Graduation

Common Sense Media says

Insightful, fairly clean, and never ever boring.

Age(i)

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17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Mostly thoughtful, self-revealing stuff about the challenges of becoming a man in a complex world, including some words of wisdom: "If you admire somebody you should go ahead and tell um/People never get the flowers while they could still smell um," "For me givin' up's way harder than tryin'," and "You graduate when you make it up outta the streets."

Violence

Some visceral lyrics about violence, mostly expressing an anti-violent message, as in "Just last year Chicago had over 600 caskets/Man, killin's some wack s--t."

Sex

More flirty and funny than explicit, especially on the punchline of "Drunk and Hot Girls" ("I thought I'd be with you for only one night/Now I'm with this girl for the rest of my life").

Language

Fondness for the "F" and "S" words, but not nearly as tediously as on some other hip-hip CDs. The "N" word is used a few times.

Consumerism

Clothing and car brands are mentioned; CD package contains ads for ringtones.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Not the biggest deal here: The occasional quick reference to drinking.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Kanye West has done it again. Yes, there are the usual four-letter words here, but there's also some brilliant songwriting with subtle "stay in school" and "never give up" messages, and hip-hop that samples vintage Steely Dan (gotta be a first!).

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Fine performances, exquisite production, and incredibly diverse musical influences make Kanye West's GRADUATION a standout CD. The inspired songwriting includes subtle "stay in school" and "never give up" messages. One song that shines, "Champion," uses a sample of Steely Dan's "Kid Charlemagne" as a recurring theme in between lyrics about a dad sacrificing for his kids "like Will Smith and his son in the movie/I ain't talkin' 'bout the rich ones." Other high points are the single "Stronger," with Daft Punk and Edwin Birdsong, and an inspired collaboration with Chris Martin of Coldplay on "Homecoming."

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Applying imagination and witty intelligence to tracks that make strong but subtle use of guest performers (T-Pain, Lil' Wayne, Mos Def, Dwele, DJ Premire), this artist refuses to be limited by the conventions of his genre.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how Kanye West doesn't have to rely on shock value to put out popular -- and talented -- albums. What takes the place of the racist and sexist lyrics found in so many other rap CDs? Families can also talk about the apparent obsession with school, whether it be dropping out or graduating. What do you think is the real story here? What does it take to see school through to graduation? Why is it important?

Music details

Artist:Kanye West
Release date:September 11, 2007
Label:Roc-A-Fella
Genre:Hip-hop
Parental advisory:Yes
Edited version available:Yes

This review of Graduation was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Kid, 10 years old July 20, 2013
AGE
12
QUALITY
 

Less Explict Than Other Rap Albums

Kanye West's album is less explict but it still including some cussing like the F-bomb, mother f---er, s--t, the N word and some minor cursing like d--n and h--l. Also, some songs include subtle "stay in school" and more messages. This song is iffy for kids 12 and under but okay for mature young teens.
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much swearing
Kid, 11 years old June 7, 2012
AGE
13
QUALITY
 

Grauation

The average language that you hear in most rap, only used a lot less. Some good messages about staying in school but sometimes he isn't necessarily a good role model
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much swearing
Teen, 15 years old Written byxraynebow March 6, 2012
AGE
17
QUALITY
 

Kanye

That monster! He butchered Harder Better Faster Stronger by Daft Punk! Why? WHY?!?!?

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