The College Dropout

The College Dropout
Studio album by Kanye West
Released February 10, 2004 (2004-02-10)
Recorded 1999–2003
Genre Hip hop
Length 76:13
Label Roc-A-Fella, Def Jam
Producer Kareem "Biggs" Burke (exec.), Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter (exec.), Damon "Dame" Dash (exec.), Evidence, Kyambo "Hip Hop" Joshua (exec.), Kanye West (also exec.)
Kanye West chronology
The College Dropout
(2004)
Late Registration
(2005)
Singles from The College Dropout
  1. "Through the Wire"
    Released: September 30, 2003
  2. "Slow Jamz"
    Released: December 2, 2003
  3. "All Falls Down"
    Released: February 24, 2004
  4. "Jesus Walks"
    Released: May 25, 2004
  5. "The New Workout Plan"
    Released: August 31, 2004

The College Dropout is the debut album by American hip hop artist Kanye West, released February 10, 2004, on Roc-A-Fella Records. It was recorded over a period of four years, beginning in 1999.[1] Prior to the album's release, West had worked on rapper Jay-Z's The Blueprint (2001), which showcased his melodic and soulful style of hip hop production.[2] Produced entirely by West, The College Dropout features musical contributions from Jay-Z, John Legend, Ervin "EP" Pope, Miri Ben-Ari, and Syleena Johnson. Diverging from the then-dominant gangster persona in hip hop, West's lyrics on the album concern themes of family, religion, self-consciousness, materialism, and personal struggles.

The album debuted at number two on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart, selling 441,000 copies in its first week. It was a massive commercial success, producing five singles that achieved chart success. Upon its release, The College Dropout received general acclaim from music critics and earned West several accolades, including a Grammy Award for Best Rap Album at the 47th Grammy Awards. It is West's best-selling album in the United States, with domestic sales of over 3.1 million copies and worldwide sales of over four million copies. Rolling Stone named it the tenth-best album of the 2000s decade. In 2006, the album was named by Time as one of the 100 best albums of all time.[3]

Contents

Background

Kanye West was born in Atlanta, Georgia. At the age of three, West's parents divorced and he moved with his mother to Chicago, Illinois.[4][5] West demonstrated an affinity for the arts at an early age; his mother recalled that she first took notice of his passion for drawing and music when he was in the third grade.[6] Growing up in the city, West became deeply involved in its hip hop scene. He started rapping in the third grade and began making beats in the seventh grade, eventually selling them to other artists.[7] He crossed paths with producer/DJ No I.D., with whom he quickly formed a close friendship. No. I.D. soon became Kanye's mentor, and it was from him that West learned how to sample and program beats after he received his first sampler at the age of fifteen.[8]

After graduating from West Aurora High School, West received a scholarship to attend Chicago's American Academy of Art and began taking painting classes, but shortly after transferred to Chicago State University to major in English. He continued making strides in his rapping and beat-making, and some of his earliest beats were sold to local underground rappers such as Gravity as well as major-label artists like Ma$e. However, it soon became apparent to West that his busy class schedule was a detriment with his work, and at the age of 20 he made the decision to drop out of college to pursue his dream of becoming a musician.[9] This action greatly displeased his mother, who was a professor at the university from which he withdrew. She later commented, "It was drummed into my head that college is the ticket to a good life... but some career goals don't require college. For Kanye to make an album called College Dropout it was more about having the guts to embrace who you are, rather than following the path society has carved out for you."[10]

West began his early production career in the mid-1990s, making beats primarily for burgeoning local artists, eventually developing a style that involved speeding up vocal samples from classic soul records. He came to achieve recognition and is often credited with revitalizing Jay-Z's career with his contributions on the rap mogul's classic and influential 2001 album The Blueprint. In addition to producing the hit lead single "Izzo (H.O.V.A.)" and the introspective "Never Change", West was also responsible for supplying the beat to the diss track "Takeover", in which lyrical shots were fired at Nas and Prodigy. The Blueprint has been named by Rolling Stone as the 464th greatest album of all time.[11] Serving as in-house producer for Roc-A-Fella Records, West produced records for other Roc artists, including Beanie Sigel, Freeway, and Cam'ron. He also crafted hit songs for Ludacris, Alicia Keys, and Janet Jackson.

