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The College Dropout

Kanye West

2004

The College Dropout
Album Summary

The College Dropout is the debut studio album by American rapper and producer Kanye West. It was released on February 10, 2004, by Roc-A-Fella Records and Def Jam Recordings. In the years leading up to release, West had received praise for his production work for rappers such as Jay-Z and Talib Kweli, but faced difficulty being accepted as an artist in his own right by figures in the music industry. Intent on pursuing a solo career, he signed a record deal with Roc-A-Fella and recorded the album over a period of four years, beginning in 1999. The production of The College Dropout was primarily handled by West and showcased his "chipmunk soul" musical style, which made use of sped-up, pitch shifted vocal samples from soul and R&B records, in addition to West's own drum programming, string accompaniments, and gospel choirs; the album also features contributions from Jay-Z, Mos Def, Jamie Foxx, Syleena Johnson, and Ludacris, among others. Diverging from the then-dominant gangster persona in hip hop, West's lyrics concern themes of family, self-consciousness, materialism, religion, racism, and higher education. The College Dropout debuted at number two on the US Billboard 200, selling 441,000 copies in its first week of sales. It was a large-scale commercial success, becoming West's best-selling album in the United States, with domestic sales of over 3.4 million copies by 2014 and was certified four-times platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) in 2020. The album was promoted with singles such as "Through the Wire", "Jesus Walks", "All Falls Down", and "Slow Jamz", the latter two of which peaked within the top ten of the Billboard Hot 100. A widespread critical success, The College Dropout was praised for West's production, humorous and emotional raps, and the music's balance of self-examination and mainstream sensibilities. The album earned the rapper several accolades, including nominations for Album of the Year and Best Rap Album at the 2005 Grammy Awards, winning for the latter. It has since been named by numerous publications as one of the greatest albums of all time, including Rolling Stone and NME, who ranked it at 74 and 273 respectively on their 500 Greatest Albums of All Time lists, and is credited for popularizing the chipmunk soul and conscious rap subgenres in the 2000s.

Wikipedia

Rating

3.48

Votes

8456
Genres
Hip Hop

Reviews

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Tue Jul 20 2021
5

I had never listened to a Kanye West album before. I really only knew him as the egotistical buffoon who married a Kardashian. I never saw the appeal. But I get it now. This is a fantastic album. I still don't like Kanye as a person, but I can't deny his talent.

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Tue Nov 01 2022
1

not gonna give one second of streaming credit to this moron. 0 stars - eat shit you nazi pig

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Mon Oct 31 2022
1

Hard pass. No streaming revenue for bigots.

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Wed Jul 21 2021
5

At the time of The College Dropout's release, every pop rap record consisted of bad gangsters rapping about the difficulties of growing up in Detroit, robbing stores and spraying your rivals with a glock. Kanye changed this with humorous, touching lyrics, extremely rhythmic optimism, fire beats, and a touching and honest view of his own faith and failures. He inspired a generation of rappers to express themselves more genuinely and explore more alternative forms of hiphop, and it's something I still greatly admire him for. An easy 5/5.

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Fri Oct 21 2022
1

This will likely be the one and only album I will not listen to. I will not contribute to his bottom line. Kanye can go fuck himself with a fist punch up his ass today at the present moment.

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Sun Mar 14 2021
5

Excellent album.... yeezy at his best. It was all down hill from here!

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Mon Oct 11 2021
5

Phenomenal record. I just wish the man himself was as quality a person as this music is.

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Fri Nov 04 2022
1

West is an antisemitic, homophobic, racist, misogynist. And his music isn't much better. Annoyingly, I can't give minus or zero stars.

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Thu Dec 08 2022
1

This anti-Semite piece of garbage has no place in my life. I wouldn’t have listened to this if you paid me. Absolute trash.

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Thu Oct 14 2021
5

The man's a genius. Probably a bell end too. The mix of styles here is breathtaking. Pop hits, Street anthems and vulnerable moments all mixed with humor and a good range of subject matter. Its one of the best hip hop albums of all time. 5/5

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Thu Jan 14 2021
4

I never understood the hype about him. I think I get it now.

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Fri Jan 29 2021
2

Lots of big names but not much impressive stuff. Not sure why this is considered great. It hits lots of topics and is generally inoffensive I guess. Maybe it was more meaningful in its time.

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Thu Apr 21 2022
1

Refuse to listen to Kanye. Boo Kanye.

