The College Dropout
|The College Dropout|
|Studio album by Kanye West|
|Released||February 10, 2004|
|Label||Roc-A-Fella, Def Jam|
|Producer||Kareem "Biggs" Burke (exec.), Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter (exec.), Damon "Dame" Dash (exec.), Evidence, Kyambo "Hip Hop" Joshua (exec.), Kanye West (also exec.)|
|Kanye West chronology|
|Singles from The College Dropout|
The College Dropout is the debut album by American hip hop artist Kanye West, released February 10, 2004, on Roc-A-Fella Records. It was recorded over a period of four years, beginning in 1999. Prior to the album's release, West had worked on rapper Jay-Z's The Blueprint (2001), which showcased his melodic and soulful style of hip hop production. The production of the album was often halted by the lack of confidence that producers had in West's rapping ability, eventually being convinced based off the success of his early musical ventures.
The album had production entirely handled by West, and features musical contributions from Jay-Z, John Legend, Ervin "EP" Pope, Miri Ben-Ari, and Syleena Johnson. Diverging from the then-dominant gangster persona in hip hop, West's lyrics on the album concern themes of family, religion, self-consciousness, materialism, and personal struggles. The album was promoted by singles including "Through the Wire" and "Jesus Walks", both of which received critical acclaim. "All Falls Down" and "Slow Jamz" both charted within the top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100, with the latter charting at position one.
The album debuted at number two on the US Billboard 200 chart, selling 441,000 copies in its first week. It was a massive commercial success, producing five singles that achieved chart success. Upon its release, The College Dropout received general acclaim from music critics and earned West several accolades, including a Grammy Award for Best Rap Album at the 47th Grammy Awards. It is West's best-selling album in the United States, with domestic sales of over 3.1 million copies and worldwide sales of over four million copies. It has been named by Time and Rolling Stone as one of the greatest albums of all time and is often listed amongst the greatest debut albums ever released by a hip hop artist.
Kanye West was born on 1977 in Atlanta, Georgia. At the age of three, West's parents divorced and he moved with his mother to Chicago, Illinois. West demonstrated an affinity for the arts at an early age; he began writing poetry when he was merely five-years-old. His mother recalled that she first took notice of West's passion for drawing and music when he was in the third grade. Growing up in the city, West became deeply involved in its hip hop scene. He started rapping in the third grade and began making musical compositions in the seventh grade, eventually selling them to other artists. At age thirteen, West wrote a rap song called "Green Eggs and Ham" and began to persuade his mother to pay $25 an hour for time in a recording studio. The studio that West and his mother attended sessions was a small, crude basement studio where a microphone hung from the ceiling by a wire clothes hanger. Although this wasn't what West's mother wanted, she nonetheless supported him. West crossed paths with producer/DJ No I.D., otherwise known as "The Godfather of Chicago Hip Hop", with whom he quickly formed a close friendship. No. I.D. soon became West's mentor, and it was from him that West learned how to sample and program beats after he received his first sampler at the age of fifteen.
After graduating from West Aurora High School, West received a scholarship to attend Chicago's American Academy of Art in 1997 and began taking painting classes, but shortly after transferred to Chicago State University to major in English. However, it soon became apparent to West that his busy class schedule was a detriment with his musical work, and at the age of 20 he made the decision to drop out of college to pursue his dream of becoming a musician. This action greatly displeased his mother, who was a professor at the university from which he withdrew. She later commented, "It was drummed into my head that college is the ticket to a good life... but some career goals don't require college. For Kanye to make an album called College Dropout it was more about having the guts to embrace who you are, rather than following the path society has carved out for you."
West began his early production career in the mid-1990s, making beats primarily for burgeoning local artists, eventually developing a style that involved speeding up vocal samples from classic soul records. For a time, he acted as a ghost producer for Deric "D-Dot" Angelettie. Due to his association with D-Dot, West wasn't able to release a solo album, so he formed and became a member and producer of the Go-Getters, a late-1990s Chicago rap group composed of him, GLC, Timmy G, Really Doe, and Arrowstar. The group released their first and only studio album World Record Holders in 1999. West came to achieve recognition and is often credited with revitalizing Jay-Z's career with his contributions to the rap mogul's influential 2001 album The Blueprint. The Blueprint has been named by Rolling Stone as the 252nd greatest album of all time and the critical and financial success of the album generated substantial interest in West as a producer. Serving as an in-house producer for Roc-A-Fella Records, West produced records for other artists from the label, including Beanie Sigel, Freeway, and Cam'ron. He also crafted hit songs for Ludacris, Alicia Keys, and Janet Jackson.