Despite his proven talent and success as a producer, West's true aspiration was to be a rapper. Though he had developed his emceeing skills long before he began producing, it was a challenge for West to be accepted as a rapper, and he struggled to attain a record deal.[12] Multiple record companies pushed him aside because he did not portray the gangsta image prominent in mainstream hip hop.[13] After a series of meetings with Capitol Records, West was ultimately denied an artist deal. According to Capitol Record's A&R, Joe "3H" Weinberger, he was approached by West and almost inked a deal with him, but another person in the company got in the ear of Capitol's president, saying, "He's just a producer/rapper. Those record won't do well. He'll never sell." and the deal was nullified.[7] In a desperate attempt to keep their gifted producer from defecting to another label, then-label head Damon Dash reluctantly signed West to Roc-A-Fella Records. Jay-Z later admitted that Roc-A-Fella was initially reluctant to support West as a rapper, claiming that he, like many, saw him as a producer first and foremost, and that his background contrasted with that of his labelmates.[13][14] West's breakthrough came a year later on October 23, 2002, when, while driving home from a California recording studio after working late, he fell asleep at the wheel and was involved in a near-fatal car crash. The crash left him with a shattered jaw, which had to be wired shut in reconstructive surgery. The accident inspired West; two weeks after being admitted to hospital, he recorded a song at the Record Plant Studios with his jaw still wired shut. The composition, "Through The Wire", went on to become West's breakthrough debut single and helped lay the foundation for his debut album.[15]

Recording

The College Dropout was recorded at The Record Plant in Los Angeles, California, but its beats were formed elsewhere over the course of several years. According to John Monopoly, West's friend, manager and business partner, the album "...[didn't have] a particular start date. He's been gathering beats for years. He was always producing with the intention of being a rapper. There's beats on the album he's been literally saving for himself for years." At one point, West hovered between making a portion of the beats in the studio and the majority within his own apartment in Newark, New Jersey.[16] Because it was a two-bedroom apartment, West was able to set up a home studio in one of the rooms and his bedroom in the other.[12] Carrying a Louis Vuitton backpack filled with old disks and demos to the studio and back, West crafted beats in less than fifteen minutes at a time. He recorded the remainder of the album in Los Angeles while recovering from the car accident. Once he had completed the album, it was leaked months before its release date. However, West decided to use the opportunity to make the album even better, and The College Dropout was significantly remixed, remastered, and revised before being released. As a result, certain tracks originally destined for the album were subsequently retracted, among them "Keep the Receipt" with Ol' Dirty Bastard and "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly" with Consequence.[17] West meticulously refined the production, adding string arrangements, gospel choirs, improved drum programming and new verses.[12]

Music

Lyrical themes

The College Dropout diverged from the then-dominant gangster persona in hip hop in favor of more diverse, topical proponents.[18] Throughout the album, West touches on a number of different life-related issues, including organized religion, family, sexuality, excessive materialism, self-consciousness, minimum-wage labor, institutional prejudice, and personal struggles.[19][20][21][22] Music journalist Kelefa Sanneh wrote, "Throughout the album Mr. West taunts everyone who didn't believe in him: teachers, record executives, police officers, even his former boss at the Gap".[23] In an interview conducted just before the album's release, West commented, "My persona is that I'm the regular person. Just think about whatever you've been through in the past week, and I have a song about that on my album."[21] "Never Let Me Down" uses a Jay-Z verse first heard in the remix of his song "Hovi Baby".[24][25]

Content

The album begins with a high school teacher asking Kanye West to deliver a graduation speech, "something for the kids", which introduces the second track, "We Don't Care" on the album with West celebrating drug life: "All my people that's drug dealing just to get by, stack your money till it gets sky-high / We wasn't supposed to make it past 25, joke's on you, we still alive" and then criticizing it's influence amongst children, "We scream: rocks, blow, weed, Pac / See: now we smart". He uses his casual voice to describe a world of dope and dyslexia, and when he raps, "Hold up, hold fast, we make mo' cash / Now tell my momma I belong in that slow class".[23] His lyrics contain various popular culture references to the brand of jackets called Starters, rappers Really Doe and Tupac Shakur and song 21 Questions.[26] The next track, "Graduation Day" features Miri Ben-Ari on violin and is heavily auto-tuned to a point where the lyrics are nearly inaudible. On "All Falls Down", the album's second single, he criticizes consumerism as an expression of self-hatred rooted in history "We shine because they hate us / Floss cause they degrade us / We tryin to buy back our 40 acres", and then implicates himself in the same process, all while examining self-consciousness in the context of his community: "Rollies and Pashas done drive me crazy / I can't even pronounce nothing, yo pass the Versace / Then I spent 400 bucks on this just to be like 'Nigga you ain't up on this'."[27][28]

