Thursday, 8 October 2015

Why "The College Dropout" Was Genius

Kanye West has probably lost his mind. 

He recently began selling white tees for $120, he just released an album with God as the only featured artist, and - perhaps craziest of all - he got Kim Kardashian pregnant. Musically, Kanye has always pushed the envelope, but his latest album (which he sacrilegiously titled "Yeezus") went over most of our heads because he seemed to push the envelope a bit too far. 

It's easy to look at these current events and categorize Kanye as just another egocentric, maniacal celebrity. But it would be a true shame if new Kanye made us all forget the genius of old Kanye. I'm not going to rehash his entire musical catalog, as there would be way too much material to cover. However, I will spend the rest of this post explaining why his debut album, "The College Dropout," was genius.

"The College Dropout" is my favorite Kanye West album. This should be no surprise; debut albums in hip-hop tend to be most rappers' best projects. This is because your first album is your introduction to the public. It's the first time you've released an album and it's your first chance to create a reputation for yourself. Fans will give you a fresh listen without comparing your album to anything else that you've released. Furthermore, as an artist, there are no previous albums for you to feel the need to outperform. I once heard Jay Z say that he felt his debut album was his best because he had 26 years to write it. Everything you've ever wanted to say in an album goes in that first one, and that usually makes it the best, at least lyrically.

Let me also point out that I think "College Dropout" is his best album for that reason specifically. Although some of his later albums had better production, the content of his first album is unparalleled.