Despite his success as a producer, West's true aspiration was to be a rapper. Though he had developed his rapping long before he began producing, it was often a challenge for West to be accepted as a rapper, and he struggled to attain a record deal. Multiple record companies ignored him because he did not portray the gangsta image prominent in mainstream hip hop at the time. After a series of meetings with Capitol Records, West was ultimately denied an artist deal. According to Capitol Record's A&R, Joe Weinberger, he was approached by West and almost signed a deal with him, but another person in the company convinced Capitol's president not to. Desperate to keep West from defecting to another label, then-label head Damon Dash reluctantly signed West to Roc-A-Fella Records. Jay-Z later admitted that Roc-A-Fella was initially reluctant to support West as a rapper, claiming that many saw him as a producer first and foremost, and that his background contrasted with that of his labelmates. West's breakthrough came a year later on October 23, 2002, when, while driving home from a California recording studio after working late, he fell asleep at the wheel and was involved in a near-fatal car crash. The crash left him with a shattered jaw, which had to be wired shut in reconstructive surgery. The accident inspired West; two weeks after being admitted to hospital, he recorded a song at the Record Plant Studios with his jaw still wired shut. The composition, "Through The Wire", expressed West's experience after the accident, and helped lay the foundation for his debut album, as according to West "all the better artists have expressed what they were going through". West added that "the album was my medicine", as working on the record distracted him from the pain. "Through The Wire" was first available on West's Get Well Soon... mixtape, released December 2002. At the same time, West announced that he was working on an album called The College Dropout, whose overall theme was to "make your own decisions. Don't let society tell you, 'This is what you have to do.'"
The College Dropout was recorded at The Record Plant in Los Angeles, California, but the production featured on the record were formed elsewhere over the course of several years. According to John Monopoly, West's friend, manager and business partner, the album "...[didn't have] a particular start date. He's been gathering beats for years. He was always producing with the intention of being a rapper. There's beats on the album he's been literally saving for himself for years." At one point, West hovered between making a portion of the production in the studio and the majority within his own apartment in Newark, New Jersey. Because it was a two-bedroom apartment, West was able to set up a home studio in one of the rooms and his bedroom in the other.
Carrying a Louis Vuitton backpack filled with old disks and demos to the studio and back, West crafted his production in less than fifteen minutes at a time. He recorded the remainder of the album in Los Angeles while recovering from the car accident. Once he had completed the album, it was leaked months before its release date. However, West decided to use the opportunity to make the album even better, and The College Dropout was significantly remixed, remastered, and revised before being released. As a result, certain tracks originally destined for the album were subsequently retracted, among them "Keep the Receipt" with Ol' Dirty Bastard and "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly" with Consequence. West meticulously refined the production, adding string arrangements, gospel choirs, improved drum programming and new verses. West's perfectionism led The College Dropout to have its release postponed three times from its initial date in August 2003. First it got delayed to October, then to January 2004, and finally it hit stores on February.
The College Dropout diverged from the then-dominant gangster persona in hip hop in favor of more diverse, topical subjects for the lyrics. Throughout the album, West touches on a number of different issues drawn from his own experiences and observations, including organized religion, family, sexuality, excessive materialism, self-consciousness, minimum-wage labor, institutional prejudice, and personal struggles. Music journalist Kelefa Sanneh wrote, "Throughout the album Mr. West taunts everyone who didn't believe in him: teachers, record executives, police officers, even his former boss at the Gap". West explained, "My persona is that I'm the regular person. Just think about whatever you've been through in the past week, and I have a song about that on my album."