The gospel hymn "I’ll Fly Away" leads into "Spaceship", a low-key funk track in which West wishes he could get away from the working world via a spaceship; in a collaboration with GLC and Consequence, he compares the legacy of slavery to modern-day corporate enslavement. "I’ll Fly Away" is sung in a doo-wop style and uses a Marvin Gaye sample. The main theme is the history of black music while also being a working man’s anthem. "Spaceship" also touches upon West's previous job as a Gap employee. On "Jesus Walks" West proclaims his devotion to Jesus, and discusses the lack of religious themes touched upon in contemporary hip-hop. “I wanna talk to God but I’m afraid cause we ain't spoke in so long,” he confesses, but then he goes ahead and requests to push the song onto radio and push the divine into the heart of public dialogue. He also addresses the fact that gangsta rap is popular than conscious rap by saying that one could get airplay by releasing a song with themes of money, girls and guns but would not succeed if they released a song which praises Jesus.[27] His near-death car crash last October supplied the motivation for "Never Let Me Down" and includes the following lines "I can't complain what the accident did to my left eye / Coz look what an accident did to Left-Eye". Jay-Z rhymes about attaining status and power, West one-ups him with a show-stopping attack on racism and meditation on death, and J. Ivy offers words of spiritual upliftment. The song uses a Jay-Z verse first heard in the remix of his song "Hovi Baby".[27][29][30][31]

"Get Em High" is a collaboration by West with two socially conscious rappers, Talib Kweli and Common. The over-the-top "The New Workout Plan" is both a hilarious parody of an aerobics routine and a platform for West to wrap his words around weird shifts in tempo and style.[27] "Slow Jamz" is a side-splitting ode to legends soul music that originally appeared on Twista's Kamikaze and features Jamie Foxx.[28] He considers the lure of materialism with Ludacris on "Breathe In Breathe Out" as he boldly declares "Always said if I rapped I’d say something significant / But here I am talking about money, hoes, and rims again".[32] On the song "School Spirit", West relates the experience of dropping out of school and contains references to well-known fraternities, sororities, singer Norah Jones, record label Roc-A-Fella Records. Also, all profanities on this song are distorted as Aretha Franklin would not give West permission to sample Spirit in the Dark if the song included any profanities.[33]

"Two Words" is a deafening mix of social critique and bragging with Mos Def, Freeway, and the Harlem Boys Choir. Freeway plays the hit man and Mos the enlightened activist, while West hangs in the middle, sending out love to the gold-fronted and the Native Tongued alike.[27][34] "Through the Wire" borrows a chorus from Chaka Khan and a plotline from real life: in October 2002 West came close to dying in a car accident. With his jaw still wired shut he recorded the mush-mouthed lyrics. "My dogs couldn't tell if I / Would look like Tom Cruise in Vanilla Sky" he slurs, slipping into character as a wounded hero beating the odds. For about a year the song circulated on West's mixtapes and other unofficial releases. The song forges his dual status as underdog and champion.[23][28] "Family Business" is a sweet, soulful tribute to an incarcerated family member. The album ends with a 12-minute autobiographical monologue that follows the song "Last Call".[27]

Singles

The album's first single and West's debut single, "Through the Wire", was inspired by his 2002 car accident and provides a comedic account of his difficult recovery.[35] The chorus and instrumentals sample a "pitched up" version of Chaka Khan's 1985 single "Through the Fire".[15] The single debuted at number ninety-four on the Billboard Hot 100 and peaked at number fifteen on February 3, 2004 for five weeks. It remained on the chart for twenty-one weeks.[36] It performed better on the urban contemporary charts, reaching number eight on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks and number four on the Hot Rap Tracks.[37] In the United Kingdom, it debuted at number nine on the UK Singles Chart, where it peaked for two weeks, and exited the chart after nine weeks. The track charted lower in other European countries, reaching the top thirty in Ireland, Sweden, and the Netherlands; the top fifty in Belgium and Switzerland; and number sixty-one in Germany. Its maximum peak time in those countries lasted one week. The single entered the New Zealand Singles Chart at number twenty-four and peaked at number sixteen.[36]

The second single, "Slow Jamz", is a tribute to classic smooth soul artists and slow jam songs. It previously appeared on rapper Twista's 2003 album Kamikaze, and contains vocals from Twista, West, and Jamie Foxx.[38] The single peaked at number one in the United States, becoming Twista's, West's, and Foxx's first number one hit. It was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration, and Q listed it as the nineteenth greatest hip-hop song of all time.[39] "All Falls Down" was released as the third single, and it entered the UK Singles Chart at number ten and peaked at number seven on the U.S. Hot 100. The song features singer Syleena Johnson and contains an interpolation of Lauryn Hill's "Mystery of Iniquity". Kanye originally attempted to acquire legal clearance to sample the recording, but permission was withheld.[12] West called upon Johnson to re-sing a vocal portion of "Mystery of Iniquity", which ended up in the final mix.[40] The song later appeared with the original sample on the mixtape Freshmen Adjustment.[41][42]

