is the second studio album by American hip hop artist Kanye West
, released in 2005
West's production for Late Registration was notably more lush and elaborate than his 2004 debut The College Dropout. The focal point of West's production style was the use of sped-up vocal samples from soul records. However, such sampling had been much copied by others; with that overuse, and also because West felt he had become too dependent on the technique, he decided to find a new sound.
On Late Registration, West drew inspiration from English trip hop band Portishead and collaborated with film score composer Jon Brion. West was able to utilize production styles and instruments not commonly associated with hip-hop music, including intricate sampling methods and string orchestration. The album features guest contributions from artists such as Jay-Z, Common, Lupe Fiasco, The Game, Jamie Foxx, Nas, Brandy, and Adam Levine.
Adam Levine and Kanye had previously collaborated when Maroon 5 commissioned West to produce a remix for "This Love" and later developed a friendship while sitting together on a flight to Rome for the 2004 MTV Europe Music Awards. While playing songs from his second album on his iPod for him during the flight, West came across the demo for "Heard 'Em Say" to which Levine added a R&B hook he had recently written and thought was perfect for it. The track was recorded quickly after the 2005 Grammy Awards ceremony, as Levine only had a couple of free hours available for time in the studio.
Late Registration produced five singles, including the international hits "Touch the Sky", "Heard 'Em Say" and "Gold Digger", the latter of which topped the Billboard Hot 100 at number one.
The album received a Grammy Award for Best Rap Album at the 2006 Grammy Awards. West's single "Gold Digger" received the Grammy award for Best Rap Solo Performance. He also won Best Rap Song for "Diamonds from Sierra Leone."
Rolling Stone: "Here, Kanye really started showing off. Ranging from triumphal autobiography ("Touch the Sky") to witty club pop ("Gold Digger"), James Bond themes to Houston hip-hop, his second disc remade the musical landscape in his own oddball image"
named it the best album of 2005, and included it at number 118
on its list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time