Damn ‘Ye, you’re getting up there! I can’t believe it’s been 10 years since Kanye West released his debut album which means I was fifteen when it dropped! Guess I’m getting up there too.
Recorded over a period of four years, the album was a hip hop game-changer. Veering from rap’s pervasive gangster-isms of 2004, The College Dropout discussed family, love, being broke from college, and living Black in America. The platinum-selling album went on to garner West two Grammy Awards, and receive critical acclaim from music journalists. The College Dropout influenced rap’s direction from that point on. The album’s rich samples, melodic hooks from featured artists like John Legend, Syleena Johnson, Miri Ben-Ari and Jamie Foxx, and West’s signature production would be heard on other artists’ efforts for years to come – even in 2014. He broke the “backpack rapper” stigma – that thought-driven rap couldn’t be homogenized, and mainstreamed it.
He made it cool to care, and perhaps that was our first glimpse of what would be his infamous emotional tirades. I for one, am not one to call ALL of his outbursts outrageous. I’m mercurial myself, and often ‘Ye’s angst filled expressions mirrored my own thoughts; especially when he gave the middle finger to his script on the teleprompter during the September 2005 live telecast and concert for Hurricane Katrina relief on NBC.
“I hate the way they portray us in the media, when you see a black family it says ‘they’re looting,’ you see a white family it says, ‘they’re looking for food.’ You know it’s been five days, because most of the people are Black.” Then after a strained Mike Myers delivered the rest of his portion of the stand up, Kanye West said matter-of-factly, “George Bush doesn’t care about Black people.“
I couldn’t stop laughing, clapping, I felt excited and energized that this young rapper was so outspoken, right and REAL. But listen, this isn’t a “Kanye’s Greatest Moments” post, check out some of my favorite music videos from the 10 year-old, The College Dropout.