The fourth single, "Jesus Walks", was originally written and recorded as a solo track for Chicago-based rapper Rhymefest. However, because he did not have a record deal at the time, he and West re-wrote the song for The College Dropout.[43] "Jesus Walks" is built around a sample of "Walk With Me" as performed by the ARC Choir.[38] Garry Mulholland of The Observer described it as a "towering inferno of martial beats, fathoms-deep chain gang backing chants, a defiant children's choir, gospel wails, and sizzling orchestral breaks."[44] A spiritual trek, the first verse of the song is told through the eyes of a drug dealer seeking God, and it reportedly took over six months for West to draw inspiration for the second verse.[45] The single earned widespread commercial success, peaking at number eleven in the United States and becoming West's fourth top twenty hit, while peaking at number sixteen in the UK.[46][47] It was nominated for Grammy Award for Song of the Year, one of ten total Grammy nominations that West received for 2004.[48] The fifth and final single, "The New Workout Plan", peaked at number fifty-nine on the U.S. Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart. The song contains violin by Miri Ben-Ari.[38] The song's official remix was produced by Lil Jon and features guest appearances from Twista, Luke, and Fonzworth Bentley. The remix was later included on The College Dropout Video Anthology.[49]

The planned sixth single was "Spaceship", featuring rappers GLC and Consequence. This was confirmed in 2009 when GLC reported that a music video had been made for the song, but never released; the label decided to move on from the album to begin promoting West's second album, Late Registration.[50] On June 3, 2009, West uploaded the video on his official blog.[51] At one time, "Two Words" (featuring Mos Def and Freeway) was also intended to be released as a single, and a video for the song was filmed. West uploaded the video on his official blog in May 2009.[52]

Reception

Commercial performance

The album debuted at number two on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart, selling 441,000 copies in its first week.[53] By April 2004, it had sold in excess of 1 million copies in the United States.[54] On June 30, 2004, the album was certified double platinum in sales by the Recording Industry Association of America, following sales of 2 million copies.[54] As of July 2009, The College Dropout is West's best-selling album in the United States, with domestic sales of over 3.1 million copies;[55] it has sold over 4 million copies worldwide.[56]

Critical response

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 5/5 stars[28]
Robert Christgau (A)[57]
Entertainment Weekly (A-)[58]
Los Angeles Times 3/4 stars[59]
The New York Times (favorable)[23]
Pitchfork Media (8.2/10)[60]
Rolling Stone 3.5/5 stars[2]
Spin (7/10)[61]
URB 4.5/5 stars[62]
The Village Voice (favorable)[63]

The College Dropout received general acclaim from music critics.[64] At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 87, based on 25 reviews, which indicates "universal acclaim".[64] Kelefa Sanneh of The New York Times dubbed it "2004's first great hip-hop album".[23] The A.V. Club's Nathan Rabin praised its "substance, social commentary, righteous anger, ornery humanism, dark humor, and even Christianity", calling it "one of those wonderful crossover albums that appeal to a huge audience without sacrificing a shred of integrity".[65] Jon Pareles of Blender gave it four out of five stars and commented that West "has his own personality: not a gangsta or a player but a diligent pragmatist".[66] Chris Ryan of Spin called West a "full-service hip-hop artiste", stating "As a producer, he shuttles back and forth between stuttering Southern bounce and graceful, elegiac, classic-soul tear-jerking; as a rapper, he’s got a sly sense of humor, an appealingly conversational tone, and a big heart".[61] Ethan Brown of New York commended West's "emotional brand of hip-hop" and stated "he makes autobiography universal in a way that hasn’t really been heard in hip-hop since the mid-nineties".[67] Los Angeles Times writer Soren Baker praised his "witty wordplay, ability to weave political statements into clever punchlines and his likable personality in the face of peril".[59]

Josh Love of Stylus Magazine wrote that West "subverts cliches from both sides of the hip-hop divide" and praised him for "trying to reflect the entire spectrum of hip-hop and black experience, looking for solace and salvation in the traditional safehouses of church and family, with the domestic utopia of ‘Family Business’ communicating the same kind of yearning as the heavenly pleas of ‘Jesus Walks’".[19] Renee Graham of The Boston Globe stated "West has certainly raised the bar on what mainstream hip-hop can and should be".[68] Hua Hsu of The Village Voice complimented West's life-related themes and his use of sped-up samples, stating "Kanye's beats carry a humble, human air. You can still hear tiny traces of actual people inside".[63] In his consumer guide for The Village Voice, Robert Christgau gave the album an A rating and stated, "Not only does [West] create a unique role model, that role model is dangerous--his arguments against education are as market-targeted as other rappers' arguments for thug life".[57] Entertainment Weekly's Michael Endelman called its production "uplifting" and commented on West's subject matter and avoidance of the then-dominant "gangsta" persona of hip hop, stating:

