November 20, 2010

The Original: The College Dropout

The College Dropout
It was a Monday morning.  It was the Spring of 2004 and I was eagerly awaiting the arrival of this album, The College Dropout by Kanye West.  I hadn't heard a whole heck of a lot about the dude but I certainly had been introduced to him on Jay's Blueprint album.  See, unlike most people, I found the booklet inside of the CD to be very informative and very much a good read.  I remember reading the producers' credits on the album and seeing this name Kanye West.  I remembered the name from the 1997 remix of Jagged Edge's "Let's Get Married" remix. 

I received the album right before my first period class--Saracino's World of Work class.  What a joke class..but on this day I would never look back on a day so fondly.  I threw the burnt copy of The College Dropout on my Sony Discman, popped the earbuds in, and zoned out to the most incredible sounds I had ever heard in hip hop.  Then I heard the dopest, freshest, flyest line ever:

We all self-conscious, I'm just the first to admit it

When I heard this, my world turned upside down.  It was like I had just heard myself speaking on the human condition.  I never thought in a million years that I would EVER hear a rapper say something so real TO ME. I mean, rappers spit some real verbiage in their music (well, some do).  This, however, was different on so many levels.  It was poetry to me.  Poetry in the sense that it made me realize that I wasn't the only dude that felt like being different was a cool thing.  I used to wear dress shirts with fly jeans to class in high school.  I used to love being NICE to girls (imagine) and talking to them like they were gems as opposed to treating them like the dirt the gems are found within.  It was the realest album I had ever heard.  I knew the first time I heard "Spaceship" that this dude, Kanye West, was my favorite artist of all time. 

"Two Words," "Get'em High," "All Falls Down," "Jesus Walks," were all epic songs.  Epic means history changing and that is exactly what they did.  They changed history. 
This moment in time was about two months before graduation from high school.  My grandpa had died in October, 2003 and that affected me very much.  I was depressed, scared of life after high school and unsure about who I was as a person.  All of the childhood friends and memories that I once held so fondly had been bashed by the back stabbing and the corruption of people who I thought were friends.  I was in a weird spot that moment and this album was timely to say the least. 

With less than two days to go until the drop of the new Kanye album, I am reminded of what drew me to his music.  It was the passion. 

That same passion is what makes Kanye, Kanye.  He is truly an artist that transcends culture, background and demographics.  Nobody likes the dude's music more than me, but there are legitimate and very personal reasons why I love it.  This is more than another album release to me.  It's a new chapter in the book that is Kanye West.  I can't wait to hear how it plays out. 

Tomorrow: The moment "Late Registration" hit me in the face.

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