B.A.D. & W.O.R.S.E. G.O.O.D. Music, Cruel Summer.

Love (My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy) or loathe (808s & Heartbreak), G.O.O.D. Music head honcho Kanye West is, absolutely indubitably, the mercurial hip hop mastermind he unendingly proclaims himself to be. Blazoned as such across the entirety of this here universe, he's The One; the Champion; the Runaway; the Monster: all of the above, and all at once. And in being this polymathic jack of all trades and master of but one, he debatably has less of a clue as to who he really is than we do. Here, in roping associates, aficionados and once adversaries in on his label's début sonic roster, he reminds us all over again of his every trait, whether good, or bad, or indeed inexpressibly ugly.

To The World, a collaboration with a resurgent R. Kelly, immediately elucidates West's keen ear for a synthetic melody to make the heart of an arena quiver like that of a sexually perplexed pubescent down the O2, and yet elements distinctly hamper its faintly heartfelt fascination. First and foremost, the first thing I've heard from R. Kelly in veritable aeons, "Let me see you put your middle fingers up to the world", is fairly ghastly as opening gambits go. That's most probably precisely how he's felt for the past however long he's now been stranded out on the suburbs of relevance for, where he's been afforded ample time to contemplate and reconsider what he's done. Trapped in the Closet was truly abhorrent after all, and as he later affirms: "It's my way, or the highway" you sense most listeners may veer off toward the open roads of the latter. So that's Kelly's sole contribution, and thankfully for the ever unnervingly coiffured Chicagoan, the old Auto-Tune's still working wonders on that unexceptional voice of his. And so we move onto the next one: West.

Well, West doesn't exactly shower himself in glory from the off. His ego is now of a sky scraping stature to genuinely dwarf even Jay-Z' Empire State of Mind, and having professed himself to be the undisputed "God of rap", he rather charmingly chokes of "shitting on you/ Holy crap." Although in reality, it's he who's covered in the hugely unsavoury proverbial, given the rather lacklustre quality to his initial rhymes. Overly concerned with inessential namedropping – a calculated move born of bravado to have long since hampered his rap game – West patently fucks "everything else" aside from anything but casually squeezing those of Francis Ford Coppola, and sometime collaborator Rick Ross, and global investment firm Goldman Sachs, and that objectionable cretin Mitt Romney (he "don't pay no tax", West can unreliably confirm regarding the Republican's offshore accounts etc.) into what is a pretty, well, shitty introduction.

Clique fares little better: this time Shawn (Carter) and Big Sean (Anderson) muscle in on what is an unusually muscular flexing of utter tunelessness. Whether or not this one was ever intended for inclusion on Watch The Throne isn't entirely relevant, although the reasoning for it being here rather than there is surely fairly simple: holy crap, is it unadulterated cack. About as unnecessarily violent as Chris Brown even in vitriolic slumber, cheap and brittle breaks snap over a toothless bottom end entirely devoid of bass. As Carter scarpers, West's then up again on Mercy, a track seething with the redundant male malevolence of any old heckhole down the Manhattan Meatpacking District. It's a pallid imitation of Niggas In Paris, this time armed to the teeth with expendable aggro: "So much hate I need a AK", snaps Anderson having already turned his misogynistic attentions to rolling greenery on some indeterminate lady's "ass tray". Dedicated to smut, and amphetamine stimulants, and hip hop platitudes it's West et al. at their least imaginative.

Indeed over much of Cruel Summer, one adopts the impression that where rap were once to do with liberalism – the freedom of expression, and with it the freedom to express this in whatever manner thinkable; implicit, explicit, or otherwise and not merely in brash n-bomb ruination – there's now a sense of these overpaid oafs rapping of the things they feel they ought. A shallow dabble in politics here; a predictable condemnation of paedophilic incest there; an inescapably prominent endorsement of a label mate everywhere. And Cruel Summer woefully exemplifies this shift in thought with little, to no originality featuring throughout. And what's West whingeing on about when his turn this time comes? Well, papers of a pecuniary worth, of course: "I step in Def Jam building like I'm the shit/ Tell 'em gimme $50,000,000 or I'mma quit." Not only does this again evidence his ludicrously inflated sense of worth, alongside his deficiency in thematic innovation, but it also furthers the notion that the man may have finally mistaken himself for a turd. Whether the shit, or shitting on you it seems his infatuation with all things faecal has assumed the position of central subject matter, overpowering his every sense.

