Late Registration Roc-a-Fella Music ••••½Sound ••••½
When you claim you're The Greatest, you better back it up with a knockout punch. Muhammad Ali did it in boxing - Kanye West does it in hip-hop. Having floored us with The College Dropout, Kanye floats and stings with even greater musicality and wordplay on Late Registration. With producer Jon Brion in his corner, he delivers the soulful, socially astute "Crack Music" (with raps from The Game and addictive backup vocals), the gorgeous R&B cut "Roses" (bass and keyboards bloom here), the glittering "We Major" (co-starring Nas), and the lushly orchestrated "Bring Me Down" (featuring a fiery Brandy). After Round 2, Kanye still holds the heavyweight title.