West has stated that growing up, he would listen to hip-hop music at home or in his car, but when he felt like dancing, he would attend a house club.
While he rarely listened to house at home, he still felt it was an important part of his culture and background.
He would then make adjustments to the tracks based on feedback he received, repeating the process as many times as necessary.
Lyrically, the album is more introspective in comparison to its predecessors, as West dedicated much of Graduation towards analyzing himself and conveying his ambivalent outlook on his newfound fame.
It continues the education theme of West's previous two studio albums, The College Dropout (2004) and Late Registration (2005).
and also on the advance copy of West's debut studio album The College Dropout, which due to a leak was never released.
Widely considered by music critics and listeners alike to be the most radio-friendly track on Graduation, West defines the studio album's third single "Good Life" as the song with the most "blatant hit-recordness".
Kanye also listened to his most favorite alternative rock bands, including The Killers, Radiohead, Modest Mouse, and Keane, in order to gain new ideas on how to make his hip-hop production style more stadium-friendly.
Additionally, West would often test his new songs on his i Pod, in his office, in dance clubs and just about anywhere people might listen to his music.
It features guest contributions from artists, including 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.
West elaborated that it was a fully conscious decision to keep his guest vocalists at a minimum, saying that, "When I hear the records of my favorite bands – The Killers or Coldplay – you only hear one voice from start to finish." During an interview with Billboard, West revealed that he had worked with Chris Martin, the lead singer of the British alternative rock band Coldplay, on a song entitled "Homecoming", and that it just might possibly be released as the lead single for Graduation.
It was made available two years later under the new title "Home" on West's 2003 mixtape Get Well Soon...
Inspired by indie rock bands and house music, Graduation marked a departure away from the ornate, soul-based sound of West's previous releases toward a more anthemic style of rap music that would function well while he was performing in large arenas.