Ten years of Kanye
Ten years ago, the brightest artist to emerge from the new millennium released his debut album that soon would take the world by unapologetic force.
Kanye West’s College Dropout celebrates its tenth anniversary this week. It’s the album that heralded classics such as “Jesus Walks,” “All Falls Down” and “Slow Jamz.” It also provided divergence from the then-popular gangsta-rap scene.
The album scored 10 Grammy nominations in 2005, but only took home the award for Best Rap Song and Best Rap Album. College Dropout was nominated for Album of the Year, but lost to Ray Charles’ collaborative Genius Loves Company.
Critics, fans and the hip-hop star alike have taken to social media and various publications to honor the modern-day masterpiece.
College Dropout because an instant hit after the release. Few could have guessed how massive West’s genius and ego would become, but the artist’s debut was an excellent indicator. West’s musical exploration and experimentation changed the game on what hip-hop and rap was supposed to sound like.
West was already a popular name among the hip-hop community prior to the release of College Dropout. He achieved a following after producing songs for Ludacris, Alicia Keys and his most critically acclaimed work with Jay-Z on The Blueprint album. West’s production work made him one of music’s youngest and most valuable producers.
It is unbelievable to fathom that West’s solo career almost never materialized. After West burst into stardom as a solo artist, Jay-Z admitted that his label, Roc-A-Fella, was hesitant to sign West as a rapper. He claimed that his colleagues and fans saw him as a producer, and that his background would not be taken seriously in the hip-hop world.
It is fitting that the tenth anniversary of College Dropout is a moment of triumph for the rapper. Although the ire of much negativity from the media and the general public, it is more than just controversy that fuels West’s career. It is his innovative genius that has separated him from competitors. College Dropout is a reminder of this fact, and the purest release of his extensive career.