West delivers the goods with a disarming mix of confessional honesty and sarcastic humor, earnest idealism and big-pimping materialism. In a scene still dominated by authenticity battles and gangsta posturing, he's a middle-class, politically conscious, post-thug, bourgeois rapper -- and that's nothing to be ashamed of.[58]
—Michael Endelman

Rolling Stone's Jon Caramanica commented that "West isn't quite MC enough to hold down the entire disc", but praised his soul-based sampling and vulnerable lyrics.[2] Despite noting "too many guest artists, too many interludes, and just too many songs period", Slant Magazine's Sal Cinquemani gave the album three-and-a-half out of five stars and complimented West's observations, stating "As chest-beatingly self-congratulatory as it may be, The College Dropout is at once laugh-out-loud funny ('The New Workout Plan'), genuinely touching ('Family Business'), and brutally honest ('All Falls Down')".[20] Dave Heaton of PopMatters called it "musically enganging", writing that "every single one of these songs comes off like a genuine extension of Kanye's personality and experiences".[27] Vibe's Dan Frosch gave it a four-out-of-five disc rating and found West's rapping to be on-par with his production.[69] Joe Warminsky of The Washington Post praised West's sampling and incorporation of live instrumentation, adding that "West shows a balance between patience and imagination".[70] URB commented that it "manages to be both visceral and emotive, sprinkling the dancefloors with tears and sweat."[62] Pitchfork Media's Rob Mitchum called it a "flawed, overlong, hypocritical, egotistical, and altogether terrific album".[60] Allmusic editor Andy Kellman gave the album five out of five stars and commented that it shows West as a "remarkably versatile lyricist and a valuable MC".[28]

Accolades

The album was nominated for a Grammy Award for Album of the Year, and won the Grammy Award for Best Rap Album and Best Rap Song for "Jesus Walks" in 2005. It was voted as the best album of the year by Rolling Stone and in The Village Voice's Pazz & Jop critics poll.[71][72] Spin ranked it number one on its list of 40 Best Albums of the Year.[73] Comedian Chris Rock has attested to listening to The College Dropout while writing his material.[74] In 2005, Pitchfork Media named it #50 in their best albums of 2000–2004.[75] In 2006, the album was named by Time as one of the 100 best albums of all time.[3] In its retrospective 2007 issue, XXL awarded it a perfect "XXL" rating, which had previously been given to only sixteen other albums.[76] In its July 4, 2008 issue, Entertainment Weekly listed College Dropout as the fourth best album of the past 25 years.[77] The magazine later listed the album as the best album of the decade.[78] The magazine also ranked it number one on its list of 10 Best Albums of the Decade.[79] Entertainment Weekly put it on its end-of-the-decade "best-of" list, saying, "The 2004 debut from West—a revolutionarily relatable rapper who also happened to be a beatmaking genius—was accepted into the hip-hop canon instantly, no diploma needed."[80] Newsweek placed it among its Best Albums of the Decade list at number 3.[81] Rhapsody named it the seventh best album of the decade and the fourth best hip hop album of the decade.[82][83] Rolling Stone ranked it number 10 on its list of the 100 Best Album of the Decade and stated, "Kanye expanded the musical and emotional language of hip-hop ... he challenged all the rules, dancing across boundaries others were too afraid to even acknowledge".[84]

Track listing

CD

No. Title Producer Length
1. "Intro"   Kanye West 0:19
2. "We Don't Care"   Kanye West 3:59
3. "Graduation Day"   Kanye West 1:22
4. "All Falls Down" (featuring Syleena Johnson) Kanye West 3:43
5. "I'll Fly Away"   Kanye West 1:09
6. "Spaceship" (featuring GLC & Consequence) Kanye West 5:24
7. "Jesus Walks"   Kanye West 3:13
8. "Never Let Me Down" (featuring Jay-Z & J. Ivy) Kanye West 5:24
9. "Get Em High" (featuring Talib Kweli & Common) Kanye West 4:49
10. "Workout Plan"   Kanye West 0:46
11. "The New Workout Plan"   Kanye West 5:22
12. "Slow Jamz" (featuring Twista & Jamie Foxx) Kanye West 5:16
13. "Breathe In Breathe Out" (featuring Ludacris) Kanye West, Brian Miller* 4:06
14. "School Spirit Skit 1"     1:18
15. "School Spirit"   Kanye West 3:02
16. "School Spirit Skit 2"     0:43
17. "Lil Jimmy Skit"     0:53
18. "Two Words" (featuring Mos Def, Freeway & The Boys Choir of Harlem) Kanye West 4:26
19. "Through the Wire"   Kanye West 3:41
20. "Family Business"   Kanye West 4:38
21. "Last Call"   Kanye West, Evidence*, Porse** 12:40

