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142 of 164 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Two Words, Kanye West, Hot S***
When I first saw the name Kanye West it was when I realized that he was the one that produced Beanie Sigel's "The Truth", which was a song from Beanie Sigel's solo CD. I would see Kanye West's name once again on Jay Z's "Dynasty: Roc La Familia" CD. Kanye produced a nice collaboration with Jay Z, Scarface and Beanie Sigel called "This Can't Be...
Published on March 22, 2004 by J. Highsmith

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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Kayne West- College Dropout
Kayne West's debut album "College Dropout" (2004) is good but not deserving of all the hype it has received. Kayne West production skills have been excellent, so I was interested in seeing how his MC skills are. The problem I find when listening to him, is he is not a gifted MC, his lyrics are for the most part average, and the way he curls his words can at...
Published on February 10, 2004 by Done


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142 of 164 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Two Words, Kanye West, Hot S***, March 22, 2004
By 
J. Highsmith (Mitchellville, Maryland United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: College Dropout (Audio CD)
When I first saw the name Kanye West it was when I realized that he was the one that produced Beanie Sigel's "The Truth", which was a song from Beanie Sigel's solo CD. I would see Kanye West's name once again on Jay Z's "Dynasty: Roc La Familia" CD. Kanye produced a nice collaboration with Jay Z, Scarface and Beanie Sigel called "This Can't Be Life". He used an old Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes song and all three rappers had nice verses on the song. Other well known Kanye produced beats are also "Get By" by Talib Kweli, "Takeover" by Jay Z and "Guess Who's Back" which is another collaboration with Jay Z, Scarface and Beanie Sigel. The first time I heard Kanye West rap was on "Champions" featuring Young Chris, Beanie Sigel, Cam'ron & Twista from the Paid In Full soundtrack. I wasn't sure if Kanye would release a CD but by the sounds of his debut CD, we definitely have a classic on our hands.
His first single, "Through The Wire" sampled the old Chaka Khan slow jam, "Through The Fire". Kanye detailed the near fatal car accident that he was in and he basically did the whole rap, "through the wire". "Slow Jamz" is an interesting collaboration between Kanye, Twista and Jamie Foxx. Twista clearly steals the show but Kanye produces the track and he also has a nice verse on the song as well. His current single, "All Falls Down" samples a song from Lauryn Hill's MTV Unplugged CD. Lauryn wouldn't clear her vocals on the song so Kanye had Syleena Johnson sing the chorus. Kanye has a clever way of rapping. He likes to use metaphors, sometimes humorous, and you can tell that he is intelligent by the words that he says in some of his verses.
"Jesus Walks" is my favorite song on the CD. Kanye talks about God in a way that no other rapper has before and Kanye plays off of the fact that if he wasn't the person that he was that no one would even pay attention to what he is saying. He is sending a message saying that there is nothing wrong with pubicly diplaying your love for Jesus Christ. While the song may not be played in a club or on local radio stations, his message is loud and clear. Jay Z accompanies Kanye West on "Never Let Me Down". Jay has two "fire" verses inbetween Kanye and J Ivy. This song also serves a motivational song as the chorus goes: "When it comes to being true, atleast true to me, one thing I found, one thing I found is that you'll "Never Let Me Down". "Get 'Em High" features Talib Kweli and Common and definitely contains the best lyrics on the CD. We have an Erykah Badu less Common sounding like he did on "I Used To Love Her" and Talib at his best as well after Kanye raps to verses at the beginning of the track. Other stand out tracks include "Spaceship" where Kanye takes you back to almost an oppressive way of how people came up in the world, "We Don't Care" where Kanye has his own version of a kid's national anthem, "Two Words" featuring Mos Def and Freeway where it's nice just to hear Mos Def rapping and not see him in a movie or a play and the hilarious "New Workout Plan" where Kanye claims to have the remedy for all of the ladies' problems.
I also can't exclude "Family Business" and "Last Call". Kanye plays off of habits in alot of families today like the aunt you don't eat food from and many other things. On "Last Call" Kanye finishes "The College Dropout" right as he raps for about 5 minutes and he gives you a summary of how he came up in the producing and rapping game.
The only negative thing that I can say about this CD is that there are too many skits on "The College Dropout". However, the skits don't mess up the flow of the whole CD like on some rappers' CDs. Overall, you can't afford to miss what may be the best rap CD of 2004. Kanye West has clearly outdone himself on this CD.
James' Top 5
1) Jesus Walks
2) Get 'Em High w/Talib Kweli & Common
3) Never Let Me Down w/Jay Z & J Ivy
4) Slow Jamz w/Twista & Jamie Foxx
Tie 5) We Don't Care & Spaceship
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53 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Destined to become a True Classic, February 25, 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: College Dropout (Audio CD)
When I first listened to the album I didnt recognize the true talent that Kanye West had. Speakerboxxx/Love Below was a great vacation from normal hip hop but Kanye West has managed to help to bring Hip Hop back into the music scene. His gift with old tracks and samples helps him to create instant hits. With perhaps maybe too many skits (about 4) in the album, the flow is slowed down (as we can instantly see that Kanye West is not a lover of College.
Rating of Songs:
Intro- Little Scene with Cedric the Entertainer, FUNNY, great start