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Sun Jul 04 2021
5

Kanye West: The College Dropout: 8/10 Love the upfront and direct production style. Kanye’s bars are spot on, and the various features actually blend well with the album. Good mix of catchy more mainstream songs and deeper more contemplative tracks as well. All the beats slap too. Jesus Walks hits different with that backup choir👌🏽 Slow Jamz is a bop with that sweet R&B groove. Kanye kinda be spittin fax in School Spirit. The skits are hilarious too😂 The only negative I can find is that the album is a little longer then it needs to be.

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Wed Mar 17 2021
1

I really really really despise this dude and cannot even get through perhaps fine albums because of how much I dislike him.

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Wed Jul 14 2021
1

0 stars. 1st (and last) Kanye album I ever listened to. 76 mins of my life that I could have spent getting a root canal.

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Sat Oct 02 2021
1

Erm what else is there to say other than your a bellend

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Tue Jul 12 2022
1

I’m not listening to Kanye. I don’t have a problem with rap, just don’t like Kanye.

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Wed Dec 28 2022
1

Editorial note: As I refuse to support Kanye West following his comments praising Hitler and the Nazi’s, I’ll use this and any future Kanye album recommendations as an opportunity to support and review an album from an artist/band with Jewish heritage that is not included on the 1001 albums list. Since they have just wrapped up their annual 8–Nigh run of live shows to celebrate Hanukkah, today I’ll be reviewing an album from Yo La Tengo. Enjoy… Yo La Tengo - Electr-O-Pura (1995, Matador records) 1993’s “Painful” was a critical success for Yo La Tengo: a noisy, experimental, yet subdued and dreamlike LP that felt like it could be the American answer to My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless. On 1995’s “Electr-O-Pura”, Yo La Tengo opens things up even further. It’s a sprawling set of songs and while it’s not quite the cohesive record “Painful” is, its patchwork style makes it a more unpredictable and unique listen. If Yo La Tengo has a signature sound, it’s actually two different sounds. They’re capable of being one of the loudest feedback driven guitar acts on the planet one minute and, the next, one of the most quiet, subdued and beautiful indie rock acts to ever grace a stage. Ask anyone who has seen them live, they move between guitar squall and introspective quietness with an ease that’s comparable to flicking a switch. Here on “Electr-O-Pura”, they often layer waves of swirling guitar feedback over softly sung, catchy tunes to great effect, like on the opener “Decora” or the indie rock classic “Tom Courtenay”. Other songs, like “The Ballad of Red Buckets”, “Don’t Say A Word” (Hot Chicken #2)and the immaculate “Pablo and Andrea” start from an inverse position: mostly clean sounding, minimal song structures with fuzzy guitar leads acting as a compliment rather than a driving force. The cornerstone of any Yo La Tengo record is the vocal interplay and harmonies from guitarist Ira Kaplan and drummer Georgia Hubley, indie rock’s coolest husband and wife duo. On “Electr-O-Pura” both are in fine form, though that is par for the course throughout their career. James McNew, the last in a long line of bassists for YLT (he’s been with the band since 1992, but was preceded by several dozen bass players before that), keeps the songs anchored amidst the haze of guitar feedback, ethereal melodies, and is usually in lock step with Hubley’s inventive percussion. When the haze clears momentarily and his fuzzed out bass takes the lead at the end of “Flying Lesson (Hot Chicken #1)”, a feedback and guitar noise laced motorik jam, McNew steals the show, even if only for a few short seconds. Yo La Tengo close out “Electr-O-Pura” with “Blue Line Swinger” a driving, 9-minute wall of guitar noise and feedback. Georgia’s breathless vocals and pounding drums propel the song. McNew’s bass again provides the anchor and layers upon layers of Kaplan’s guitar lifts the song in to the sonic ether. It’s prime Yo La Tengo, one of their highest highs in a career full of high points. Electr-O-Pura ranking: 4.5/5 Kanye ranking: 0/5

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Thu May 13 2021
5

One of his best albums, so different in themes and production where Kanye started to develop his style.

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Fri May 21 2021
5

Phenomenal album. Great production and cohesive album. A debut album with a mix of both production and rapping from Kanye West. The start of Kanye's eponymous soul/vocal pitching for beats and background vocals rather than contrived and often boring hard hitting drums and bass that plagued early 90s/00s hip hop.