(*) designates co-producer
(**) designates additional producer

LP

Personnel

Information taken from The College Dropout liner notes.[38] Sample notes that aren't included in the CD booklet were taken from WhoSampled.com.[85]

# Title Notes
The College Dropout
  • Executive Producers: Shawn Carter, Damon Dash, Kareem "Biggs" Burke
  • Co-Executive Producers: G. Roberson, Kyambo "Hip Hop" Joshua, Kanye West, Michael Perretta
  • A&R Direction: Hip Hop Since 1978, Patrick "Plain Pat" Reynolds
  • A&R Coordinator: Shalik Berry, Ramses Francois, Darrin Asemota
  • Direction of Joint Ventures: Darcell Lawrence
  • Recording Administration: Tony Vanias
  • Mastering: Eddy Schreyer
  • Marketing for Hip Hop Since 1978: Al Branch
  • Marketing for Roc-a-Fella Records: Girard Hunt, Osayamen Asemota
  • Marketing for Def Jam: Shante Bacon
  • Management: John Monopoly, Don C., Benny Medina, Andrei McQuillan
  • Art Direction & Design: Eric Duvauchelle, Mike Godshall, Jim Morris, Stephanie Reynolds, Lauri Rowe
  • Dropout Bear Logo Design: Bobby Naugle, Sam Hansen
  • Costumes: O Share Stylez, Kanye West
  • Legal Counsel: Alison K. Finley
  • Business Affairs: Randy McMillan, Antoinette Trotman, Ian Allen
  • Sample Clearance Agent: Eric Weissman
1 "Intro"
  • Songwriters: Kanye West
  • Producer: Kanye West
  • Recorder: Rabeka Tunei
  • Mix engineer: Manny Marroquin
  • Additional Vocals: Deray
2 "We Don't Care"
  • Songwriters: Kanye West, Ross Vannelli
  • Producer: Kanye West
  • Recorders: Rich Balmer, Eugene A. Toale
  • Mix engineer: Manny Marroquin
  • Assistant engineers: Taylor Dow, Nate Connelly, Mike Mo
  • Additional vocals: John Legend, Riccarda Watkins, Diamond Alabi-Isama, Keyshia Cole, Terence Hardy, James "JT" Knight
  • Violin: Miri Ben-Ari
  • Contains a sample of "I Just Wanna Stop" performed by The Jimmy Castor Bunch
3 "Graduation Day"
  • Songwriters: Kanye West
  • Producer: Kanye West
  • Recorders: Anthony Kilhoffer, Eugene A. Toale
  • Mix engineer: Manny Marroquin
  • Piano and vocals: John Legend
  • Violin: Miri Ben-Ari
4 "All Falls Down"
  • Songwriters: Kanye West, Lauryn Hill
  • Producer: Kanye West
  • Recorders: Tasuya Sato, Rabeka Tunei
  • Mix engineer: Manny Marroquin
  • Guitar: Eric "E-Bass" Johnson
  • Acoustic Guitar: Ken Lewis
  • Contains an interpolation of "Mystery of Iniquity" performed by Lauryn Hill
5 "I'll Fly Away"
  • Songwriters: Albert E. Brumley
  • Producer: Kanye West
  • Recorder: Rabeka Tunei
  • Mix engineer: Manny Marroquin
  • Additional vocals: Tony Williams, Deray
  • Piano: Ervin "EP" Pope
6 "Spaceship"
7 "Jesus Walks"
8 "Never Let Me Down"
  • Songwriters: Kanye West, Shawn Carter, J. Richardson, Michael Bolton, Bruce Kulick
  • Producer: Kanye West
  • Recorders: Gimel "Guru" Keaton, Anthony Kilhoffer, Brent Kolantalo, Jacelyn Parry, Rabeka Tunei
  • Mix engineer: Manny Marroquin
  • Background vocals: John Legend, Tracie Spencer
  • Keyboard: Ervin "EP" Pope
  • Guitar: Glenn Jefferey
  • Sample recreated and performed by Ken Lewis
  • Contains a sample of "Maybe It's the Power of Love" performed by Blackjack
  • Contains an interpolation of "Hovi Baby (Remix)" performed by Jay-Z
9 "Get Em High"
  • Songwriters: Kanye West, Talib Kweli Greene, Lonnie Lynn
  • Producer: Kanye West
  • Recorders: Anthony Kilhoffer, Michael Eleopoulos, Dave Dar
  • Mix engineer: Manny Marroquin
  • Additional vocals: Sumeke Rainey
