Because I spent yesterday writing about The Beatles, I completely missed an historic landmark: the 10th anniversary of College Dropout. That’s right. It’s been ten years since the world was introduced to one of its most egotistical and revolutionary artists: Kanye West. Of course, Kanye was already a legitimate producer at the time, working primarily with Jay Z and other Rock-A-Fella artists. However, it was College Dropout, his debut album, that made him a star. Interestingly, it was his mentor, Jay Z, who doubted whether Kanye could ever succeed as a rapper—which, of course, only pushed the aspiring MC to work even harder.
Four years. That’s how long it took him to create this album. With College Dropout, Kanye stormed the scene with a polo shirt and backpack, looking like he just walked off a college campus. Not since Tupac had hip-hop seen a rapper who used his music and popularity to discuss racial issues so passionately. Tracks like Through the Wire, Jesus Walks, The New Workout Plan, Slow Jamz, All Falls Down, and Get ‘Em High were instant hits and came to define Kanye’s music and style: that harmonious blend of soul and hip-hop. Of course, that was how Kanye used to sound. Fast forward ten years later, and we now see a completely different artist. Instead of experimenting with soul, he’s now testing out EDM and techno. Where before he protested higher education and its ludicrous costs, he now rebels against all large corporations while flaunting a lavish and expensive lifestyle. Where before he preached the name of Jesus, he now proclaims loudly in our ears, “I am a God/So hurry up with my damn massage.”
My, how things change in ten years. Still, nothing can dispute this one fact: Kanye’s College Dropout is now a classic hip-hop album.
Like what you read? Follow me on Twitter at @MJ_Perrino!