We Don't Dare- Addictive Beat, nice background vocals. Solid Start tothe album 4/5 stars
All Falls Down- Destined to be a radio hit, great background vocals 5/5
I'll Fly Away- Short song with gospel influences 3/5
Jesus Walks- Good track, thought provoking lyrics 4/5
Never Let me Down- Jay-Z comes out to help his superstar producer, result is solid hit also 5/5
Get em High - One of the less themed songs of the album; catchy though 4/5
Workout Plan- EXTREMELY FUNNY! Great intro to "The New Workout Plan" 5/5
School Spirit- An ok track. Not one of my favorites but still enjoyable 3.5/5
The New Workout Plan- I HOPE he makes this one a video. Destined to be remembered 5/5
Spaceship- The BEST SONG ON THE ALBUM. My favorite with smooth beats, interesting lyrics and just extremely done well 10/5!!!!
Family Business- A softer side of Kanye 4/5
Definitely cop this CD, never a waste of money
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41 of 46 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The College Dropout, February 12, 2004
By 
Chris Park (Toronto, ON CANADA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: College Dropout (Audio CD)
Kanye West's debut album is, in one word, refreshing. In a day and age where Nick Cannon and 50 Cent rule the radiowaves, Kanye West provides a smart, witty and touching album that enlightens the mind and soothes the soul.
Being a member of the Roc-a-fella camp, one would think that Kanye would be quick to jump aboard the bling band-wagon. While he devotes a song or two to his love of money, he also offers insight into other matters in his life (school, family, God, and his near-fatal car crash experience). On 'Last Call' (the album's twelve minute finale), Kanye talks to his audience, as opposed to MC'ing. Over a beautiful saxophone sample, Kanye describes his slow rise to fame, and the prices he paid to get there.
The album is intresting, with Kanye sampling Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin and Luther Vandross to name a few. His beats have an old-school feel to them, re-touched with a new school flavour. Kanye's MC'ing skills are not as dynamic as his production, but are strong nonetheless. His flow proves that he can ride a beat with words, and his lyrics show how introspective the man can be. On 'Jesus Walks', Kanye rhymes "I ain't here to argue about his facial features/or here to create atheists into believers/I'm just tryin' to say the way school needs teachers/the way Kathie-Lee needed Regis/that's the way I need Jesus".
Like all modern records, this album is not without a few flaws. There are an abundance of skits on the album, which leaves the listener craving for more Kanye. While they are thought-provoking and funny, they simply cannot compare to the quality of his music. The album starts out strong, but he stumbles on 'The New Workout Plan' and 'Breathe In, Breathe Out' featuring Ludacris. He recovers nicely.
"The College Dropout" is not revolutionary, nor will it change the face of hip-hop. It lacks the impact of Dr. Dre's 'The Chronic', or Nas' 'Illmatic'. Quite simply, "College Dropout" is a rare gem in a fabricated industry that promotes violence, money and sex. Kanye dares to be different, and treats all hip-hop fans (backpackers, mainstreamers alike) to a soul-filled, truthful, catchy album that will undoubtedly develop a cult following.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent!, October 18, 2004
This review is from: College Dropout (Audio CD)
Though I don't listen to near as much rap music as I do other genres, I find this release to be very focused, different, and very refreshing! "The College Dropout" is very different from other rap albums and for me ranks up there with the likes of OutKast's double album "Speakerboxxx/The Love Below". Kanye's style of rap is different, and something about it makes it unique. As well as that, the production of this album is flawless! This album resembles (for me at least) albums of the past that showcased "hits" as opposed to 2 or 3 solid songs. Here's my rundown of the hits on this album: "We Don't Care", "All Falls Down" (it is ashamed Syleena Johnson is as underrated as she is), "Spaceship", "Jesus Walks", "School Spirit", "The New Workout Plan", and this is just to name a few. Furthermore, the interludes are not dumb and work well with this album. Kanye, I hope your next album is just as good, if not better (hopefully even better) than this masterpiece! 5 stars!
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome, May 8, 2004
A Kid's Review
This review is from: College Dropout (Audio CD)
I bought this cd thinking i would only like two songs (All falls down and slow jamz), but when i first listened to some of the other songs, they blew me away. He has awesome rhymes and creativity you wont find in 50 or eminem (not that i have anything against them). It isnt about violence and drugs, but has lyrics that have some thought in them. The way they did slow jamz is way better than the way they did it on the radio. I know if you buy this cd, you will find yourself listening to more than one song over and over again. For those parents who cant have all the dirty language, the cd edits it out perfectly and everything i have listened to so far has been clean. P.S.- Rock on, Kanye.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Breath of Fresh Air, September 11, 2004
By 
This review is from: College Dropout (Audio CD)
For the last three years, rap and hip-hop quality has gone downhill (with few exceptions). Obviously, most of these artists are mostly in the industry for the money, causing the music to sound unoriginal and uninspired. Therefore, they became careless of the final result. However, in early 2004, Kanye West released his debut album "College Dropout". The timing was perfect. This gave the genre a breath of fresh air, proving that rap and hip-hop can still be outstanding. Many other artists have demanded his production on their tracks since this release: Alicia Keys, Brandy, Twista, and others.

