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Graduation is the third studio album by American rapper Kanye West, released on September 11, 2007 by Roc-A-Fella Records. Recording sessions took place during 2005 to 2007 at Chung King Studios, Sony Music Studios, Chalice Recording Studios, and the Record Plant. It was primarily produced by West himself, with contributions from DJ Toomp, Mike Dean, Nottz, Brian "All Day" Miller, Eric Hudson, Warryn Campbell, Gee Roberson, Plain Pat, and Jon Brion. The album also features guest appearances from Mos Def, Dwele, T-Pain, Lil Wayne, DJ Premier, and Chris Martin of Coldplay, among others. The album's cover art and its interior artwork were designed by Japanese contemporary artist Takashi Murakami, who would design the cover art for West's collaborative effort with Kid Cudi, eponymously titled Kids See Ghosts.
Inspired by stadium tours, house music and indie rock, Graduation marked a departure away from the ornate, soul-based sound of West's previous releases. He musically progressed to a more anthemic style of composing rap songs that would function well when performing in large arenas. Toward this end, West incorporated layered synthesizer sounds into his hip-hop production and dabbled with electronic music while sampling from a wider spectrum of genres and altering his approach to rapping. Lyrically, the album is more introspective in comparison to its predecessors, with West dedicating much of it towards analyzing himself and conveying his ambivalent outlook on his newfound fame. It also continues the education theme of West's first two albums The College Dropout (2004) and Late Registration (2005). The coinciding release dates between Graduation and fellow rapper 50 Cent's Curtis generated much publicity over the idea of a sales competition, resulting in record-breaking sales performances by both albums.
The album debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200, selling over 957,000 copies in its first week of sales. It produced five singles, including the international hits "Stronger", "Good Life" and "Homecoming", the former of which topped the Billboard Hot 100. The album has sold over 2,700,000 copies in the United States and been certified double platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America. Graduation received generally favorable reviews from most critics, and earned West several accolades, including his third Grammy Award for Best Rap Album. The success of record and outcome of the competition marked a turning point in hip hop culture, when the dominance of gangsta rap in mainstream hip-hop was brought to an end. It's accredited to paving the way for other hip-hop artists who did not conform to gangster conventions to find commercial acceptance. West promoted Graduation with the Glow in the Dark Tour that spanned from April 2008 to December 2008.

Source: Wikipedia


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