By Brandon Kesselly, Staff Writer
What comes to mind when you think of Kanye West? Do you think of “Stronger” or “Gold Digger”? The time he criticized President George W. Bush for his supposed lack of efforts for the victims of Hurricane Katrina? The Taylor Swift incident and the ensuing memes? Or maybe you really enjoyed South Park’s portrayal of him.
Monday marked the 10th anniversary of West’s debut album, “The College Dropout.”
The title was blunt and true: West did drop out of college in order to pursue his dream of music. The album’s tracks detailed his story of struggles with work (“Spaceship”), his dance with death (“Through the Wire”), and his cynical criticism of the college system through a series of humorous — albeit, in your face — skits. West also explored his socio-political side with tracks like “All Falls Down,” “We Don’t Care,” “Never Let Me Down” and “Two Words.”
It is hard to imagine that it has been only ten years since West entered the limelight. Many people who don’t listen to hip-hop or don’t know West’s music tend to ask: “What’s so great about Kanye West?”
Let me tell you: “The College Dropout” changed the genre.
Released roughly one year after 50 Cent’s debut, “Get Rich or Die Tryin’,” “Dropout” was different: it was not an album glamorizing blatant criminal activity like a majority of the genre’s high profile artists at the time. West had crafted a project that told stories appealing to the masses, discussing the struggles of a man trying to make his dreams come true despite going against the grain of society.
Dropout paved the way for artists like Drake, J. Cole and Wale to find success, and for artists like Common to return to the spotlight. In short, nothing was the same since “The College Dropout” dropped. Congratulations, Mr. West.