This debut from the most sought-after hip-hop producer not named Pharrell delivers the unthinkable: West magically sledgehammers home his opinions on taboo topics over beats that are equally daring. The envelope-ripping be... more »ats shouldn't come as a surprise given that he's supplied the soundscapes to monster singles by everyone from Alicia Keys ("You Don't Know My Name") to Talib Kweli ("Get By"). What is freakish is that in West's world, rhymes about strippers, God, college life, and guns can co-exist tidily and not undermine each other. On "Breathe In Breathe Out" he raps "I gotta apologize to Mos and Kweli/is it cool to rap about gold if I told the world I copped it from Ghana and Mali"--tongue firmly planted in cheek. On the catchy "Through the Wire," fuelled by a Chaka Khan hook, he spits some impeccable rhymes despite his jaw being wired shut after a near-fatal car accident. Maybe it was this brush with mortality that kicked his lyrics into high gear on "All Falls Down." The skits on here are just as potent, one poking fun at the overeducated underclass that makes a small fraction of the loot he does. With jaw-dropping cameos from Jay-Z, Common, Mos Def, and the Harlem Boys Choir plus the feel-good club tune of the year, "Slow Jamz" featuring Twista, College Dropout is as explosive, contradictory, and complex as rap music gets. --Dalton Higgins« less
This debut from the most sought-after hip-hop producer not named Pharrell delivers the unthinkable: West magically sledgehammers home his opinions on taboo topics over beats that are equally daring. The envelope-ripping beats shouldn't come as a surprise given that he's supplied the soundscapes to monster singles by everyone from Alicia Keys ("You Don't Know My Name") to Talib Kweli ("Get By"). What is freakish is that in West's world, rhymes about strippers, God, college life, and guns can co-exist tidily and not undermine each other. On "Breathe In Breathe Out" he raps "I gotta apologize to Mos and Kweli/is it cool to rap about gold if I told the world I copped it from Ghana and Mali"--tongue firmly planted in cheek. On the catchy "Through the Wire," fuelled by a Chaka Khan hook, he spits some impeccable rhymes despite his jaw being wired shut after a near-fatal car accident. Maybe it was this brush with mortality that kicked his lyrics into high gear on "All Falls Down." The skits on here are just as potent, one poking fun at the overeducated underclass that makes a small fraction of the loot he does. With jaw-dropping cameos from Jay-Z, Common, Mos Def, and the Harlem Boys Choir plus the feel-good club tune of the year, "Slow Jamz" featuring Twista, College Dropout is as explosive, contradictory, and complex as rap music gets. --Dalton Higgins
Michelle R. (safoocat) from SUNNYVALE, CA Reviewed on 9/5/2013...
I got this CD because I liked 808 & Heartbreak but it wasn't near as good. Too many N words and F bombs for me. It's ok though if the N word suits your style.
0 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Laura-Alexis H. from MANTEO, NC Reviewed on 5/2/2007...
NOTE "PARENTAL ADVISORY: EXPLICIT CONTENT" CD
1 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
"Tragedy to Triumph" (4.5 Stars)
Andrew Jacob | Brooklyn, New York | 03/02/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
(Gasp!)An artist with actual talent and substance... from Rocafella Records?!!Yes, I find it hard to accept too, but after listening to Kanye West's long over-due debut album, "The College Dropout", my doubtful assumptions have been put to a halt... at least in this situation. Kanye West, producer turned rapper, is perhaps one of the "better" new artists out right now. Why? It's because he's different. As a matter of fact, "innovative" would be a better word to describe the fresh sounding material Kanye brings to the hip-hop scene. His perfected skill in "sampling" is beyond exceptional, ranging from modern contemporary sounding hip-hop to old school R&B soul. Unlike other artists, like his label mates, The Diplomats, who just speed up any random song that is catchy, Kanye, builds on the sampled track, emphasizing and strengthening them.One of the many exceptional tracks on this album is "Slow Jamz". Although, if I were to be extremely picky, I would point out the fact that a collaboration between Kanye, Twista, and Jamie Foxx seems to be... abnormal & weird. Nonetheless, the song is addictive and samples Luther Vandross' "A House Is Not a Home". Another good track is "Spaceship" which samples the late Marvin Gaye's "Distant lover." It's a song about the hardships throughout life and the yearning of freedom. "Through The Wire" samples Chaka Khan's "Through the Fire", and is mainly about life after Kanye's near-fatal car accident. "Jesus Walks" & "Two Words" have addictive beats, while the warmth in "Family Business" will most likely put a smile on your face. "Last Call" provides a very introspective perspective on how Kanye West got signed to the label. But above it all, perhaps the best song on this album is "All Falls Down", which samples the brilliant "Mystery of Iniquity" by Lauryn Hill. Although small, this single-lined interpolation provides such a passion that echoes and is riveted throughout the song in addition to Kanye's clever and witty lyrics. On this song, Kanye West speaks a blunt and honest truth while questioning his own materialism and fame, a subject that many artists should attempt in doing themselves:It seems we living the American dream
