Written by M.J. Rawls
Since the release of 2012 release of G.O.O.D. Music’s Cruel Summer, there was always speculation of Cruel Winter either following it shortly after or being recorded. Reactions to the compilation album were hit and miss, but you also have to keep in mind the album that preceded it; the Jay-Z and Kanye West joint release, 2011’s Watch the Throne. That’s a tough act to follow in itself. Still, Cruel Summer gave us anthems like “Clique,” “Mercy,” and the “Don’t Like” remix. It’s hard to make an accurate collection of such an array of talent and the album touched on it, but there was still more to give.
Kanye West has been on a release tear as of late with the “evolving album,” The Life of Pablo and a rumor to another solo album to be released this year. In a lot of ways, TLOF has primed us for another G.O.O.D. music album. As much as Pablo is considered a “solo” album, it is more of a collaborative effort with the likes of Chance the Rapper, Rihanna, Chris Brown and more. With previous collaborations, you can tell that one of West’s gifts is that he can take multiple artists and somehow make their specialties complement each other. This brings us to “Champions”, the surprise single from the upcoming Cruel Winter crew album. With a recent stop to Big Boy’s 92.3, West explained that, “I had the basic beat for a year and a half. It sounded right for the project.”
It begins with a hard-knocking 808-reminiscent of the previous “Don’t Like” remix held together with humming synths over the top. Desiigner and Travis Scott take care of the overall chorus with a good mix of ad-libs and words that you can chant. This is the ultimate G.O.O.D. music anthem that came together in parts over many years. Quavo, Kanye West, Yo Gotti, Big Sean, Gucci Mane, and 2 Chainz all add their parts that inject their own flavor. 2 Chainz might be in the lead in reference to the best verse, “I took a nap in the pulpit/I never like how a suit fit/I got a pocket full of money/It got me walking all slew-foot.”
I wouldn’t negate Big Sean’s verse as well “Blow the check up, detonation/Kill ’em one by one, Final Destination.” Cruel Winter might be even more cohesive with West “hitting that Ye button” and bringing a bunch of athematic, “cold” songs to your summer playlists.