At least that's the only possible excuse for New God Flow: tumbling keys tuned midway between Moonlight Sonata and Graduation's Homecoming better everything to follow, as Pusha T weighs up the pros and cons of the coupé with regard to the four-door in yet more flagrant flaunting of undue wealth. Obnoxiousness and facetiousness again reign supreme, as West delivers his bestest impression of the Minaj grunt, before dishing out marching orders to the left-right-left-right-left-right-left of "I'm way fresher than all my 'fos", and "All my niggas say 'G.O.O.D. Music'" in a shade more shameless ego showboating. It's darn tedious, although if it serves one purpose it is to succinctly exhibit the ability of all rapstarz to disenchant and/ or disgust, only to then again endear in the following line as Pusha T disdainfully garbles: "I wouldn't piss on that nigga with Grand Marnier", only to then win back our ears with the equally disdainful besmirching of the good name Target. "They shitty shoppin' at Targét", he smirks. The line: "My shit is luxury Balmain" inevitably follows though, and we're back to square one; to undiluted loathing. T also gobs something or other 'bout "goin' H•A•M in Ibiza took a toll on us" despite this Terrence Thornton never featuring on said song, and by this point in proceedings it's fair to say that it's Cruel Summer that's weighing heavy on anyone within earshot.

Insincere reggae meets insubstantial minimal electro house on The Morning, a track featuring more underperforming individuals than West has apparent interests whilst Cold sounds like Crystal fucking Castles further ravaged by Def Jam South exec, DJ Khaled. Higher is a heavy, leaden Auto-Tune manoeuvre that sounds like Rick Smith slaving away on the soft synths under duress in that label building aforenamed; Bliss a senselessly bombastic belt-along between John Legend and 21-yo Teyana Taylor, the two to come together elsewhere on the a.OK Sin City. A streamlined R'n'Pop muffle more or less worth tuning into, as spoken wordsmith Malik Yusef intones in a gravelled husk: "You are all unwelcome to Sin City" it's one of few audio establishments here erected worth inhabiting, even for a short while.

It certainly stands sky-high over KiD CuDi's strangely solo Creepers, which slumps to an unapologetically indolent low, "If I had one wish it'd be to have more wishes/ Duh/ Fuck trynna make it rhyme" a particularly choice excerpt lyrical. Which leaves us with The One. Marsha Ambrosius of Scouse soul duo Floetry crops up somewhat unannounced to pitch a fairly sound Emeli Sandé impersonation, offset – as ever – by more pseudo-ironic lyrics of "shit" and Big Sean wittering on once again about money ("I'd be a billionaire if I could get a dollar for all the bullshit I hear a day" it is this time). For West, it's another opportunity to settle into another irksome exercise in namedropping: "If you ever held a title belt/ You would know how Michael felt/ Tyson; Jackson; Jordan; Michael Phelps." Even if there were a medal podium for cramming the lanky Yank's name into a half-assed rap, it wouldn't be West topping it. Weezy beat Yeezy to that one long ago.

With all the deflating lows and the odd sporadic meteorological high of BST, Cruel Summer is a discombobulating mélange of hip hop oddities and anomalies. Essentially, it ain't all that great. And on that appositely disdainful note, I'll leave you with a quote from the presiding emperor of G.O.O.D. Music: I am where art meets commercial. The sweet spot between the hood and Hollywood. Now go figure, if you please, the disparity between statement and sound. G'night.