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College Dropout > Lists
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#4 of 10 from My 10 Hip-Hop Albums of the Decade by
“Kanye's debut shattered expectations of what to expect from a producer/rapper, from a debut album, and from a mainstream hip-hop artist in general. He put his insecurities and
#5 of 10 from The Top Ten Albums of the Decade by
College Dropout
About this album


This debut from the most sought-after hip-hop producer not named Pharrell delivers the unthinkable: West magically sledgehammers home his opinions on taboo topics over beats that are equally daring. The envelope-ripping beats shouldn't come as a surprise given that he's supplied the soundscapes to monster singles by everyone fromAlicia Keys("You Don't Know My Name") toTalib Kweli("Get By"). What is freakish is that in West's world, rhymes about strippers, God, college life, and guns can co-exist tidily and not undermine each other. On "Breathe In Breathe Out" he raps "I gotta apologize to Mos and Kweli/is it cool to rap about gold if I told the world I copped it from Ghana and Mali"--tongue firmly planted in cheek. On the catchy "Through the Wire," fuelled by aChaka Khanhook, he spits some impeccable rhymes despite his jaw being wired shut after a near-fatal car accident. Maybe it was this brush with mortality that kicked his lyrics into high gear on "All Falls Down." The skits on here are just as potent, one poking fun at the overeducated underclass that makes a small fraction of the loot he does. With jaw-dropping cameos fromJay-Z,Common,Mos Def, and theHarlem Boys Choirplus the feel-good club tune of the year, "Slow Jamz" featuringTwista,College Dropoutis as explosive, contradictory, and complex as rap music gets.--Dalton Higgins
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"One Problem"
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An album by Kanye West

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