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Wed Sep 01 2021
5

Probably a be of the best debut albums of all time. Besides the skits there isn’t a bad song on here. A much more humbler time in Kanye’s career. Also one of my top 3 Kanye albums depending on my mood. Could listen to this daily it’s stellar, exciting, fun, rhythmic. It’s just that good. 9.3/10 without skits. 8.7/10 with skits.

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Mon Aug 08 2022
4

Younger listeners may not recall a time when Kanye West was a major tastemaker in hip hop, but this album made waves when it was released. And it wasn’t just the incredible beats-from wrestling with religion in Jesus Walks to the sardonic School Spirit, Kanye speaks frankly and cleverly about black culture and the absurdities of fame; and in doing so, changed the direction of hip hop.

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Mon Apr 25 2022
1

Zero stars. And to think that I thought that he sounded like garbage when he wasn't trying to be musical.

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Thu Jan 14 2021
5

One of the first rap albums I've ever owned, and an album that showed me that rap wasn't all singles and materialism. The skits are great, the songs are better, and I still maintain "All Falls Down" is one of the best rap songs ever recorded. Production is Kanye classic... I could go on and on. Favorite tracks: "All Falls Down", "Family Business", "We Don't Care", "Never Let Me Down"

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Thu Oct 01 2020
5

One of the best rap albums of the 2000s. Amazing production and great lyrics.

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Mon Jan 25 2021
5

To all the people that's drug Dealing just to get by, stack your money til it gets sky high!

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Thu Jan 28 2021
5

This is the first album on the list that I've already heard. It's Ye, man, how can you not love it? Absolutely a bona fide classic, five stars.

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Sat Mar 13 2021
5

I like how he said Versace. 9/10

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Fri Sep 17 2021
5

This album is certainly an influential "classic". Pre-fame/early Kanye was able to be poignant and a little poppy without all the pretentiousness that muddies his later works. You can tell that this is someone with a unique voice and playful sensibilities, while also being eager/hungry, earnest, and appreciative.

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Tue Sep 28 2021
5

9/10. The only major complaint I have is that it drags towards the end, as it is quite long and frontloads some of the best songs. Might bump to a 10 on review, tbh

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Tue Oct 19 2021
5

Kanye at his best.. thoughtful lyrics, tight rhymes and spotless beats/samples. Hard to believe his level of awareness and introspection at this time. You can feel a sense of relief and appreciation for those that contributed to him getting a shot. Love the skits, interviews and features which add to the already monster production value. All falls down, spaceship, never let me down, through the wire

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Fri Nov 12 2021
4

Very good, a lot like Graduation.

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Wed Dec 08 2021
4

I really dig it. Kanye was great before he went full douchebag

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Fri Dec 10 2021
4

Slow Jamz mate what a banger

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Sat Nov 12 2022
4

Notes - Debut album by Kanye west - a collection of some older beats that he had saved for himself over the years of being a producer, as well as some new ones - featuring jay z, common, jamie foxx, ludacris - whole album themed around college, the transition to adulthood, money, drugs - some skits sprinkled throughout - i didnt enjoy it as much as mbdtf - its good, but you can tell kanye still needed some more trial and error to fully land in his style Fav - Through the wire - i love the beat in this song and how specific the lyrics are Least fav - Get em high - Found the beat a bit annoying and the verses didn’t blow me away 4/5

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Mon Mar 13 2023
4

I miss the old Kanye, straight from the 'Go Kanye Chop up the soul Kanye, set on his goals Kanye

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Fri Jan 22 2021
3

Loses a mark for being Kanye

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Fri Apr 15 2022
2

You know, I woke up this morning to the news that Elon Musk is trying to buy Twitter, and then I see my album of the day is Kanye, who recently has been making crazy statements about Kim Kardashian and Pete Davidson. While the two things may seem unrelated, I'm so sick of egotistical, delusional megalomaniacs dominating our brain-space. We live in such a stupid time. Everything should be great, but instead we have horrible human beings like Donald Trump getting elected president and idiots like Elon Musk and Kanye in the news all the time. Ugh. However, I did listen to the album, because I made a commitment to listen to every album on the list. Was it the worst thing I've ever heard? Not at all. Kanye clearly has talent, but not really enjoyable for me. 2 stars.

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Tue Oct 18 2022
2

While I can see why this is such an influential album, I just can't get past the raging anti-intellectualism strung through this entire album.

