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Best Albums Ever: Kanye West – The College Dropout

Welcome to our new Best Albums Ever column! Starting us off is Jennifer Adetoro, arguing the case for Kanye West with his debut album The College Dropout.

If someone was to ask me, “What is your favourite album of all time?” I honestly wouldn’t know how to answer. However, I know for certain that The College Dropout by Kanye West would be up there. When thinking of Kanye, a lot of people obviously think “What a douchebag.” When I think of Kanye, I think ‘what a musical genius’.

Image from Wikipedia.

 

Released in 2004, it was Kanye’s debut album which took over four years to record simply because many lacked confidence in Kanye’s rapping ability, a struggle he expresses throughout the album. When the album came out, there was a dominant gangster persona in rap. The College Dropout changed that.

It was different, bringing in a distinct new sound to the genre. Hip-hop artists have a knack for telling the story of their experiences through their music, which is something Kanye manipulates on this album. Political and social issues are bought to light, for example in the theme of consumerism prevalent in third single “All Falls Down”. As well as a beat, the track employs a strong acoustic guitar, which, along with the talents of the female vocalist, gives the song a more natural and soft feeling. This softness allows us to really appreciate the lyrics.

On top of rapping about serious subjects, Kanye also includes comical skits in a lot of his tracks, which makes the album light-hearted and entertaining to listen to. He relays his experiences in inventive, uplifting ways. In “Through the Wire”, he physically raps with his jaw wired after a car accident, and “Last Call” talks listeners through his struggles as an up-and-coming rapper.

The album reaches a climax in “Two Words”. Kanye really shows off his production here by adding a choir, live guitar, piano and strings to the samples of Mandrill and Amani Na Mapenzi. He is joined on the track by artists Mos Def and Freeway who also start with the phrase ‘Two Words’ at the beginning of their verse. This merge really enforces how creative Kanye is, demonstrating that rappers can get creative with production by allowing more in their tracks than just a beat.

What’s your favourite album ever? Email website.entertainment@inquiremedia.co.uk and tell us why!

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