This was all before the awards and the millions – the things that turned him into a narcissistic douche. The College Dropout was a glimpse into what lead up to that, the more humbling, often embarrassing memories that normal people can identify with. Taking a bath with your cousin, enduring shitty day jobs. Trying to figure out what to do with your life. It only makes sense, something so good and so refreshing, the perfect balance of fun and introspective, has proved to be one of the most important albums of a generation, and one of the best in hip hop history.
Kanye West has proudly spent the better part of his career talking about his own greatness. Unnecessary, of course, with a catalog that has always spoken for itself. We definitely don’t have to, and some of us won’t want to, but today (February 10) marks the anniversary of a moment in music history many of us will feel obligated to acknowledge. The College Dropout was the birth of the Kanye phenomenon, the effects of which were immediate. Producers had already been biting his brand of sped-up soul, but it was only after The College Dropout that rapping clones burst through the woodwork. Fast forward a decade later and Wale, Kid Cudi, Drake & Lupe Fiasco can probably thank the album for their entire careers.
"Ten years ago today we finally released what had been my life's work up to that point: The College Dropout. I say "finally" because it was a long road, a constant struggle, and a true labor of love to not only convince my peers and the public that I could be an artist, but to actually get that art out for the world to hear. I am extremely grateful to each and every person along that road who helped, lent an ear, lent their voice, gave of their heart to that project, and to all the projects that followed, and are to come. I am honored and humbled by my fans, for the unwavering support and love over the past ten years. I wake up every day trying to give something back to you that you can rock to and be proud of. Ten years later I am still the same kid from Chicago, still dreaming out loud, still banging on the door. The doors may be heavier but I promise you WE WILL BREAK THEM."