"Through the Wire" features West rapping with his jaw still partially wired shut, over a sped up vocal sample.
|Problems listening to these files? See media help.|
The album begins with a skit featuring a high school teacher asking West to deliver a graduation speech. The skit is followed by "We Don't Care" featuring West comically celebrating drug life with lines like "We wasn't supposed to make it past 25, joke's on you, we still alive" and then criticizing its influence amongst children. His lyrics contain various popular culture references such as allusions to rappers Really Doe and Tupac Shakur and song "21 Questions" by 50 Cent and Nate Dogg. The next track, "Graduation Day", features Miri Ben-Ari on violin, and vocals by John Legend.
On "All Falls Down", West wages an attack on consumerism. The song features singer Syleena Johnson and contains an interpolation of Lauryn Hill's "Mystery of Iniquity". West called upon Johnson to re-sing a vocal portion of "Mystery of Iniquity", which ended up in the final mix. Gospel hymn with doo-wop elements "I'll Fly Away" precedes "Spaceship", a track with a relaxed beat containing a soulful Marvin Gaye sample. The lyrics are mostly critical of the working world, where West muses about flying away in a spaceship to leave his boring job, and guest rappers GLC and Consequence add comparisons to modern day retail environment with slavery.
On "Jesus Walks" West professes his belief in Jesus, while also discussing how religion is used by various people and how the media seems to avoid songs that address matters of faith while embracing compositions on violence, sex, and drugs. "Jesus Walks" is built around a sample of "Walk With Me" as performed by the ARC Choir. Garry Mulholland of The Observer described it as a "towering inferno of martial beats, fathoms-deep chain gang backing chants, a defiant children's choir, gospel wails, and sizzling orchestral breaks." The first verse of the song is told through the eyes of a drug dealer seeking help from God, and it reportedly took over six months for West to draw inspiration for the second verse.
"Never Let Me Down" is influenced by West's near-death car crash. The song features Jay-Z who rhymes about maintaining status and power given his chart success, with West commenting about racism and poverty. The song features verses by spoken word performer J. Ivy who offers comments of upliftment. "Never Let Me Down" reuses a Jay-Z verse first heard in the remix of his song "Hovi Baby". "Get Em High" is a collaboration by West with two socially conscious rappers, Talib Kweli and Common. "The New Workout Plan" is a mostly comical song and is centered around the premise of an aerobics routine. "Slow Jamz" features Twista and Jamie Foxx and serves as a tribute to classic smooth soul artists and slow jam songs. The song also appeared on Twista's album Kamikaze. On the song "School Spirit", West relates the experience of dropping out of school and contains references to well-known fraternities, sororities, singer Norah Jones, and record label Roc-A-Fella Records. "Two Words" features commentary on social issues and features Mos Def, Freeway, and the Harlem Boys Choir.
"Through the Wire" features a high-pitched vocal sample of Chaka Khan and relates West's real life experience with nearly dying in a car accident. The song provides a mostly comedic account of his difficult recovery, and features West rapping with his jaw still wired shut from the accident. The chorus and instrumentals sample a "pitched up" version of Chaka Khan's 1985 single "Through the Fire". "Family Business" is a soulful tribute one of West's incarcerated family members. The album ends with a 12-minute autobiographical monologue that follows the song "Last Call".
West's debut single, "Through the Wire", entered the Billboard Hot 100 chart at number ninety-four and peaked at number fifteen on February 3, 2004, for five weeks. It remained on the chart for twenty-one weeks. It performed better on the urban contemporary charts, reaching number eight on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks and number four on the Hot Rap Tracks. In the United Kingdom, it debuted at number nine on the UK Singles Chart, where it peaked for two weeks, and exited the chart after nine weeks. The track charted lower in other European countries, reaching the top thirty in Ireland, Sweden, and the Netherlands; the top fifty in Belgium and Switzerland; and number sixty-one in Germany. Its maximum peak time in those countries lasted one week. The single entered the New Zealand Singles Chart at number twenty-four and peaked at number sixteen.
