Kanye West - College Dropout
Released 10 February 2004 on Roc-A-Fella Records
I have only just released that Kanye’s debut was released 9 years ago and now I feel kind of old. I also thought I was older than in Year 9 when this came out. Looking back to this now, I honestly don’t think I would have predicted that this would be the start of the complete force of nature that is Yeezy and his empire. Nor did I think he would be bringing a new Kardashian into the world, but I also had no idea who any of the Kardashians were 9 years ago. But that’s not important. What is important is that even after My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, I still call this one my favourite Kanye album. Whether that’s just because I have listened to it a whole bunch more in the almost decade since I first heard it, or whether it’s because it’s actually just the best one. I still can’t decide whether I think there’s a difference between favourite and best. What I can tell you is the reason this is my favourite of his records, is that I don’t actually think I dislike any of the tracks on it, and that’s not something I can say for all of his records. I still think ‘Through the Wire' is one of the best debut singles of the 2000s, from any genre of music, and if you care to disagree, I may very well fight you. For one thing, who else would think to put Chaka Khan on their very first single? 'New Workout Plan' may be be far from a feminist anthem and as much as I don't want to, I can't help but enjoy how insanely catchy it is (I'm still waiting for a woman to cover this and reverse all the lyrics to be about objectifying men) and it has the late, great Anna Nicole Smith guesting. I think 'All Falls Down' might still be my favourite Kanye song, if only for Syleena's phenomenal voice and I can't exactly relate to 'Jesus Walks’, with being agnostic, but I remember when I first heard it how much of a contrast it was to all the ‘guns, bitches, bling’ rap that my older brother used to listen to. ‘Never Let Me Down' is probably my other favourite Kanye track and I think mostly, I love this so much, because I don't love it any less than I did the first time I heard it when I was a working class teenager going to a very middle class high school and realising that as much as I thought I was a special little snowflake, I didn't know anything at all, about anything at all. Now, there's skits a plenty and I won't lie, I think there's skits too many, but I think we'll let that slide, given how excellent basically every actual song on here is. And we can't forget the excellent use of sample, check the wiki page for this and there’s 2Pac to Marvin Gaye, to Lauryn Hill, back to Luther Vandross and Aretha, to name just a few. This is one of those albums that I think every person should have, so I guess that’s another reason why it’s probably one of my favourites ever and I’m sorry for how white I sound.