2004 was a big year for hip hop. Exactly ten years ago today, Kanye West’s debut, Grammy-winning album ‘The College Dropout’ was released. Nearly topping the charts that year, West’s album dealt with themes of materialism, family, religion, and conformity. It has sold over 3,000,000 copies to date (that’s some forgivable materialism if you ask me), and has gained multi-platinum status. In a review, Rolling Stone regarded West’s album as a “demonstration that hip-hop—real, banging, commercial hip-hop—could be a vehicle for nuanced self-examination and musical subtlety.” And the album has withstood the test of time—ten years later, Kanye’s main message remains clear and relevant: “Make your own decisions. Don’t let society tell you, ‘This is what you have to do.'”
Happy birthday, ‘The College Dropout.” Take a listen to the full album here.