The second single, "Slow Jamz", peaked at number one in the United States, becoming Twista's, West's, and Foxx's first number one hit. "All Falls Down" was released as the third single, and it entered the UK Singles Chart at number ten and peaked at number seven on the U.S. Hot 100. Fourth single, "Jesus Walks" earned widespread commercial success, peaking at number eleven in the United States and becoming West's fourth top twenty hit, while peaking at number sixteen in the UK.
The fifth and final single, "The New Workout Plan", peaked at number fifty-nine on the U.S. Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart. The song's official remix was produced by Lil Jon and features guest appearances from Twista, Luke, and Fonzworth Bentley. The remix was later included on The College Dropout Video Anthology.
The planned sixth single was "Spaceship", featuring rappers GLC and Consequence. This was confirmed in 2009 when GLC reported that a music video had been made for the song, but never released; the label decided to move on from the album to begin promoting West's second album, Late Registration. On June 3, 2009, West uploaded the video on his official blog. At one time, "Two Words" (featuring Mos Def and Freeway) was also intended to be released as a single, and a video for the song was filmed, and later uploaded by West online in May 2009.
Commercial performance 
The album debuted at number two on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart, behind Norah Jones' Feels Like Home, selling 441,000 copies in its first week. It remained on the second spot under Feels Like Home for two more weeks, with 196,000 units sold in the second week and 132,000 in the third. By April 2004, it was certified by the Recording Industry Association of America for having shipped in excess of 1 million copies in the United States. On June 30, 2004, the album was certified double platinum in sales by the RIAA, following sales of 2 million copies. As of July 2009[update], The College Dropout is West's best-selling album in the United States, with domestic sales of over 3.1 million copies; it has sold over 4 million copies worldwide.
Critical response 
|Los Angeles Times|||
The College Dropout received universal acclaim from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 87, based on 25 reviews. Kelefa Sanneh of The New York Times dubbed it "2004's first great hip-hop album". The A.V. Club's Nathan Rabin praised its "substance, social commentary, righteous anger, ornery humanism, dark humor, and even Christianity", calling it "one of those wonderful crossover albums that appeal to a huge audience without sacrificing a shred of integrity". Dave Heaton of PopMatters called the album "musically enganging", writing that "every single one of these songs comes off like a genuine extension of Kanye's personality and experiences". URB wrote that the album "manages to be both visceral and emotive, sprinkling the dancefloors with tears and sweat." Mojo dubbed the album "manna for hip hop fans starved of basic but ballistic beats-and-breaks fare in an increasingly litigious age."
Josh Love of Stylus Magazine wrote that West "subverts cliches from both sides of the hip-hop divide" and praised him for "trying to reflect the entire spectrum of hip-hop and black experience, looking for solace and salvation in the traditional safehouses of church and family". Ethan Brown of New York commended West's "emotional brand of hip-hop" and stated "he makes autobiography universal in a way that hasn't really been heard in hip-hop since the mid-nineties". Hua Hsu of The Village Voice felt that his sped-up samples "carry a humble, human air. You can still hear tiny traces of actual people inside". The newspaper's Robert Christgau wrote that "not only does [West] create a unique role model, that role model is dangerous—his arguments against education are as market-targeted as other rappers' arguments for thug life". Entertainment Weekly's Michael Endelman elaborated on West's avoidance of the then-dominant "gangsta" persona of hip hop:
West delivers the goods with a disarming mix of confessional honesty and sarcastic humor, earnest idealism and big-pimping materialism. In a scene still dominated by authenticity battles and gangsta posturing, he's a middle-class, politically conscious, post-thug, bourgeois rapper — and that's nothing to be ashamed of.
Although he commended West's vulnerability and signature sound, Rolling Stone's Jon Caramanica felt that "West isn't quite MC enough to hold down the entire disc". Slant Magazine's Sal Cinquemani observed "too many guest artists, too many interludes, and just too many songs period", but stated, "As chest-beatingly self-congratulatory as it may be, The College Dropout is at once laugh-out-loud funny ('The New Workout Plan'), genuinely touching ('Family Business'), and brutally honest ('All Falls Down')". Pitchfork Media's Rob Mitchum called it a "flawed, overlong, hypocritical, egotistical, and altogether terrific album". Allmusic editor Andy Kellman felt that it shows West as a "remarkably versatile lyricist and a valuable MC". Renee Graham of The Boston Globe asserted that "West has certainly raised the bar on what mainstream hip-hop can and should be". In a retrospective review, Rolling Stone gave the album four-and-a-half out of five stars and called it "a demonstration that hip-hop—real, banging, commercial hip-hop—could be a vehicle for nuanced self-examination and musical subtlety."
