1. We Don't Care
2. Graduation Day
3. All Falls Down
5. Jesus Walks
6. Slow Jamz
7. Breathe In Breathe Out
8. School Spirit
9. Two Words
10. Never Let Me Down
11. Get Em High
12. The New Workout Plan
13. Through The Wire
14. Family Business
15. Last Call
- Personnel: Kanye West, CLC, Consequence, Jay-Z, J. Ivy, Talib Kweli, Twista, Ludacris, Mos Def, Freeway (rap vocals); Jamie Foxx (spoken vocals); The Harlem Boys Choir, Syleena Johnson (background vocals).
- Producers: Kanye West, Brian Miller, Miri Ben-Ari.
- For most artists who are discovered behind the mixing boards, making the transfer from producer to MC proves a daunting task. Fortunately for Kanye West, his verbal skills more than rise to the challenge of his consistently superior beats. A sprawling concept record that tackles issues of everyday life with wisecracking humor and unexpected honesty, THE COLLEGE DROPOUT confirms West's status as one of hip-hop's most refreshing voices.
- The leadoff single, "Through the Wire," perfectly exemplifies West's distinct vision. Recorded while his jaws were still wired shut after a near-fatal car accident, West hilariously reflects upon his predicament over a sped-up Chaka Khan sample. Other songs address potentially somber topics--ghetto life ("We Don't Care"), religion ("Jesus Walks"), and family turmoil ("Family Business")--yet somehow retain a truly hopeful spirit. Although THE COLLEGE DROPOUT features top-notch cameos from Talib Kweli, Common, Mos Def, Freeway, Jay-Z, Ludacris, and Twista, it's clearly West's show.
Rolling Stone (3/4/04, p.63) - 3.5 stars out of 5 - "West has something to prove on DROPOUT....His ace in the hole is his cozy sound - dusty soul samples, gospel hymns, drums that pop as if hit for the very first time."
Rolling Stone (p.153) - Included in Rolling Stone's Top 50 Records Of 2004 - "[T]he red-hot producer delivered a solo debut that partied all over its contradictions..."
Spin (p.68) - Ranked #1 in Spin's "40 Best Albums of the Year" - "He is witty, provocative, and intensely devoted..."
Entertainment Weekly (2/13/04, p.71) - "[H]is surprising debut disc is the most impressive hip-hop CD of the young year....[T]he Chicago native shuns hip-hop's tired SCARFACE iconography for a broad topicality..." - Rating: A-
Uncut (5/04, p.106) - 4 stars out of 5 - "West's rhymes are wry, witty, warm and unswervingly self-aware."
Uncut (p.75) - Ranked #12 in Uncut's "Best New Albums of 2004" - "[H]e leavens the swagger and bling of hip hop with lyrics that are wry, witty and aware."
Mojo (Publisher) (p.102) - 4 stars out of 5 - "The numerous guests never out-shine their host's vocals, meaning this is one drop-out graduating near the top of his class."