10 "Workout Plan"
  • Songwriters: Kanye West
  • Producer: Kanye West
  • Recorder: Rabeka Tunei
  • Mix engineer: Manny Marroquin
  • Additional Vocals: Candis Brown, Brandi Kuykenvall, Tiera Singleton
11 "The New Workout Plan"
  • Songwriters: Kanye West
  • Producer: Kanye West
  • Recorders: Keith Slattery, Andrew Dawson, Eugene A. Toale
  • Mix engineer: Manny Marroquin
  • Additional vocals: John Legend, Sumeke Rainey
  • Talkbox: Bosko
  • Guitar: Eric "E-Bass" Johnson
  • Piano: Ervin "EP" Pope
  • Violin: Miri Ben-Ari
12 "Slow Jamz"
13 "Breathe In Breathe Out"
  • Songwriter: Kanye West, Brian Miller
  • Producers: Kanye West, Brian "All Day" Miller
  • Recorders: Jacob Andrew, Jason Rauhoff, Eugene A. Toale
  • Mix engineer: Manny Marroquin
  • Violin: Miri Ben-Ari
  • Contains a sample of "Precious Precious" performed by Jackie Moore
14 "School Spirit Skit 1"
  • Songwriter: Kanye West
  • Recorder: Rabeka Tunei
  • Mix engineer: Manny Marroquin
  • Additional vocals: Deray
15 "School Spirit"
  • Songwriters: Kanye West, Aretha Franklin
  • Producer: Kanye West
  • Recorders: Andrew Dawson, Rabeka Tunei
  • Mix engineer: Manny Marroquin
  • Additional vocals: Tony Williams
  • Contains a sample of "Spirit in the Dark" performed by Aretha Franklin
16 "School Spirit Skit 2"
  • Songwriter: Kanye West
  • Recorder: Rabeka Tunei
  • Mix engineer: Manny Marroquin
  • Additional vocals: Deray
17 "Lil Jimmy Skit"
  • Songwriter: Kanye West
  • Recorder: Rabeka Tunei
  • Mix engineer: Manny Marroquin
  • Additional vocals: Deray, Tony Williams
  • Piano: Ervin "EP" Pope
18 "Two Words"
  • Songwriter: Kanye West, Dante Smith, Leslie Pridgen, Carlos Wilson, Lou Wilson, Ric Wilson
  • Recorder: Marc Fuller, Keith Slattery, Carlisle Young
  • Mix engineer: Mike Dean
  • Additional vocals: The Boys Choir of Harlem
  • Keyboards: Keith Slattery
  • Violins: Miri Ben-Ari
  • Contains a sample of "Peace and Love (Amani Na Mapenzi) - Movement III (Time)" performed by Mandrill
19 "Through the Wire"
  • Songwriters: Kanye West, David Foster, Tom Keane, Cynthia Weil
  • Producer: Kanye West
  • Recorder: Francis Graham
  • Mix engineer: Manny Marroquin
  • Contains a sample of "Through the Fire" performed by Chaka Khan
20 "Family Business"
  • Songwriters: Kanye West
  • Producer: Kanye West
  • Recorders: Andrew Dawson, Rabeka Tunei
  • Mix engineer: Manny Marroquin
  • Additional vocals: Thomasina Atkins, Linda Petty, Beverly McCargo, Lavel Mena, Thai Jones, Kevin Shannon, Tarey Torae
  • Piano: Josh Zandman
  • Additional instrumentation: Ken Lewis
  • Contains a sample of "Fonky Thang" performed by The Dells
  • Contains an interpolation of "Ambitionz Az a Ridah" performed by 2Pac
21 "Last Call"
  • Songwriters: Kanye West, Michael Perretta
  • Producers: Kanye West, Evidence, Porse
  • Recorders: Brent Kolantalo, Rabeka Tunei
  • Mix engineer: Manny Marroquin
  • Bass, keyboard, percussion, guitar and vocals: Ken Lewis
  • Additional vocals: John Legend, Tony Williams
  • Guitar: Glenn Jefferey
  • Piano: Ervin "EP" Pope
  • Contains a sample of "Mr. Rockefeller" performed by Bette Midler

Chart history

Album

Charts (2004) Peak
position
U.S. Billboard 200 2
U.S. Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums 1
U.S. Billboard Top Rap Albums 1
French Albums Chart 98
German Albums Chart 77
Swedish Albums Chart 39
UK Albums Chart 12

