Kanye's true genius has always been his leeching onto more talented beatmakers. Don't forget: dude learned the ropes from NO I.D. and Hi-Tek. Harlem pop rapper and production prodigy 88-Keys is the next ace he'll surely jack; his conceptually profound debut, The Death of Adam, likely would have been aurally astounding whether or not West stepped up as executive producer. Thankfully, aside from the decent lead single, "Stay Up! (Viagra)," it doesn't sound like hip-hop's premier prima donna contributed much beyond his name.
To escort heads through his lightheartedly promiscuous and sporadically alarming trail of romance, Keys employs a variety of strings, feedback effects, chipmunk soul samples, and, yes — keys. All 88 of them, it seems.
Like any competent gigolo, he also treats guests well, allowing Phonte, Redman, Bilal, and others to showcase themselves without spoiling the thematic climaxes that Keys reaches with each song while still piecing everything together for a full opus. Unfortunately, some cuts — most notably "Morning Wood," "Friends Zone," and "M.I.L.F." — dip into shamefully trite territories, which leads me to believe that Kanye may have had some heavy input after all.