GOOD Music/Def Jam

(The Root) — Hip-hop maven Kanye West is back this week with a new album, and this time the rapper-producer is joined by his swag-laden crew. Cruel Summer, a collaborative effort between West and members of his record label, GOOD Music — including Big Sean, Pusha T, Kid Cudi and Common, is arguably one of this season's most anticipated albums — led by its Billboard-topping single, "Mercy."

Already receiving mixed reactions from critics who have called it relatively unfocused in its motif, "uncharacteristically disposable" and an album with "astronomical levels of swagger," Cruel Summer may not be the surefire winner that was West's 2010 album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.

But bangers do abound on this 12-track record. Check out "Clique," featuring West, Big Sean and Jay-Z; the "I Don't Like" remix, with Chicago's Chief Keef; "To the World," with R. Kelly; and "Cold," with DJ Khaled. And while Cruel Summer might not be contending for a Grammy, it's still GOOD Music.

Cruel Summer is now available online and in stores.

Previous recommendation: New Book Unravels History of Skin Color.

Got ideas for The Root Recommends? Send them to