The College Dropout
our score: 4.0 out of 5.0
a huge roster of artists such as Alicia Keys, Jay Z, and Talib
Kweli, Kanye West has amassed enough tracks of his own to put
out College Dropout, a 21 track collection of deep personality
and old school soul.
As a lyricist,
West is pretty much average. (Think about a flow similar to P.
Diddy’s protégé-flop, Loon) But the impressive
list of guests on the album (Common, Mos Def, Talib Kweli, Twista)
perfectly peppered into the many tracks and the sometimes intricate
lyrics more than make up for it. This seems to be an album that’s
half mainstream and “gangster” and half eclectic and
political. It balances care-free raps and intense, philosophical
tracks perfectly. “Jesus Walks” is a perfect example
of the latter, showing his spiritual side. (“But if I talk
about God my record wont get played/ Well if this take away from
my spins… Then I hope it takes away from sins”) And
“Never Let Me Down”, featuring Jay Z, is better than
anything Mr. Carter did on the Black Album.
Dropout, and many of the skits on the album talk about his
dropping out of college, and laugh at the concept of paying for
education and getting degrees. I don’t really know why he
has such feelings for a slightly unusual rap topic, but of course
the money, cars, and girls make their usual appearances here as
well. “The New Workout Plan” is stupid, shallow, and
may just as well have been left out, but “Slow Jamz”,
the megahit with Twista and Jamie Foxx follows as a welcome surprise.
“Through the Wire”, featuring an old Chaka Khan sample
is one of the more interesting tracks to break through on the
charts so far this year. Plus it's always exciting to hear Common
and Mos Def on any track, and they shine on their guest spots
album was from a producer, one might expect him to use the best
beats he’s created for his own album. But none of the beats
on this album even come close to his masterpieces such as Alicia
Keys’ “You Don’t Know My Name” or Talib
Kweli’s “Get By”. The album does shine much
more than it falters, and for that reason it will be a landmark
album for rap music in 2004.
In the liner
notes, Kanye portrays himself as a reject or outcast from society.
Considering how solid of an album he has on his hands, he will
certainly be getting the last laugh.
liked College Dropout...
2. We Don't Dare
3. Graduation Day
4. All Falls Down
5. I'll Fly Away
7. Jesus Walks
8. Never Let Me Down
9. Get Em High
10. Workout Plan
11. The New Workout Plan
12. Slow Jamz
13. Breathe in Breathe Out
14. School Spirit Skit 1
15. School Spirit
16. Lil Jimmy Skit
17. Two Words
18. Through the Wire
19. Family Business
20. Last Call