West received 10 Grammy nominations at the 2005 Grammy Awards. The College Dropout was nominated for Album of the Year, and won Best Rap Album. "Jesus Walks" won Best Rap Song, and was nominated for both Song of the Year and Grammy Award for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration.
The College Dropout was voted as the best album of the year by Rolling Stone and in The Village Voice's Pazz & Jop critics poll. Spin ranked it number one on its list of 40 Best Albums of the Year. Comedian Chris Rock has attested to listening to The College Dropout while writing his material. In 2005, Pitchfork Media named it #50 in their best albums of 2000–2004. In 2006, the album was named by Time as one of the 100 best albums of all time. In its retrospective 2007 issue, XXL awarded it a perfect "XXL" rating, which had previously been given to only sixteen other albums. In its July 4, 2008 issue, Entertainment Weekly listed College Dropout as the fourth best album of the past 25 years. The magazine later listed it as the best album of the decade. Newsweek placed The College Dropout among its Best Albums of the Decade list at number 3. Rhapsody named it the seventh best album of the decade and the fourth best hip hop album of the decade. Rolling Stone ranked it number 10 on its list of the 100 Best Albums of the Decade and stated, "Kanye expanded the musical and emotional language of hip-hop ... he challenged all the rules, dancing across boundaries others were too afraid to even acknowledge". In 2012 Complex named the album one of the classic albums of the last decade, and the 20th best hip hop debut album ever. The same year Rolling Stone ranked The College Dropout number 298 on its list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, and 19th on their list of debut records.
Track listing 
|2.||"We Don't Care"||Kanye West||3:59|
|3.||"Graduation Day"||Kanye West||1:22|
|4.||"All Falls Down" (featuring Syleena Johnson)||Kanye West||3:43|
|5.||"I'll Fly Away"||Kanye West||1:09|
|6.||"Spaceship" (featuring GLC & Consequence)||Kanye West||5:24|
|7.||"Jesus Walks"||Kanye West||3:13|
|8.||"Never Let Me Down" (featuring Jay-Z & J. Ivy)||Kanye West||5:24|
|9.||"Get Em High" (featuring Talib Kweli & Common)||Kanye West||4:49|
|10.||"The Workout Plan"||Kanye West||3:46|
|11.||"The New Workout Plan"||Kanye West||5:22|
|12.||"Slow Jamz" (featuring Twista & Jamie Foxx)||Kanye West||5:16|
|13.||"Breathe in Breathe Out" (featuring Ludacris)||Kanye West, Brian Miller*||4:06|
|14.||"School Spirit (Skit 1)"||1:18|
|15.||"School Spirit"||Kanye West||3:02|
|16.||"School Spirit (Skit 2)"||0:43|
|17.||"Lil Jimmy (Skit)"||0:53|
|18.||"Two Words" (featuring Mos Def, Freeway & the Boys Choir of Harlem)||Kanye West||4:26|
|19.||"Through the Wire"||Kanye West||3:41|
|20.||"Family Business"||Kanye West||4:38|
|21.||"Last Call"||Kanye West||12:40|
(*) designates co-producer
(**) designates additional producer
- "We Don't Care" contains samples of "I Just Wanna Stop" performed by The Jimmy Castor Bunch
- "All Falls Down" contains an interpolation of "Mystery of Iniquity" performed by Lauryn Hill
- "Spaceship" contains samples of "Distant Lover" performed by Marvin Gaye
- "Jesus Walks" contains samples of "Walk With Me" performed by The ARC Choir and "(Don't Worry) If There's a Hell Below, We're All Going to Go" performed by Curtis Mayfield
- "Never Let Me Down" contains samples of "Maybe It's the Power of Love" performed by Blackjack and features an interpolation of "Hovi Baby (Remix)" performed by Jay-Z
- "Slow Jamz" contains samples of "A House is Not a Home" performed by Luther Vandross
- "Breathe In Breathe Out" contains samples of "Precious Precious" performed by Jackie Moore
- "School Spirit" contains samples of "Spirit in the Dark" performed by Aretha Franklin
- "Two Words" contains samples of "Peace & Love (Amani Na Mapenzi) – Movement III (Time)" performed by Mandrill
- "Through the Wire" contains samples of "Through the Fire" performed by Chaka Khan
- "Family Business" contains an interpolation of "Ambitionz Az a Ridah" performed by 2Pac
- "Last Call" contains samples of "Mr. Rockefeller" performed by Bette Midler
|French Albums Chart||98|
|German Albums Chart||77|
|Swedish Albums Chart||39|
|UK Albums Chart||12|
|US Billboard 200||2|
|US Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums||1|
|US Billboard Top Rap Albums||1|
|United Kingdom||BPI||2× Platinum|
|United States||RIAA||2× Platinum|
- Arney, Steve (March 8, 2006). "Kanye West Coming To Redbird.". Pantagraph. Retrieved April 26, 2008.
