Today in Hip Hop History: August 30, 2005
Ten years ago today, hip hop superstar Kanye West released his 2nd studio album, Late Registration, through Roc-A-Fella records. Recording of the album occurred from 2004-2005 in Hollywood and New York City. Kanye West collaborated with American producer and composer Jon Brion, in addition to Just Blaze, Devo Springsteen, and Waryn Campbell on the production of Late Registration. The album also features appearances from Adam Levine, Jamie Foxx, Lupe Fiasco, Common, The Game, Jay-Z, Nas and several others.
The album featured 5 singles, including “Diamonds from Sierra Leone”, “Gold Digger”, “Heard ‘Em Say”, “Touch the Sky”, and “Drive Slow”. West also made 5 different music videos for each of the previous singles. Late Registration is part 2 of Kanye’s planned 4 part education-themed studio albums (he ended up only making 3 parts). He recorded for over a year in addition to spending over 2 million of his own dollars for the overall production of the album.
On Late Registration, Kanye took inspiration from the English trip hop band Portishead and collaborated with Jon Brion’s chamber pop orchestration experience to experimentally dive into a vast ranges of genres. The various range of features, from Adam Levine to Paul Wall to Common display how diverse of an album that Late Registration was. Kanye explained that “his goal for the album was to touch on topics that people from all walks of life could find relatable, while remaining true to himself.”
By the time of its release, Late Registration was expected to move the most copies of any album in 2005, and over 1.6 million physical albums were distributed to stores in preparation of its first week of release. The album also achieved status of one of the most pre-ordered titles in the iTunes store’s history. Additionally, to celebrate the success of the album, West filmed a live album featuring tracks from Late Registration and College Dropout (2004), titled Late Orchestration, which was released in April of 2006.
Late Registration received a nomination for Album of the Year and won Best Rap Album at the 2006 Grammy Awards Show. The single “Gold Digger” also was nominated for Record of the Year and received the award for Best Rap Solo Performance, in addition to “Diamonds from Sierra Leone” winning Best Rap Song. In 2012, Rolling Stone ranked Late Registration as number 118 on its revised list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. The list of accolades for the album goes on and on. Arguably the best album in Kanye West’s decorated discography, Late Registration is without a doubt one of the greatest hip hop albums of all time.