Through his songwriting, rapping, and producing, he created the best rap album this year. This is one of the best debuts in rap history. His beats are always catchy and original. Occasionally, he combines his signature hip-hop beats with another genre: gospel, R&B, dance, and pop. Such variety gives this album the interesting swings. Despite the numerous sampling from other songs, he manages to make these tracks his own. Lyrically, he explores many issues that many modern-day rap artists wouldn't dare, especially religion ("Jesus Walks") and urgent issues that corrupt this world everyday ("We Don't Care"). His passionate powerful messages keep audiences listening closely. His words are obviously true to his heart as expressed beyond them whether he's raunchy or sweet.

"College Dropout" is a great rap album for those looking for a great escape from the common mainstream nonsense. This album proves that Kanye West will be a superstar for a long time.

***Expect Kanye West to lead the 2004 Grammy nominations with minimim nine: Album of the Year, Record of the Year ("Jesus Walks"), Best New Artist, Producer of the Year, Best Rap Album, Best Male Rap Performance, Best Rap Song, and twice Best Rap/Sung Performance ("Slow Jamz" w/ Twists & Jamie Foxx and "Let's Talk About Love" w/Brandy).
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kanye West - The Genius Behind The Boards, February 22, 2004
This review is from: College Dropout (Audio CD)
This is the best album since Talib Kweli's "Quality". Every song is unique and Kanye has his own signature style. "We Don't Care" kicks off the album beautifully, and from then, a classic unfolds. Violins played by the Israeli violinist Miri Ben Ari, the album has a lot of musical gener's combined and coverted to Hip Hop context. "All Falls Down" (Previously known as 'All Comes Down w/ Lauren Hill' to the mixtape fellas) is one of the albums many highlights. Then is my favorite track of the album "Spaceship" which is creative, original, and funny. "Jesus Walks" is a great track with a positive message about God. "Never Let Me Down" has 2 verses by Jay-Z, but for some reason, Kanye's verse is the best verse for me. The beat is fire, like all of the tracks, and there is a councious message in Kanye's verse, while Jay-Z does his usual bragging about himself (I still love Jigga). "Get Em High" features Talib Kweli and Common Sense. Now, Kanye spits ill, but Common's verse is probably the best verse I've heard in the last year. Amazing rhyme patterns and it seems as if he's dissing Lil Jon (Illerate Ni**a with a pimp cup), Talib's verse is funny. After that is another one of my favorites "The New Workout Plan" which has funny lyrics and one of the best muiscal arrangment I've ever heard in Hip Hop. Then comes the album's weakest track "Breath In Breath Out" featuring Ludacris on the hook. Most of the skits are funny. Then is "School Spirit" which has an ill beat and Kanye just rips this joint up! But for some reason this song was edited. "2 Words" has my man Mos Def and Freeway on it, it's just ban-anas! crazy. The beat, the lyrics, the hook, the quoire, the violines..."Through The Wire" is a great track about Kanye's nearly fatal car crash and how his mouth was wired shut. I'm sure al of you heard that joint by now. "Family Buisness" is fresh, original, creative, and everything that a Hip Hop song should have. The last track on the album is "Last Call" and Kanye rhymes all of his verse, and towards the end he says his story on how his musical career came alive. This song is like 15 minutes. Pretty dope. Overall, this album is one of the best albums I've ever heard. Definatly a classic record.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow, February 18, 2004
This review is from: College Dropout (Audio CD)
OK, in a time where people are infatuated with blacks calling themselves "gangstas" and bragging about being shot up, Kanye West kicks down that stereotype wearing a Polo shirt w/ the collar flipped up, and his Louis Vitton backpack. The production, lyricism, and humor on this CD is amazing, the only downside is that on a few of his skits he degrades the value and importance of college. As a black male currently attending a prestigious college, I feel that this is the only let-down on the cd. Besides that, it is an instant classic.
