The 10th Anniversary of Kanye West’s The College Dropout…the Year Hip Hop Changed

It’s been ten years since Kanye West announced his arrival on the music scene with The College Dropout. Back then West was just some guy wearing cashmere Polos. This was back before he became a pop-culture controversy magnet. It may be hard for you to remember that far back, but try to take yourself there. Go back to before he stated that George Bush didn’t care about black people or jumped on stage drunk during award show, just to scare a teenage girl. Remember when you oblivious to the fact that he had an ego that was larger than Star Jones pre-surgery. Go back 10 years when he was just a guy that was just a genius producer.

The year before The College Dropout came out. Rap music was at a standstill. While the industry was healthy, there wasn’t any progress (that is also the definition of a stand still. I guess you can call this repetitive). Then along came Kanye West with fresh creativity and a confident view of self. He changed the way rap music was done. He merged spoken word hip hop with his unique production. He also brought Polo cable sweaters and his questionable use of a Louis Vuitton backpack (I actually think that was a purse, but who cares. He did it for hip hop). West made being an individual cool again.

The success of The College Dropout was due to perfect timing and the need for something new. The College Dropout brought back the soul sound of Hip hop from the 80s with a progressive approach. I think he said it best in Last Call, Though the fans want the feeling of A Tribe Called Quest. But all they got left is this guy called West. It was a combination that had been tried, but never done successfully. The most notable attempts were by Puff Daddy during the 90s. He continued to sample classic records, underneath the banner of true creativity. When in actuality it was an easy way to sell records. I will admit it worked when he first started doing it, but when you bastardizing Hollywood Swinging it’s time to stop (Kool and the Gang are rolling in their graves).

The College Dropout was a huge success. It debut at #2 on the Billboard Chart, and it won the Grammy for Rap Album of the year. It also gave Kanye West the public platform to himself which allowed him to go crazy (Jeezy style). However, while he was going crazy, his debut was putting the rap game on notice. The style that West ushered in practically eliminated non-sense (I’m talking about Lil Jon and crunk music, save for Uncle Luke because that’s my boy), and I am forever thankful. It got to the point where I couldn’t turn on the radio without hearing Lil Jon. So I’m glad he took Jon out of circulation. If not, I was planning on doing it myself (Miami style). This album also changed the way rappers dressed. Baggy jeans and big t-shirts were replaced by button ups and loafers (I got to shout out Trick daddy here. He was the first modern day rapper to promote Polo clothing. “Are those Bugle Boy jeans you’re wearing? Hell nah hoe, you know they Polo!”). The College Dropout opened an avenue for artist like Common (I know he was out before but he was irrelevant in the mainstream before Kanye) and Lupe Fiasco. West style of producing can also be credit for the success of Jay-Z’s The Blueprint. Izzo (H.O.V.A.) and Heart of the City were just a precursor for what was to come. And Kanye West came, and took over the game.

It’s been 10 years since Kanye West debuted with The College Dropout and it still holds up. It is arguably the greatest hip hop album of all time. As time passes the popularity of The College Dropout may fade, but its significance can still be seen.

 

Last Call

 

I’d like to propose a toast

I said toast m**********r

 

And I am

(Here’s to The Roc)

And they ask me, they ask me, they ask me, I tell them

(Mr Rocafella)

Raise your glasses, your glasses, your glasses to the sky

This is the last call for alcohol, for the

So get your ass up off the bar

 

The all around the world, Digital Underground, Pac

The Rudloph the red nosed reindeer of the Roc

I take my chain, my fifteen seconds of fame

And come back next year with the whole f*****g game

 

Ain’t nobody expect Kanye to end up on top

They expected that College Dropout to drop and then flop

Then maybe he stop savin’ all the good beats for himself

Rocafella’s only niggaz that help

 

My money was thinner than Sean Paul’s goatee hair

Now Jean Paul Gaultier cologne fill the air here

They say he bourgie, he big headed

Won’t you please stop talking about how my d**k head is

 

Flow infectious, give me ten seconds

I’ll have a buzz bigger than insects in Texas

It’s funny how wasn’t nobody interested

‘Til the night I almost killed myself in Lexus

 

And I am

(Here’s to The Roc)

And they ask me, they ask me, they ask me, I tell them

(Mr Rocafella)

Raise your glasses, your glasses, your glasses to the sky

This is the last call for alcohol, for the

So get you’re a** up off the bar

 

Now was Kanye the most overlooked? Yes, sir

Now is Kanye the most overbooked? Yes, sir

Though the fans want the feeling of A Tribe Called Quest

But all they got left is this guy called West

 

Better take Freeway, throw him on tracks with Mos Def

Call him Kwa-li or Kwe-li, I put him on songs with Jay-Z

I’m the Gap like Banana Republic and Old Navy, and, ooh

It come out sweeter than old Sadie

 

Nice as Bun-B when I met him at the Source awards

Girl, he had with him, a** coulda’ won the horse awards

And I was almost famous, now everybody love Kanye

I’m almost Raymond

 

Some say he arrogant, can y’all blame him?

It was straight embarrassing how y’all played him

Last year shoppin’ my demo, I was tryin’ to shine

Every m**********r told me that I couldn’t rhyme

 

Now I could let these dream killers kill my self-esteem

Or use my arrogance as the steam to power my dreams

I use it as my gas so they say that I’m gassed

But without it I’d be last so I ought to laugh

 

So I don’t listen to the suits behind the desk no more

You niggaz wear suits ’cause you can’t dress no more

You can’t say shit to Kanye West no more

I rocked twenty thousand people, I was just on tour, nigga

 

I’m Kan, the Louis Vuitton Don

Bought my mom a purse, now she Louis Vuitton Mom

I ain’t play the hand I was dealt, I changed my cards

I prayed to the skies and I changed my stars

 

I went to the malls and I balled too hard

Oh, my God, is that a black card?

I turned around and replied, why, yes

But I prefer the term African American Express

 

Brains, power, and muscle, like Dame, Puffy, and Russell

Your boy back on his hustle, you know what I’ve been up to

Killin y’all, niggaz, on that lyrical s**t

Mayonnaise colored Benz, I push Miracle Whips

 

And I am

(Here’s to The Roc)

And they ask me, they ask me, they ask me, I tell them

(Mr. Rocafella)

Raise your glasses, your glasses, your glasses to the sky

This is the last call for alcohol, for the

So get you’re a** up off the bar

Last call for alcohol, for my niggaz

Kortney Shane Williams

Editor-in-Chief of Comedic Prose

Follow Kortney Williams on Twitter @kortneyshane

About the author: Kortney Shane Williams

2 comments to “The 10th Anniversary of Kanye West’s The College Dropout…the Year Hip Hop Changed”

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  1. Lynn Reed - December 11, 2012 at 9:06 am Reply

    I’m from the Chi and have been preaching this same point. Although I will say he has changed the game through Jay’s music also. You can see Kanye’s influence on Jay pre and post Blueprint….Kanye made it possible for there to be Drake

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