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Tue Feb 07 2023
2

That was gruelling. First thing first: this album is at least half an hour too long. Second thing second (and maybe most important): this is just an "okay" rap album. Third thing third: this album hasn't aged well. (Kanye himself has aged LESS well.) Lastly (kind of): it's ludicrous that Ludacris was probably paid good money for a bad feature. I remember hearing so much hype for this album for the year or so between its release and me picking a copy of the CD to see what the fuss was about. And even that dozen and a half years ago I did not understand why people were raving about it so much. It's not that great. It's not horrible either, but I think it's quite unspectacular. There are a couple of good hooks, a solid handful of sweet beats and all the requisite and expected features of the era, but Kanye's emceeing isn't revolutionary or particularly exciting and his lyrics ain't really that deep. I came into this prepared to eat crow and maybe find out I'd been wrong about my assessment of this back in '05 and really did my best to set aside my feelings about present-day Kanye while listening, but I still just can't fuck with it.

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Mon Dec 12 2022
1

He’s a piece of shit, overrated “artist.” Won’t be listening.

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Thu Feb 04 2021
5

Legendary hip hop album. Too many skits though

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Fri Apr 16 2021
5

workout plan is one of my faves, absolute.

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Wed Jan 13 2021
5

Ham Turkey looks like she would enjoy meatballs, but she doesn't. Sometimes the world doesn't make sense. She could be wearing a chef's hat eating meatballs right now. Sometimes the world isn't fair.

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Thu Jun 03 2021
5

Oh Kanye, you're so problematic and yet so fuckin great at this music stuff. This album is fantastic from start to finish. I remember the first time I heard Jesus Walks, it stopped me in my tracks and grabbed all my attention. I forget how good Kanye was before he lost any sense of reality. It's so easy to see him as a bit of a joke now, but this album is easily one of the best hip hop albums ever recorded. Just so damn good.

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Tue Mar 09 2021
5

A real jam. The skits were super cool and the whole concept is super well realized

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Sun Jan 31 2021
5

Such a fun listen. Super well composed album. Felt like a compete unit, rather than just a bunch of songs put together. Especially the songs with features.

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Sun May 16 2021
5

A classic and a beginning of an era. Lots of nostalgia but I’m pretty sure I’m not alone to say that it holds up.

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Wed Jan 13 2021
5

one of my favorites of all time. This is kanye at his rawest and funniest which along with crackin samples and productions, are the main reasons anyone should be listening to kanye in the first place, and this album got those. Its funny to look back on the way “wake up mr west” has evolved over the years. before i had listened to his earlier stuff i had assumed it was a butler gently waking him up. favorite songs: all falls down, space ship, jesus walks, the new workout plan, slow jamz, through the wire

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Mon Apr 05 2021
5

An absolute classic. Never going to be upset about listening to this one.

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Sat Apr 10 2021
5

Easy 5/5 iconic Kanye. RIP Bernie Mac

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Wed Jan 20 2021
5

Ah what a classic mega nice das Mal wieder gehört zu haben vor allem ganz an einem Stück

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Wed May 26 2021
5

Mi sesgo es que disfruto generalmente a Kanye, aunque justo este disco es de los que no he escuchado. Muy bueno, me dio la sensación de que acá un Kanye más "tranquilo" o mesurado (?) hasta cierto punto, sin gritar, sin lo estridente de discos posteriores. No es que sea mejor que lo otro, solamente sí veo que, aunque sea un mismo o los mismos géneros, hay una voluntad de experimentación, ese pastiche de beats, sonidos de otros géneros o características, medio del gospel a veces, por decir alguno. Sin skips, creo que "Jesus Walks" sí es muy superior, me gustó mucho esa parte central, con JAY-Z et al., "The New Workout Plan", "Family Business" también bastante bien y pues la última pista, aunque sea de 12 minutos, no se siente tan eterna y me parece buen cierre. 9.5/10

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Wed May 26 2021
5

Me gustó mucho. La verdad ningún skip, lo escuché un poco de música de fondo, pero en un par de canciones sí vi algo de las lyrics y de lo que pude entender sin verlas: muy chistosas la mayoria y algo trágicas un par. Todas la verdad me mantuvieron complacido, pero escojo Get them high, Slow Jamz Two Words y me quedo con esas para una playlist. Mood: Kanye loves beats... and Kanye.

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Fri Jan 22 2021
5

too many skits and too long in general, other than that, one of the best 00's hip hop album.

