It’s been 10 years since Kanye West released ‘The College Dropout’

File Photo / Roc-A-Fella Records.

File Photo / Roc-A-Fella Records.

It’s been a decade since Kanye West released his acclaimed debut album “The College Dropout,” and the rapper took to Twitter Monday to celebrate the milestone.

In honor of the album’s anniversary, here’s a list of things West’s ambitious, Grammy Award-winning debut taught us. They may shed some light on the Yeezy we know today.

Kanye West is self-conscious.

A Post review of “The College Dropout” published on March 3, 2004, called “Through the Wire” and “Slow Jamz,” two of the album’s first singles, “antidotes to hip-hop radio’s chronic case of egotism.” That might send you into a fit of laughter if you’ve read some of his interviews, but Kanye West is very much like the rest of us. “We all self-conscious, I’m just the first to admit it,” he rapped on “Dropout’s” “All Falls Down,” a song that spotlights how insecurities can give way to materialism. Rolling Stone’s review of “Dropout” lauded “All Falls Down” for “showing some vulnerability behind a glossy mainstream hip-hop sheen.”

Billboard’s fascinating oral history details the lengths West and his collaborators went to record the song, which includes lyrics from Lauryn Hill’s “Mystery of Iniquity,” recorded for “MTV Unplugged.” Unable to get the clearance for Hill’s appearance on the track, West asked Syleena Johnson to sing Hill’s lyrics.

Kanye West recorded an entire song with his jaw wired shut. 

As explained in the opening text to the song’s music video, West recorded “Through the Wire” two weeks after a near-fatal car accident. His jaw was still wired shut, a fact he references in the song’s lyrics. It’s a personal and occasionally funny song that is particularly significant to “Dropout’s,” and West’s, legacy. “The accident gave me the opportunity to do what I really wanted to do,” West told Interview magazine earlier this year. “I was a music producer, and everyone was telling me that I had no business becoming a rapper, so it gave me the opportunity to tell everyone, ‘Hey, I need some time to recover.’ But during that recovery period, I just spent all my time honing my craft and making ‘The College Dropout.’”

Before “Yeezus,” there was “Jesus Walks.”

In “Jesus Walks,” West imagines a scene where everyone in a nightclub is singing along to his spiritual ode. The song spent  two weeks at No. 11 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart and went on to win a Grammy for best rap song in 2005. The song led to controversy when “Dropout” was included on a ballot for best rap/hip-hop album for the Stellar Awards, a prestigious accolade in the gospel music world. A 2004 Post roundup of the best albums from that year referenced the track: “Hard to imagine that producer-turned-performer West will ever top the chilling gospel thunder of “Jesus Walks,” but it’ll be fun listening to him try.” (Does “I Am A God” count?)

Kanye West doggedly pursued his career as a rapper.

Last Call,” the final track on Dropout, details West’s long road from being a sought-after producer to superstar rapper, celebrating his deal with Roc-a-Fella Records — Jay Z makes a few (spoken) cameos throughout. Part rap, part monologue, the song runs more than 12 minutes. It’s a good representation of how West’s lyrics have always been a mix of confessional (“now I could let these dream killers kill my self-esteem or use my arrogance as the steam to power my dreams”) and quirky (“mayonnaise colored Benz, I push Miracle Whips”).

 

Also on The Style Blog

5 must-see looks from New York Fashion Week's Sunday shows