Free UK delivery for orders over £50
The College Dropout
Out of stock
“The College Dropout,” the inaugural studio album by American rapper and producer Kanye West, marked a significant moment in the music industry. This game-changing album, released February 2004, under the banners of Def Jam Recordings and Jay-Z’s Roc-A-Fella Records, set the stage for West’s illustrious career.
In the years leading up to the album’s release, Kanye West had already garnered recognition for his production prowess, working with luminaries like Jay-Z and Talib Kweli. However, he encountered challenges in establishing himself as a solo artist. Determined to forge his own path, West inked a record deal with Roc-A-Fella and embarked on a four-year journey to craft “The College Dropout,” commencing in 1999.
The album’s production is a testament to West’s ingenuity. He introduced the world to his “chipmunk soul” musical style, characterised by the clever manipulation of vocal samples from soul and R&B records, featuring tempo acceleration and pitch shifts. His talents extended to drum programming, string arrangements, and gospel choirs. Collaborative contributions came from the likes of Jay-Z, Mos Def, Jamie Foxx, Syleena Johnson, and Ludacris, among others.
Shifting away from the dominant gangster persona in hip hop at the time, West’s lyrics dived into an array of topics. He explored themes of family, self-reflection, materialism, religion, racism, and the value of higher education.
“The College Dropout” hit the ground running, debuting at an impressive number two on the US Billboard 200. It achieved rapid commercial success, becoming West’s best-selling album in the United States at that time, amassing domestic sales of over 3.4 million copies by 2014. In 2020, it was officially certified 4x platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).
The album’s singles, including “Through the Wire,” “Jesus Walks,” “All Falls Down,” and “Slow Jamz,” catapulted West’s name to the forefront. “Slow Jamz” even secured the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100, marking West’s first number-one single as a lead artist.
Critically, “The College Dropout” received widespread acclaim. It was lauded for West’s groundbreaking production, witty and heartfelt raps, and the perfect balance it struck between self-reflection and mainstream appeal. The album’s brilliance was further acknowledged with nominations for Album of the Year and Best Rap Album at the 2005 Grammy Awards, of which the latter was a win.
Over time, “The College Dropout” has earned its place in the annals of music history. Numerous publications, including Rolling Stone and NME, have celebrated it as one of the greatest albums ever made, with rankings at 74 and 273, respectively, on their 500 Greatest Albums of All Time lists. Additionally, it’s credited with popularizing the chipmunk soul and conscious rap subgenres in the 2000s.
A1 We Don't Care
A2 Graduation Day
A3 All Falls Down - feat Syleena Johnson
A4 Spaceship - feat Consequence, GLC
A5 Jesus Walks
B1 Never Let Me Down - feat J. Ivy, Jay-Z
B2 Get Em High - feat Common, Talib Kweli
B3 The New Workout Plan
B4 Through The Wire
C1 Slow Jamz - feat Jamie Foxx, Twista
C2 Breathe In Breathe Out - feat Ludacris
C3 School Spirit
C4 Two Words - feat Freeway, Mos Def, The Boys Choir Of Harlem
D1 Family Business
D2 Last Call
Receive this record and others like it when you join our monthly subscription box. We handpick records based on your tastes and our eclectic knowledge.