Editors’ Notes Kanye West could easily coast after the near-universal acclaim he received for 2004’s The College Dropout. Instead, he challenges himself and raises his game by arguing with himself and hiring soundtrack maestro and one-time Fiona Apple producer Jon Brion as a co-producer for Late Registration, an album good enough to trash any talk of a “sophomore slump.” More engaged with music and the world than ever, West here makes the kind of multilayered sound that few hip-hoppers – or pop musicians, period – have achieved in a while. It’s a set undeniable enough that even his detractors will have a hard time poking many holes in it.

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