Certifications

Country Provider Certification
Canada CRIA Platinum[86]
New Zealand RIANZ Gold[87]
United Kingdom BPI 2× Platinum[88]
United States RIAA 2× Platinum[89]

Singles

Song Chart (2003) Peak
position
"Slow Jamz" U.S. Billboard Hot 100 1
Rhythmic Top 40 1
Hot Rap Tracks 3
Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles and Tracks 1
Top 40 Mainstream 2
"Through the Wire" U.S. Billboard Hot 100 15
Rhythmic Top 40 10
Hot Rap Tracks 4
Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles and Tracks 8
Top 40 Mainstream 32
Top 40 Tracks 25
Song Chart (2004) Peak
position
"All Falls Down" U.S. Billboard Hot 100 7
Rhythmic Top 40 7
Hot Rap Tracks 2
Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles and Tracks 4
Top 40 Mainstream 22
Top 40 Tracks 11
"Jesus Walks" U.S. Billboard Hot 100 11
Rhythmic Top 40 16
Hot Rap Tracks 3
Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles and Tracks 2
"The New Workout Plan" Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles and Tracks 59

See also

Notes

  1. ^ The Set Up. XXL. Accessed September 7, 2008
  2. ^ a b c Caramanica, Jon (March 15, 2004). Review: The College Dropout. Rolling Stone. Retrieved on 2009-12-26.
  3. ^ a b "Time 100 Best Albums of All Time". Time. http://www.time.com/time/2006/100albums/index.html. Retrieved 2010-05-25. 
  4. ^ Arney, Steve (2006-03-08). "Kanye West Coming To Redbird.". Pantagraph. http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-142980674.html. Retrieved 2008-04-26. 
  5. ^ Christian, Margena A. (2007-05-14). "Dr. Donda West Tells How She Shaped Son To Be A Leader In Raising Kanye". Jet. http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1355/is_19_111/ai_n19206336. Retrieved 2007-08-19. 
  6. ^ West, Donda, p. 105
  7. ^ a b Calloway, Sway; Reid, Shaheem (2004-02-20). "Kanye West: Kanplicated". MTV. MTV Networks. http://www.mtv.com/bands/w/west_kanye/news_feature_022404/index2.jhtml. Retrieved 2009-04-21. 
  8. ^ Hess, p. 557
  9. ^ West, Donda, p. 106
  10. ^ Hess, p. 558
  11. ^ "500 Greatest Albums of All Time: #464 (The Blueprint)". Rolling Stone. 2003-11-18. http://www.rollingstone.com/news/story/_/id/6627023. Retrieved 2007-06-21. 
  12. ^ a b c d Reid, Shaheem (2005-02-09). "Road To The Grammys: The Making Of Kanye West's College Dropout". MTV. http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1496766/20050209/west_kanye.jhtml. Retrieved 2009-01-04. 
  13. ^ a b Hess, p. 556
  14. ^ Williams, Jean A (2007-10-01). "Kanye West: The Man, the Music, and the Message.(Biography)". The Black Collegian. http://www.accessmylibrary.com/coms2/summary_0286-33426663_ITM. Retrieved 2008-04-27. 
  15. ^ a b Birchmeier, Jason (2007). "Kanye West - Biography". allmusic. Macrovision Corporation. http://www.allmusic.com/artist/p353484. Retrieved 2008-04-24. 
  16. ^ "Artist: Kanye West Album: The College Dropout Song: Last Call". The Original Hip-Hop Lyrics Archive. http://www.ohhla.com/anonymous/kan_west/college/lastcall.wst.txt. Retrieved 2007-06-07. 
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  25. ^ "Hovi Baby (Remix)" unofficial (and inaccurate) lyrics. OHHLA.com.
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  32. ^ Ryan, Chris. Kanye West - The College Dropout Review. Spin
  33. ^ Kanye West - School Spirit Lyrics
  34. ^ Ryan, Chris. Kanye West - The College Dropout Review. Spin
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  45. ^ Calloway, Sway; Reid, Shaheem (2004-02-20). "Kanye West: Kanplicated". MTV. MTV Networks. http://www.mtv.com/bands/w/west_kanye/news_feature_022404/index3.jhtml. Retrieved 2009-04-21. 
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References

  • Brown, Jake (2006). Kanye West in the Studio: Beats Down! Money Up! (2000-2006). Colossus Books. ISBN 0-9767735-6-2. 
  • Hess, Mickey (2007). Icons of Hip Hop: an Encyclopedia of the Movement, Music, and Culture. Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN 0-313-33904-X. 
  • West, Donda; Hunter, Karen (2007). Raising Kanye: Life Lessons from the Mother of a Hip-Hop Superstar. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 1-416-54470-4. 

External links


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