The College Dropout


Daniel Doherty

Today is the 18th anniversary of Kanye West’s debut album The College Dropout. The album showcased Ye’s rapping skills for the first time and used ambitious production styles, including of gospel choirs, orchestral arrangements and his early signature “Chipmunk Soul” sampling technique.

My picks for the top 5 best of the album are:

  1. Spaceship- Arguably the best example of Kanye’s early 2000s soulful production, and his flow here is amongst his best. The features here are some of the best on this record, only falling behind Twista on “Slow Jamz” and Syleena Johnson on “All Falls Down.” 
  2. Never Let Me Down- One of Kanye’s best lyrical performances throughout his entire career. Solid production and a pretty good Hov feature put this near the top of the list.
  3. Jesus Walks- Probably the most legendary song of his from the pre-Graduation era behind Gold Digger. This is one of his first tracks to have a significant gospel influence, something reflected later in his discography (starting around 2016’s The Life Of Pablo).
  4. Family Business- This is easily the most soulful track on the album. This is made so primarily by Kanye’s sampling and the vocals, not to mention his lyrics focused on family relationships.
  5. All Falls Down- Kanye’s bars are some of the most well-written here, along with vocals from Syleena Johnson, who became a consistent part of Kanye’s earlier work.