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Sun Feb 14 2021
5

What. An. Album. Literally one of the best things I’ve ever heard.

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Thu Feb 04 2021
5

Good album much better listened to as a whole rather than single tracks

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Thu Feb 11 2021
5

heard a bunch of these songs separately before but never the whole album, but i rly like the songs i hadn't heard before

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Wed May 26 2021
5

Si es bueno el señor west, incluso antes de su megalomanía que ya por ahí se asoma. “Jesus walks: clásico instantáneo.

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Sat Jun 26 2021
5

Loving this a LOT more than my first listen. It may just be top 3 Kanye for me, some of these tracks are total masterpieces.

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Thu Apr 22 2021
5

Got a lot out of this relisten

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Thu May 06 2021
5

I like the skit sections a lot, it's very seamless

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Fri May 21 2021
5

literally every song slaps top to bottom idk such a range of emotions and experiences sheesh

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Thu Aug 19 2021
5

Such a great 2000s album with a bunch of great songs on it. 9/10.

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Thu Aug 19 2021
5

Czarny strajk trwa w najlepsze i to z jakim pickiem, bo debiutancki album pana Westa, the college dropout rozpoczal kariere Kanyego jako pelnoflagowego rapera, a nie tylko producenta, przed tym krazkiem byl znany glownie z produkcji na trakach pana Jaya Z, a przepis na dobry start, swiezy luzny koncept, nadanie konceptowi twarzy, czytaj dropoutowy misiek, dobre featury, ktore nie kradna spotlajta, ale jednak wplywaja na atrakcyjnosc materialu dla sluchacza, bo ile osob musialo poznac pana Westa sluchajac two worlds z mos defem, czy get em high z commonem i talibem kwelim, pan jay czy ludacris to kolejne featury plyty, ale co definiuje brzmienie tej plyty, to zdecydowanie to co sie dzieje na bitach, bo to pan West stworzyl pomysl na wlasne brzmienie, dla jednych zbyt r&bitowe jak na rap, zbyt eksperymentalne, zbyt gospelowe, a jednak tak sluchalne o czym swiadcza charty, co do konceptu ktory tutaj rozpoczyna trylogie collegowa, to tytulowy motyw dropoutowania pojawia sie glownie w skitach, ale tez na trakach jak school spirit czy we dont care, materialu jest godzina siedemnascie minut, a najwazniejszymi topikami sa motywy bycia murzynem w spoleczenstwie hameryki, sukcesu poprzez edukacje, pojawiaja sie oczywscie takze watki osobiste, jak na traku throught wire, ktory jest dosc komiczna relacja z rehaba po samochowowym incydencie, jesli chodzi o plejkowe wrzuty z tej plyty, to do trakow ktore juz mam dodaje spaceships oraz all falls down, chociaz bylem zaskoczony, ze tylko trzy kawalki mialem na plejce do tej pory, wspominane we dont care, school spirit, ktore najlepiej oddaja spirita plyty, jak dla mnie jeden z albumow definiujacych dzwiek westowski, ale mozna by tak powiedziec o kazdym materiale ktory ten pan wypuszcza, bo tak influencyjnego artysty w ostatnich dwudziestoleci ciezko szukac

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Thu Aug 26 2021
5

classic yeezy, but not the yeezy I first heard how the hell does he have a 12 minute outro?!

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Mon Aug 30 2021
5

It’s a great album. Kanye bursting into the scene with The College Dropout. Although the best of Kanye was still to come on later projects.

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Wed Sep 15 2021
5

very strong album from Kanye

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Tue Sep 28 2021
5

A bit long with the skits but there are just so many classics on this album. 10/10

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Tue Oct 12 2021
5

Wonderful production on Kanye's first album. I had already listened to this prior and enjoyed every bit of it. Such an influential album with wonderful tracks. 10/10

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Wed Oct 20 2021
5

From this debut one would think Kanye arrived on the scene fully formed. The samples are great, the beats are innovative as hell, and his production is absolute perfection. His fearlessness to incorporate so many disparate elements into hip hop truly set him apart from his contemporaries. He’s truly a cut above

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Wed Nov 03 2021
5

can barely listen to this anymore with how unwell he is anymore but you know, it's still incredible

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Thu Nov 11 2021
5

I remember when this came out. Before Kanye went mad. I loved this album and it got heavy play time for probably a year or more.

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Tue Nov 16 2021
5

Probably my favorite hip-hop LP ever…perfect!

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