1. Intro (skit) - n/a
2. We Don't Care - 4/5
- Great beat, good hook. The first line people hear is "Drug dealing just to get high", and might turn them off. Keep listening, it's actually a positive song.
3. Graduation (skit) - n/a
4. All Falls Down ft. Syleena Johnson - 4/5
- A very intelligent song, with witty wordplay that can only make you chuckle.
5. I'll Fly Away
- This is more of an interlude, but the harmonies are good and it takes you back to church for a minute.
6. Spaceship ft. GLC & Consequence - 3/5
- A little repetative. The lowest rated song on the album, and it still gets a 3 out of 5.
7. Jesus Walks - 5/5
- One of, if not, the best song on the album. Perfect message, HOT beat, intricate lyricism. Plus, it takes you back to church with the choir-like background.
8. Never Let Me Down ft. Jay-Z & J.Ivy - 5/5
- When I first heard this song I thought it was so inspirational and moving. Then when I heard this version, with Jay-Z's second verse... It deserves the 5 of 5, simple as that.
9. Get 'Em High ft. Talib Kweli & Common - 4/5
- Hot beat, not a positive message, but does every song have to be? This song is downright hilarious though. Especially when he calls up Talib Kweli to impress a girl, and Kweli spits his verse over the phone.
10. Workout Plan (skit) - n/a
11. The New Workout Plan - 5/5
- Miri Ben-Ari's violin performance on this song is very exceptional. The beat is intricate, he has humor that makes you laugh out loud, and the "interviews" with women who have used his workout plan is the best.
12. Slow Jamz ft. Twista & Jamie Foxx - 4/5
- Radio has played this song time & time again. With Jamie Foxx's new ad-libbing in the middle, this song still hasn't grown old.
13. Breate In, Breathe Out ft. Ludacris - 4/5
- I wish Ludacris would've done more than just the hook. Hot beat, funny lyrics. The song is about material things and such, but it's still good.
14. School Spirit 1 (skit) - n/a
15. School Spirit - 4/5
- Names all of the big frats & soras. I'm not sure if he's downing college or not, but the song is still listenable. Humerous lyrics, once again.
16. School Spirit 2 (skit) - n/a
17. Lil' Jimmy (skit) - n/a
18. Two Words ft. Mos Def, Freeway, Harlem Boys Choir - 4/5
- Once again, Miri Ben-Ari's violin playing is exceptional. I can't wait for her CD to drop. Mos Def rips his verse quite well, Freeway is Freeway, and the Harlem Boys Choir adds a harmonic breeze to the song.
19. Through The Wire - 5/5
- How can someone spit so well, even when his jaw is wired shut? Simply amazing. His lyrics, however, sounds a lot like Jay-Z's flow, but I'm going to let that slide because it's just so good.
20. Family Business - 5/5
- The children's toy piano that plays all over the song is unique. I like the samples of speeches, and it's interesting hearing of his family. All of the general stories are so true, like sleeping head-to-toe with your cousins when there weren't enough beds, etc.
21. Last Call - 4/5
- 12 min. long! and every minute is worth it. The first few minutes are of him rapping and spitting the best line of the entire album "I'm killin y'all N****s on that lyrical S***/ Mayonnaise colored Benz/ I push Miracle Whips". The rest of the track is of him talking to the listener(s), and explaining to them the entire process and long road it took for him to get where he is today.
Overall, this is a classic CD. Well worth the money you spend. Everyone should purchase this and not download it. There are things on this cd that were never on the downloads (such as redone beats, added verses, etc.). This is rap music. This is Kanye West...
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally, the Social Classes Blend, April 21, 2005
This review is from: College Dropout (Audio CD)
Finally, middle class rap with enough soul to pass the "real nigga" test...Kanye West is a nouveau-riche, urbanized, seething, two-fisted pro-black advocating, pants sagging b-boy struggling with Christian values in a world of mind numbing materialism, knee-buckling sexualization and outright self-hatred. Just like most of us. West's "College Drop Out" boldly sets up this engaging debut album in the atmosphere officially deemed the antithesis of the hyper-machismo of the ghetto (i.e. blackness/black manliness).

