Where Were You When The College Dropout Released?
By: Eric Lewis
On February 10, 2004, The College Dropout by Kanye West was released. I remember where I was vividly. I had just moved back home to Louisiana from Houston, Texas. It was a turbulent time for me. I had been in Houston for almost 2 years with hopes of making a name for myself in the 4th largest city in America. My relationship at the time was a real rocky one, and my little girl was almost 2 years old. I was feeling down on myself and at a job where I felt I wasn’t appreciated. I knew this menial job was something just to have, but I still had the feeling in my heart of something greater eventually coming for me. I would gravitate to music to be my outlet and my escape from the trapped feeling I had. This was around the time Jay-Z was riding high with the “retirement album”, The Black Album. One of my favorite songs on the album, Encore, was heavy on my mind. I kept thinking to myself (like I'm sure millions of people thought as well) that a song produced by Kanye West could do no wrong. But...an album with Kanye West the rapper???? It would probably have to be one of those albums that grows on me. Nevertheless, I literally spent my last 15 dollars on The College Dropout. I didn’t get paid until Friday, but something told me to go and get it. It couldn’t be that bad....
I can honestly say it changed my life.
It was like the album spoke of what I was feeling at the time...almost to the core. There is this one line that sticks on the very first song, We Don’t Care, when he says “this is for my Ni**** outside all winter cuz this summer they ain’t finna say next summer I'm finna...” That spoke to me!!! How many times have we said “yo, I'm gonna go hard this year so next year can be lit!!”, only to have the next year roll around and you’re in the same boat as last year? I’m sure I wasn’t the only one. This album spoke of the person who is not only trying to figure out what happened in the past, but what’s happening now and how prepared we really aren’t for the future. College in my eyes is still a debatable subject on whether or not it’s needed to be successful, but that’s another conversation as a whole. The College Dropout told the story of someone who didn’t finish college, but worked their ass off to make it in society. Because regardless of what they tell you or portray in High School, this shit is hard. If you hustle hard, believe in yourself and don’t give up, success will come.
I wasn’t ready for The College Dropout, but I was ready for change in my life. This album helped usher in the new mentality I’ve lived by since then. Whether you love or hate Kanye West now, you can’t deny the social impact this album had in 2004 and beyond. It inspired millions of people, including myself, to get off our asses and do something amazing. So here’s to one of my top 5 favorite albums of all time, The College Dropout.