamonds. After black people were like, 'I don't know about this one.' It was like me reaching too high for the cookie jar.[6]

Williams believed that Game had a verse on it at one point.[5]

Critical reception[edit]

Pitchfork felt positively towards "Crack Music", describing it as 'a blustery martial stomp' and complementing: 'its soaring choir and biblically extended outro'.[7] Rolling Stone viewed the track as showcasing West's 'hard-ass politics'.[8]

When listing the 25 best Kanye verses of all time, Complex ranked the first verse at number 22.[9]

Live performances[edit]

On West's 2006 live album Late Orchestration, the song was one of 12 tracks performed live by him. During the performance, West censored the chorus to: "That's that crack music, crack music/That real black music, black music", rather than using "nigga" like Game does in the album version.[10]

Legacy[edit]

In an article published in 2015 by Noisey about how: 'Late Registration turned a College Dropout into a superstar', ten years after it had been released, "Crack Music" was pointed out as the album's: 'purest collision of Kanye’s black radical consciousness'.[11] When publishing an incomplete list of times that the rapper had shown political views throughout the history of his career in 2018, Vanity Fair paid reference to how lyrics from the track show when West: 'tapped into a handful of ways black populations are exploited'.[12] Julia Craven of HuffPost branded the song as her 'favorite example' of how West's: 'ability to lace together tales of black triumph and black people’s ability to make the best with what we have helped me' in a 2018 article about we no longer see West 'boosting the self-esteem of black folks'.[13]

Personnel[edit]

Information taken from Late Registration liner notes.[2]

  • Songwriters: Kanye West, Willard Meeks, Jayceon Taylor
  • Producers: Kanye West, Jon Brion
  • Recorders: Anthony Kilhoffer, Andrew Dawson, Brian Sumner
  • Mixer: Andrew Dawson
  • Assistant Engineers: Richard Reitz, Matt Green
  • Additional vocals: Tony "Penafire" Williams, Keyshia Cole, Charlie Wilson

Alternative versions[edit]

Remix[edit]

"Crack Music (Remix)"
Song by The Game featuring Kanye West
from the album Ghost Unit
Released November 4, 2005
Genre Political hip hop
Length 4:59
Label
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)

On Game's 2005 mixtape Ghost Unit, a remix of "Crack Music" was released which had him as the lead artist and West as the featured one.[14] The verse laid down by Game in the remix may have been originally part of the album track, since Tony Williams thought he did have a verse on it.[5]

Poetry Style[edit]

"Poetry Style"
Song by Kanye West
from the album Freshmen Adjustment 3
Released May 29, 2007
Genre Spoken word
Length 1:42
Label
Songwriter(s) West
Producer(s) West

When West released his 2007 mixtape Freshmen Adjustment 3, a poetry version of the song was included on it - this featured him delivering the entirety of it in spoken word.[15]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "J. Cole - Freestyle (Over Kanye's "Crack Music")". HotNewHipHop. Retrieved October 10, 2018.
  2. ^ a b Late Registration (Media notes). Kanye West. Roc-A-Fella Records. 2005.
  3. ^ "Kanye West: 24 Political References in His Lyrics". Billboard. Retrieved October 10, 2018.
  4. ^ "10 Things You Didn't Know About Kanye West's "Late Registration"". Complex. Retrieved August 4, 2018.
  5. ^ a b c "Tony Williams of GOOD Music Talks Most Memorable Studio Sessions With Kanye". Complex. Retrieved October 10, 2018.
  6. ^ "Interview with Kanye West, the cockiest man in rap". The Guardian. Retrieved October 10, 2018.
  7. ^ "Kanye West: Late Registration Album Review". Pitchfork. Retrieved August 6, 2018.
  8. ^ "Late Registration". Rolling Stone. Retrieved August 6, 2018.
  9. ^ "The 25 Best Kanye West Verses OF ALL TIME!!!". Complex. Retrieved August 6, 2018.
  10. ^ "Crack Music (Live At Abbey Road Studios) by Kanye West". Free Listening on SoundCloud. Retrieved October 10, 2018.
  11. ^ "How Kanye West's 'Late Registration' Turned a College Dropout into a Superstar". Noisey. Retrieved October 11, 2018.
  12. ^ "An Incomplete History of Kanye West's Political Views". Vanity Fair. Retrieved August 6, 2018.
  13. ^ "Saying Goodbye To Kanye West And His Music". Eagle. Retrieved August 6, 2018.
  14. ^ "Ghost Unit - The Game". AllMusic. Retrieved August 6, 2018.
  15. ^ "Freshmen Adjustment 3 Mixtape by Kanye West". DatPiff. Retrieved October 10, 2018.

External links[edit]