That's right, Polo rocking, blazer-friendly K Wizzle represents from the milieu of the college campus. The best example of this is "School Spirit." Spike Lee's "School Daze" was the last artistic offering to pull this off with any resounding success.

West's achievement is fascinating after seeing scores of brothers stroll the yard on FAMU's, Morehouse's (the heterosexual ones) and Howard's campuses trying to be hard with backpacks ripping at the seams from Calculus, Philosophy and Humanities textbooks. West's album is monumental to such men who've been through an identity crisis thanks to the pressure by the media, the 'hood and many of the women they've tried to pursue on these campuses. Kanye West and the pensive teddy bear mascot gracing the album cover are the poster children for surviving academia and maintaining street credibility.

A strange position for an album named "College Drop Out", yet there lies a method to West's schizophrenia. "We Don't Care" is West shouting out to the ghetto right off the top, to the drug dealers that had to do something to keep they peoples afloat, the Tyrone Squares slaving 9 to 5's, even bootleggers trying to get by, as if letting the audience know off the top that his academic presentation is without the snobbery that tends to breed hatred of the talented tenth. This gives him the persona of the cat in school that enjoyed asking questions that made teachers look stupid. So you figure, since he's pissing off the administration that put you in a learning disability class because the teachers didn't teach worth a damn, you'll take a rain check on trying to beat him down in the hallway - for a while. "Graduation Day" endears even more. West laments that he does not wish to do the good-job-predictable-rigamarole every parent seems to wish for their child. West captures the spirit of entrepreneurship hip hop has inspired beautifully with the final line, stating that "I'm just not everybody."

"All Falls Down" is the best commentary on the rampant materialism of our time in recent memory. From females "addicted to retail" to insecure thug wannabes who can't run to grocery store without a throwback jersey, West goes off like a dentist in a bad mood; not only takes it to the teeth, but drivin' it down in the gums, rattling your skull with how such materialism is not a sign of black cool, but honestly, self hatred medicated by brand name clothing.

