February 10, 2004 marked the official start of one of the biggest rap and music careers of this millennium and of this generation. Kanye West of the then seemingly unstoppable Roc-a-Fella Records dropped College Dropout.
The story of this great producer being shunned as a rapper by his idol, who almost loses his life one night in a Lexus is probably one of the most over told stories of our time. However, the passion that Kanye had for the game channeled correctly resulted in some great music. Kanye had a point to prove to Jay-Z and the world. The point was “Hey! I can really rap! Seriously!” Kanye proved his point with this album and since this release he has literally pushed the game where he pleases consistently per release.
Overall, I really do like this album but it definitely could have been tighter and more concise. We Don’t Care, Spaceship, Get Em High, School Spirit, Breathe In Breathe Out, Slow Jamz and Through The Wire were songs that I instantly fell in love with on this album but there are also some songs I can truly live without.
I think Jesus Walks is one of the most overhyped, lack of message, contradictory songs possibly EVER in hip-hop. Kanye and legions of fans try to paint the picture of this song as being an inspirational tune that changed and impacted a generation of young hip-hop fans in a positive way…I call the biggest steaming pile of B.S to all those people, including Kanye. The Gospel community didn’t support this, he didn’t get Kirk on the remix, I don’t remember people rushing to alters when this came on and let’s be real…This song has NOTHING of substance that REMOTELY gives you the urge to pick up a Bible or follow Christ.
What irritates me most about this song is how Kanye thought he really deserved a nomination for Best Gospel Song for Jesus Walks! That’s right! He thought Jesus Walks was just as inspirational and deserved to be in the same class as songs from Smokie Norful, Mary, Mary, Marvin Sapp, Donnie McClurkin and Kirk Franklin….smh…JESUS WALKS!?!?! REALLY!?!?!?!?! ALSO! “Worldly Rappers” rapping about Jesus is nothing new, start with Doug E Fresh and The Get Fresh Crew “All The Way To Heaven” and just keep scrolling hip-hops timeline till you get to Jesus Walks….I didn’t forget about Rakim but, I’m talking about Jesus Christ Specifically.
Is this album Classic…My estimation. No. There are too many skits and the skits get so long that they aren’t even funny. This album is about an hour and 20 minutes long…but about 30 of it is talking..and if it isn’t really that long it sure feels that way. I found myself saying numerous times “OK! WE GET IT! YOU DROPOUT OF SCHOOL! and It’s not the only way to make it in America! Now Say SOMETHING ELSE! There are a handful of GREAT songs and there is a handful of “Pretty Good” songs. A lot of Dope features. This album Introduces GLC, Reintroduces Consequence, and broadens the audience for Common, Twista and Talib Kweli to a degree. It’s also a new lane of Chicago Music and lyricism. However it’s not a classic simply because…He dropped a better version of the album the following year, with the some of the exact same people. The Sophomore Album was College Dropout on Steroids! We’ll be talking about that soon. College Dropout is DOPE! Full of Impact but, nowhere near flawless…Not A Classic. Also look at the other 2004 albums that dropped…Competition is stiffer than you remember if you think this is a hands down classic. [Grind Date, Street’s Disciple, Urban Legend and for you Wayne Heads…The Carter for starters all dropped 2004]
I want to thank Dame Dash. He’s the reason we got this album. He believed in packaging Kanye West as Kanye West The Rapper and believing in his rap ability and made sure this album was part of the Roc-A-Fella Time Capsule. If it were up to Jay…Most of this album would probably have been split amongst State Property and Dipset and Kanye would have about 3 features…MAYBE.
Don’t go off memory..Listen to this album today. Let me know how you feel about it in 2014.
I was at the then Tweeter Center the night he got signed…If you were there you know what happened when he started performing songs. Kanye has indeed come a long way.