Cruel Summer (GOOD Music album)

Cruel Summer
Compilation album by GOOD Music
Released September 14, 2012 (2012-09-14)
Recorded 2011–12[1]
Genre Hip hop
Length 54:31
GOOD Music chronology
Cruel Summer
Cruel Winter
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. The album features appearances from West himself, along GOOD Music signees Pusha T, Big Sean, Teyana Taylor, Cyhi the Prynce, Kid Cudi, John Legend, Common, D'banj and Malik Yusef, and also features contributions by GOOD Music affiliates 2 Chainz, Jay Z, Travi$ Scott and more. Production on the album was primarily handled by members of GOOD Music's production wing, Very GOOD Beats, including West, Hit-Boy, Hudson Mohawke, Travis Scott and Lifted, among others.

Cruel Summer received generally lukewarm reviews from 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

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, Big Sean and Travi$ Scott. 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's artwork 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 2 respectively on the Billboard Hot 100 and Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs singles charts.[14]

Critical reception

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Review scores
The A.V. ClubC+[24]
The Guardian[25]
The Independent[26]
The Irish Times[27]
MSN MusicB+[28]
Rolling Stone[31]

Cruel Summer received generally lukewarm reviews from critics.[21] At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream publications, the album received an average score of 68, based on 28 reviews.[22] 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."[32] 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."[24] 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."[33] 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".[34] 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".[31] The magazine later named it the 24th best record of 2012 in a year-end list.[35]

Adam Fleischer from XXL felt the songs featuring West were Cruel Summer's highlights.[36] Andy Gill of The Independent viewed it as less "ambitious" than West's own albums and said 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".[26] Paul MacInnes of The Guardian wrote that his "penchant for superabundance is one of the most exhilirating [sic] things in pop music."[25] Priya Elan of NME felt that the album is "essential" as "a cross section of the most brilliant, solipsistic mind in rap".[29] MSN Music critic Robert Christgau was less enthusiastic and said the rapping is clever but plagued by a "Conspicuous Consumption Equals Authentic Negritude" philosophy, although he was impressed by the music: "The surprise is that the attention requires so little effort, because there's always a musical touch to keep you alert".[28]

Commercial performance

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

No. TitleWriter(s)Producer(s) Length
1. "To the World" (featuring Kanye West, R. Kelly and Teyana Taylor)
2. "Clique" (featuring Kanye West, Jay Z and Big Sean)
3. "Mercy" (featuring Kanye West, Big Sean, Pusha T and 2 Chainz)
  • Lifted
  • West[b]
4. "New God Flow" (featuring Kanye West, Pusha T and Ghostface Killah)
  • West
  • Boogz and Tapez[a]
  • Kilhoffer[b]
5. "The Morning" (featuring Raekwon, Pusha T, Common, 2 Chainz, Cyhi the Prynce, Kid Cudi and D'banj)
6. "Cold" (performed by Kanye West featuring DJ Khaled)Hit-Boy 3:36
7. "Higher" (featuring The-Dream, Mase, Pusha T and Cocaine 80s)
8. "Sin City" (featuring John Legend, Travis Scott, Teyana Taylor, Cyhi the Prynce and Malik Yusef)
  • John Stephens
  • Webster
  • Decker
  • Taylor
  • J. Young
  • C. Young
  • Jones
  • Victoria McCants
9. "The One" (featuring Kanye West, Big Sean, 2 Chainz and Marsha Ambrosius)
10. "Creepers" (featuring Kid Cudi)Black 3:14
11. "Bliss" (featuring John Legend and Teyana Taylor)
Hudson Mohawke 3:30
12. "Don't Like" (featuring Kanye West, Chief Keef, Pusha T, Big Sean and Jadakiss)
Total length:
Sample credits[40]


Credits for Cruel Summer adapted from Allmusic.[41]

  • 2 Chainz – primary artist
  • Virgil Abloh – creative director
  • Marsha Ambrosius – primary artist, vocals
  • Chris Atlas – marketing
  • Craig Balmoris – producer
  • Daniel Betancourt – engineer
  • Big Sean – primary artist
  • Dan Black – producer
  • Tommy Brown – producer
  • Don C. – A&R
  • Guido Callarelli – art direction
  • Jim Caruana – assistant, engineer
  • Chief Keef – primary artist
  • Common – primary artist
  • D'Banj – primary artist
  • Mike Dean – additional production, keyboards, mixing
  • DJ Khaled – primary artist
  • DJ Pharris – vocals
  • The-Dream – primary artist
  • James Fauntleroy II – vocals
  • Mannie Fresh – producer
  • Ghostface Killah – primary artist
  • Noah Goldstein – engineer, keyboards, mastering, mixing, vocals
  • Hit-Boy – producer
  • Hudson Mohawke – musician, producer
  • Jadakiss – primary artist
  • Jay-Z – primary artist
  • Doug Joswick – package production
  • R. Kelly – engineer, primary artist
  • Kid Cudi – primary artist
  • Anthony Kilhoffer – additional production, engineer, keyboards, mastering, mixing, musician, producer, sound effects
  • Rob Kinelski – engineer
  • John Legend – background vocals, primary artist

  • Ken Lewis – additional production, engineer
  • Andrea Martin – vocals
  • Mase – primary artist
  • Ian Mereness – engineer
  • Fabien Montique – photography
  • Julian Nixon – producer
  • Oakwud – producer
  • Keith Parry – mixing assistant
  • Richard Parry – assistant
  • Joe Perez – graphic design
  • Che Pope – A&R, executive producer, programming
  • Cyhi da Prynce – primary artist
  • Pusha T – primary artist
  • Raekwon – primary artist
  • Patrick "Plain Pat" Reynolds – A&R
  • Montez Roberts – engineer
  • Todd Russell – art producer
  • Bart Schoudel – engineer
  • Travi$ Scott – primary artist, producer
  • Nael Shehade – engineer
  • Rob Suchecki – assistant
  • Bill Sullivan – engineer
  • Teyana Taylor – primary artist
  • Scott Townsend – art producer
  • Twilite Tone – additional production, producer
  • Anna Ugarte – assistant
  • Andrew "Pop" Wansel – producer
  • Kanye West – additional production, creative director, executive producer, primary artist, producer
  • Kristen Yiengst – art producer
  • Young Chop – producer
  • Malik Yusef – primary artist
  • Izvor Zivkovic – management


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

List of release date, showing country, and record label
Region Date Label
Ireland[50] September 14, 2012
New Zealand[51]
United Kingdom[53] September 17, 2012
United States[54] September 18, 2012


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