After Coachella announced Kanye West as their 2011 headliner, fans responded with disappointment and outrage, many claiming they would rather forego the festival than support the controversial superstar.
Despite West’s less than stellar public persona, I was admittedly puzzled by the magnitude of fans’ fury. Considering that his latest project—My Beautiful, Dark, Twisted Fantasy— is arguably one of the best albums of the year and the charts are currently cluttered with Kanye-tinged hits like “Monster” and “H.A.M.”, it was surprising that amid the banter people failed to notice the impressive quality West’s art. His slated 2011 release with Jay-Z, Watch The Throne, is one of the most highly-anticipated projects in a while, and West’s label, G.O.O.D. Music, had an impressive year of releases from Kid Cudi, John Legend and The Roots and Kanye himself.
We got a preview of the G.O.O.D. Music roster during a 2010 BET AWARDS segment that featured Kanye and his talented team. In it, we saw Pusha T, John Legend, Big Sean, CyHi Da Prince, and Common delivering some serious verses and debuting a sophisticated, intriguing Rosewood Crew style. The black and white spit-session peaked my interest at what Kanye and the G.O.O.D. Music family has up their sleeves for 2011; and made me wonder why I didn’t already know more about the six-year-old label with such a famous head hancho. Below, a glimpse of the G.O.O.D. Music bench, a probable force to be reckoned with:
Pusha T: The younger half of the Clipse, signed up with G.O.O.D. to release his first-ever solo project (sans brother Malice), making his comeback during Kanye’s MTV VMA performance in September. The Virginia-bred rappers had been struggling with pushed projects, an incarcerated manager and other setbacks for years, making us wonder if they would ever resurface. Thankfully, Kanye picked up on the prize-horse— a decision that reaffirms my inclination that he truly knows what he’s doing. His biting lyrics on West’s “So Appalled” have had critics’ tongues wagging since the albums release.
CyHi Da Prince: Not much is known about Kanye’s newest protégé, but his inclusion in the Rosewood Crew has certainly peaked interest. He heats up West’s “So Appalled”alongside Jay-Z, Swizz Beatz and RZA; and his Royal Flush mixtape scored high marks on the street. He’s also featured on Bobby V’s latest single, “Gotta Get Dat Money” and is expected to make a mainstream splash when his time comes.
John Legend: The six-time GRAMMY winner has released power-house projects on G.O.O.D, with his most recent release, Wake Up!, a collaboration with The Roots, is up for five awards more this year, including “Best R&B Album”, “Best Collaboration”, “Best R&B Song” and “Best R&B Performance”. He will be headlining the upcoming Jazz Fest in New Orleans along with Lauryn Hill, Wyclef Jean and Bon Jovi. His current Kanye collabo, “Blame Game” is one of the most hypnotizing tracks on MBDTF.
Kid Cudi: The 26-year-old rapper burst onto the scene in 2009 when his debut single, “Day ‘n’ Nite” broke the Top 5 on Billboard Hot 100 and made Rolling Stone’s list of Top 25 Songs of 2009. His debut album, Man On The Moon: The End of Day received three GRAMMY nominations including “Best Rap Song”. His sophomore release Man On The Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager, debuted at Number 3 on The Billboard Top 200 Chart and prompted praise from critics across the board.
With such a promising line-up, it’s a wonder why this label doesn’t seem to have the credibility it deserves. Can the strength of the music overpower the negative press of the label president? Only time and tempers will tell.