But the people highest up got the lowest self-esteem
The prettiest people do the ugliest things
For the road to riches and diamond rings......We buy our way out of jail, but we can't buy freedom
We'll buy a lot of clothes when we don't really need em...Though the majority of the album is good, where the album stumbles is the very experimental "The New Workout Plan". I give him props for exploring new sounds, its just doesn't "work" for me and kind of falters when compared to the other tracks (although it can be catchy to some extent... if you like "dance/club" songs, you might like this one).Kanye West's album came at a time when innovation was rare (Hip-hop is still stuck in this "era of materialism"). Kanye West does come off as materialistic and arrogant sometimes, but his self-consciousness overshadows clichéd flaws. With this said, I happen to think this album is pretty consistent, even with all the skits (which by the way, I like... they're funny and in good humor... especially "The Workout Plan" and "School Spirit Skits 1 & 2". I also think "Graduation Day" has a nice beat.) I also like the fact that the booklet inside is made to be like a yearbook; it's clever and different (and funny; did Jay Z really look like that? Yikes!). I'm a little disappointed that the song "The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly" which features Consequence wasn't included in the album. Though Kanye's rapping isn't as strong as his peers, this is still nonetheless one of the better sounding rap albums in a good while. Kanye says it best:...I'm a champion
So I turned tragedy to triumph
Make music that's fire
Spit my soul through the wire"
Two Words, Kanye West, Hot S***
J. Highsmith | Mitchellville, Maryland United States | 03/22/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"When I first saw the name Kanye West it was when I realized that he was the one that produced Beanie Sigel's "The Truth", which was a song from Beanie Sigel's solo CD. I would see Kanye West's name once again on Jay Z's "Dynasty: Roc La Familia" CD. Kanye produced a nice collaboration with Jay Z, Scarface and Beanie Sigel called "This Can't Be Life". He used an old Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes song and all three rappers had nice verses on the song. Other well known Kanye produced beats are also "Get By" by Talib Kweli, "Takeover" by Jay Z and "Guess Who's Back" which is another collaboration with Jay Z, Scarface and Beanie Sigel. The first time I heard Kanye West rap was on "Champions" featuring Young Chris, Beanie Sigel, Cam'ron & Twista from the Paid In Full soundtrack. I wasn't sure if Kanye would release a CD but by the sounds of his debut CD, we definitely have a classic on our hands.His first single, "Through The Wire" sampled the old Chaka Khan slow jam, "Through The Fire". Kanye detailed the near fatal car accident that he was in and he basically did the whole rap, "through the wire". "Slow Jamz" is an interesting collaboration between Kanye, Twista and Jamie Foxx. Twista clearly steals the show but Kanye produces the track and he also has a nice verse on the song as well. His current single, "All Falls Down" samples a song from Lauryn Hill's MTV Unplugged CD. Lauryn wouldn't clear her vocals on the song so Kanye had Syleena Johnson sing the chorus. Kanye has a clever way of rapping. He likes to use metaphors, sometimes humorous, and you can tell that he is intelligent by the words that he says in some of his verses."Jesus Walks" is my favorite song on the CD. Kanye talks about God in a way that no other rapper has before and Kanye plays off of the fact that if he wasn't the person that he was that no one would even pay attention to what he is saying. He is sending a message saying that there is nothing wrong with pubicly diplaying your love for Jesus Christ. While the song may not be played in a club or on local radio stations, his message is loud and clear. Jay Z accompanies Kanye West on "Never Let Me Down". Jay has two "fire" verses inbetween Kanye and J Ivy. This song also serves a motivational song as the chorus goes: "When it comes to being true, atleast true to me, one thing I found, one thing I found is that you'll "Never Let Me Down". "Get 'Em High" features Talib Kweli and Common and definitely contains the best lyrics on the CD. We have an Erykah Badu less Common sounding like he did on "I Used To Love Her" and Talib at his best as well after Kanye raps to verses