The College Dropout Turns 10


That’s right. Today, February 10, 2014, is the tenth anniversary of the release of The College Dropout, Kanye West’s first studio album. Instead of wondering where the past ten years went, let’s take some time to reflect on the lyrical genius’ debut album.

Upon it’s release, The College Dropout debuted at #2 on the U.S. Billboard chart and remained there for 3 weeks, stuck under Norah Jones’ Feels Like Home.  By April of 2004 it was certified Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America, and was certified Double Platinum in June. Even with the continued success West has had, he hasn’t been able to top the sales of this album in the States.

After it’s release, The College Dropout topped several critic’s lists of the best albums of 2004. It received ten nominations at the 2005 Grammy Awards including Album of the Year, earning West two awards that night. Check out his outstanding acceptance speech for Best Rap Album (I never took him for a Married With Children fan).

Since it’s release, The College Dropout has been included in several “best of” lists. A few of which include it being named the third best album of the decade by Newsweek, the decade’s best album by Entertainment Weekly, one of the 100 best albums of all time by Time, and it is one of 22 albums to have been given the ‘XXL’ rating by XXL.

The College Dropout has earned it’s place as a modern classic because it’s impeccable from so many different angles. West produced the entire album himself besides “Breathe In Breathe Out,” which he co-produced, and every song stands alone with a memorable melody, hook and beat.  The legitimately humorous skits dispersed throughout impart his angst against college, or in one circumstance, discuss a new workout plan. Each featured artist on the album drop verses up there with some of their personal bests, and Kanye’s own lyrics are, for the most part, phenomenal. These individual pieces all come together seamlessly and the aggregate is an incredibly unique product that has some boastful and dance tracks, but also brings up the limited career paths many people who grow up in the inner city choose from along with issues they face, the dilemmas a particular young single mother deals with, the position religion has in West’s life compared to the position it has in the media and hip hop, how no family is perfect but they all possess an important stature and sentimentality, as well as personal tales of Kanye’s life, including the near-fatal car crash described in detail in his very first single, “Through the Wire,” as well as a roughly 8-minute narration of how he ended up where he currently was: finishing up the creation of his first album.

While Kanye West hasn’t had a stellar public image since he released The College Dropout, he put a very unique spin on hip hop with his initial public offering and has continued to create music that evolves in its own sound. Compared to YeezusThe College Dropout is a humble, endearing beginning that shows exactly why Kanye West is who he is.

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