Most of hip hop will have you believe people in the 'hood are born Sunday night and are in some kind of criminal drama by Monday at noon. With "Spaceship", West adds passion and depth to the tedious, monotonous grind of young people working at bland gigs at The Gap while waiting for a come up. The most powerful song is "Jesus Walks." West lets his hang strong by summoning a force that scares most contemporary rappers, God (Jesus in this instance). West is the only one to throw down reverently about such a sacred topic and drop the f-bomb in it like it was meant to be there. The most stunning part is West's lamenting that radio stations actually gave him beef about the song simply because of his talking about God. Can you remember a time when talking about most of the garbage you hear on the radio now was kept you off the air?

In "Never Let Me Down", Jay Z actually lets West down with a tired, self-centered rap about his self-proclaimed king of rap status and how high his records chart. No way in hell can that stand shoulder to shoulder with West's recounting of his mother's participation in the Civil Rights Movement, West promising to marry his betrothed and surviving a near fatal car accident. This brings home the odd marriage between someone of substance like West, and the predictable Johnson-stroking of everyone surrounding Jay Z and Rocafella.

Tired of West's deepness? Fear not. Instead of coming off over the top as a self-righteous nerd, Kanye retains his sense of humor and bares his contradictions. Recess from the deep-thinking is in session: "Get 'em High" is West wading through a weed-induced haze, swearing to be the big baller (...) that will bone your girl, diss your demo and demand you dance to this exciting news. The most interesting part of this is the fact that Talib Kweli is featured here in pure wing man mode, setting West up at one point to impress a girl right out her draws. Hey, intellectuals gotta get laid too, right?

"The New Workout Plan" is along the same line of silliness, bringing mega beats per minute. It features testimonies of chickenheads blessed with the new Kanye West workout body now able to score that drug dealer or ball player that used to pass them and their jelly rolls by. "Breathe in, Breathe Out" dabbles in and out of commentary. Here, West apologizes to Mos Def and Talib Kweli for his forthcoming burst into typical rap subject matter. His self-consciousness almost makes this one notable.

"Slow Jamz", featuring Jamie Foxx, is something for the ladies tired of trying to kill themselves keeping up with hyper-tempo hip hop ('specially in them pointed boots). Foxx comes with the crooning he first showcased in his "Crazy Like a Fox" show. Ready for the World, New Edition, Luther Vandross... they all get love, strolling through the chorus like the ticker tape messages on the CNN channel. Rapper and fellow Chicagoan Twista's cameo is the true birth of his career.

The Interlude of the Caucasian-sounding college graduate is important because, indirectly, he states that a college degree isn't a deliverance into the promise land as many Civil Rights era elders may lead us to believe. In fact, as the interlude infers (almost ala Carter G. Woodson's "Mis-Education of the Negro"), the training is useless if the graduates aren't trained to use what they learn to further themselves and their communities. Honestly, even at HBCU's, many of us are trained to think as part of a priviledged black herd merely waiting to be sold off to the nearest corporation - with no further interest in from whence we came. "Family Business" pries the day planner out of our hands and connects us back to our roots, the ugly and affirming aspects of it while "Through the Wire" mumbles the message to those of us still assuming ourselves invincible that every breath we take is a gift.

Ain't that something, after the legacy Tupac has left us, it is obvious that we don't seem to need somebody perfect, close at Public Enemy may have been to it. These days, we just need somebody to be honest.(...)
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kanye is King, December 5, 2004
This review is from: College Dropout (Audio CD)
Beware, this album is like smack. Once you listen to it, nothing else ever seems as worthwhile or satisfying by comparison. College Dropout rarely leaves my cd player and after a long day at work i break out in a sweat if i don't get home quickly to spend some quality time wit Kanye. Highlights of the album are difficult to pinpoint cos it is all so inspiringly, heart wrenchingly good and trying to pick a favourite would be like chosing between your children. The self proclaimed 'Rudolph the red nosed reindeer of the Roc' Kanye proves on this album he has what it takes to fill Jiggas enormous shoes. His production skills far surpass those of his superior and while Kanye's rhymes fall just short of Jays, his lilting rapping style is very listenable, so much so that you don't even mind all the god talk. Man, when i first heard 'Jesus Walks' i was almost converted. Kanye West is the future of hip hop. Jump on the bandwagon now and buy this record.
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College Dropout
College Dropout by Kanye West (Audio CD - 2004)
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