at the beginning of the track. Other stand out tracks include "Spaceship" where Kanye takes you back to almost an oppressive way of how people came up in the world, "We Don't Care" where Kanye has his own version of a kid's national anthem, "Two Words" featuring Mos Def and Freeway where it's nice just to hear Mos Def rapping and not see him in a movie or a play and the hilarious "New Workout Plan" where Kanye claims to have the remedy for all of the ladies' problems.I also can't exclude "Family Business" and "Last Call". Kanye plays off of habits in alot of families today like the aunt you don't eat food from and many other things. On "Last Call" Kanye finishes "The College Dropout" right as he raps for about 5 minutes and he gives you a summary of how he came up in the producing and rapping game.The only negative thing that I can say about this CD is that there are too many skits on "The College Dropout". However, the skits don't mess up the flow of the whole CD like on some rappers' CDs. Overall, you can't afford to miss what may be the best rap CD of 2004. Kanye West has clearly outdone himself on this CD. James' Top 51) Jesus Walks
2) Get 'Em High w/Talib Kweli & Common
3) Never Let Me Down w/Jay Z & J Ivy
4) Slow Jamz w/Twista & Jamie Foxx
Tie 5) We Don't Care & Spaceship"
The College Dropout
Chris Park | Toronto, ON CANADA | 02/12/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Kanye West's debut album is, in one word, refreshing. In a day and age where Nick Cannon and 50 Cent rule the radiowaves, Kanye West provides a smart, witty and touching album that enlightens the mind and soothes the soul.Being a member of the Roc-a-fella camp, one would think that Kanye would be quick to jump aboard the bling band-wagon. While he devotes a song or two to his love of money, he also offers insight into other matters in his life (school, family, God, and his near-fatal car crash experience). On 'Last Call' (the album's twelve minute finale), Kanye talks to his audience, as opposed to MC'ing. Over a beautiful saxophone sample, Kanye describes his slow rise to fame, and the prices he paid to get there.The album is intresting, with Kanye sampling Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin and Luther Vandross to name a few. His beats have an old-school feel to them, re-touched with a new school flavour. Kanye's MC'ing skills are not as dynamic as his production, but are strong nonetheless. His flow proves that he can ride a beat with words, and his lyrics show how introspective the man can be. On 'Jesus Walks', Kanye rhymes "I ain't here to argue about his facial features/or here to create atheists into believers/I'm just tryin' to say the way school needs teachers/the way Kathie-Lee needed Regis/that's the way I need Jesus".
Like all modern records, this album is not without a few flaws. There are an abundance of skits on the album, which leaves the listener craving for more Kanye. While they are thought-provoking and funny, they simply cannot compare to the quality of his music. The album starts out strong, but he stumbles on 'The New Workout Plan' and 'Breathe In, Breathe Out' featuring Ludacris. He recovers nicely."The College Dropout" is not revolutionary, nor will it change the face of hip-hop. It lacks the impact of Dr. Dre's 'The Chronic', or Nas' 'Illmatic'. Quite simply, "College Dropout" is a rare gem in a fabricated industry that promotes violence, money and sex. Kanye dares to be different, and treats all hip-hop fans (backpackers, mainstreamers alike) to a soul-filled, truthful, catchy album that will undoubtedly develop a cult following."
Kayne West- College Dropout
Constant | Vancouver, BC Canada | 02/10/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Kayne West's debut album "College Dropout" (2004) is good but not deserving of all the hype it has received. Kayne West production skills have been excellent, so I was interested in seeing how his MC skills are. The problem I find when listening to him, is he is not a gifted MC, his lyrics are for the most part average, and the way he curls his words can at times be annoying. The high number of skits and filler don't help either. That said there are some highlights to this album, for me they are for the most part well chosen collaboration tracks like: "All Fall's Down" feat. Syleena Johnson, "Never Let Me Down" feat. Jay-Z, "Get Em High" Feat. Talib Kweli/Common and the hit single "Slow Jamz" with Twista/Jamie Foxxx (which was already released on Twista's album). By teaming up with some of Rap's talented lyricists Kayne provides some memorable tracks. One track that Kayne does shine on solo is "Family Business" an outstanding cut- deep, introspective, real and uplifting. Kayne comes off best on tracks like that , because he is providing something different, more then the typical cut you here today.
End of day this is an album worth checking out if your a Rocafella fan, from Chicago or just looking for some fresh music. 3.5."