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In West's attempt to accomplish this "stadium-status" endeavor, West incorporated layered electronic synthesizers into his hip-hop production, which also finds him utilizing slower tempos, being influenced by the music of the 1980s, and experimenting with electronic music.
Graduation is the third installment of Kanye West's planned tetralogy of education-themed studio albums, which West subsequently later deviated from due to the events surrounding the conception of his fourth studio album, 808s & Heartbreak.
Due largely to these factors and the inclusion of layered electronic synthesizers, West believed that his record took hip-hop in a different direction.
He also acknowledged that the differences did not in and of themselves make Graduation a good album; however, he felt it was an accurate representation of the music he was listening to and inspired by at that time.
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; it also features guest contributions from Mos Def, Dwele, T-Pain, Lil Wayne, DJ Premier, and Chris Martin of Coldplay.
The album's cover artwork was designed by Japanese contemporary artist Takashi Murakami.