Kanye West – The College Dropout
Released: 10 February 2004
Roc-A-Fella Records/Def Jam
If there’s one album/film/story or any other sub-genre within the art medium that captures one artist’s hunger and drive, Kanye West’s debut album, The College Dropout, is undoubtedly at the top of the list. The spirit of the album is vibrant; with every track you experience the emotions Kanye West conveys, be it through beat or lyric. “Jesus Walks” is one of the album’s most powerful tracks, the beat is haunting and Kanye’s Rhymefest-assisted lyrics provoke uprising reminiscent of Public Enemy’s Chuck D. “Slow Jamz” was a huge hit on the radio and is arguably one of the best tracks of its Rap/Soul sample genre; the slow and soothing catchy production is youth-friendly, yet the Old School R&B references are fit for the older crowd – this track will live forever!
We Don’t Care: 5/5
All Falls Down: 5/5
Jesus Walks: 5/5
Never Let Me Down: 5/5
Get Em High: 4.75/5
The New Workout Plan: 3.5/5
Slow Jamz: 5/5
Breathe In, Breathe Out: 4.25/5
School Spirit: 4/5
Two Words: 4/5
Through The Wire: 5/5
Family Business: 5/5
Last Call: 5/5
4.67/5 – The pinnacle of it’s genre; near perfect. A CLASSIC.
Aside from individual songs, The College Dropout has some of the better skits of any rap album. The “Workout Plan” skit is hilarious, and the “Lil Jimmy Skit” is thought-provoking yet chuckle-inducing. But aside from Kanye’s humor and antics displayed throughout The College Dropout, the most touching (and perhaps the best) track on this album is “Through The Wire” where Kanye spits some of the best verses of his life with his jaw wired shut, just 2 weeks after a near fatal car accident. I encourage you to listen to the original version of “Through The Wire“.
The motif in this album is anti-Popular opinion. Kanye rebels against unwritten rap rules and is quite vulnerable throughout The College Dropout. He quite controversially released “Jesus Walks” as a single. To his vulnerability, he breaks down and admits that he’s self-conscious on “All Falls Down“, subsequently putting the spotlight on a lot of the “Bling Bling” rappers of the era. He scoffs at the thought that college degrees determine a person’s true knowledge on his School Spirit Skits. All while rapping over soul samples during a time where hard hitting bass under gangsta rap lyrics was the trend.
The College Dropout is one of the most challenging and influential albums in rap history and it came at a perfect time. Kanye is credited to providing a much needed change in Rap at the time. You can feel his hunger, almost a sort of confident desperation. Not to be mimicked or outdone, The College Dropout is one of the best albums in Hip-Hop history.