- Christian, Margena A. (May 14, 2007). "Dr. Donda West Tells How She Shaped Son To Be A Leader In Raising Kanye". Jet. Retrieved August 19, 2007.
- Chicago Tribune (November 13, 2007). "Kanye and His Mom Shared Special Bond". Chicago Tribune. Tribune Company. Retrieved August 7, 2012.
- West, Donda, p. 105
- Calloway, Sway; Reid, Shaheem (February 20, 2004). "Kanye West: Kanplicated". MTV. MTV Networks. Retrieved April 21, 2009.
- Hess, p. 557
- West, Donda, p. 106
- Hess, p. 558
- Barber, Andrew (July 23, 2012). "93. Go-Getters "Let Em In" (2000)". Complex. Complex Media. Retrieved August 7, 2012.
- Reid, Shaheem (September 30, 2005). "Music Geek Kanye's Kast of Thousands". MTV. MTV Networks. Retrieved April 23, 2006.
- Mitchum, Rob. Review: The College Dropout. Pitchfork Media. Retrieved on July 23, 2009.
- "500 Greatest Albums of All Time: #464 (The Blueprint)". Rolling Stone. Jann Wenner. November 18, 2003. Retrieved June 21, 2007.
- Kellman, Andy. The College Dropout. Allmusic. All Music Guide Retrieved on August 25, 2011
- Reid, Shaheem (February 9, 2005). "Road To The Grammys: The Making Of Kanye West's College Dropout". MTV. Retrieved January 4, 2009.
- Serpick, Evan. Kanye West. Rolling Stone Jann Wenner. Retrieved on December 26, 2009.
- Hess, p. 556
- Williams, Jean A (October 1, 2007). "Kanye West: The Man, the Music, and the Message.(Biography)". The Black Collegian. Retrieved April 27, 2008.
- Kearney, Kevin (September 30, 2005). Rapper Kanye West on the cover of Time: Will rap music shed its "gangster" disguise?. World Socialist Web Site. Retrieved September 23, 2007.
- Birchmeier, Jason (2007). "Kanye West – Biography". Allmusic. All Media Guide. Retrieved April 24, 2008.
- Davis, Kimberly. "The Many Faces of Kanye West" (June 2004) Ebony.
- Davis, Kimberly. "Kanye West: Hip Hop's New Big Shot" (April 2005) Ebony.
- Kamer, Foster (March 11, 2013). "9. Kanye West, Get Well Soon... (2003) — The 50 Best Rapper Mixtapes". Complex. Retrieved April 9, 2013.
- Reid, Shaheem (December 10, 2002). "Kanye West Raps Through His Broken Jaw, Lays Beats For Scarface, Ludacris". MTV. Accessed October 23, 2007.
- Patel, Joseph (June 5, 2003). "Producer Kanye West's Debut LP Features Jay-Z, ODB, Mos Def". MTV. MTV Networks. Retrieved April 21, 2009.
- Goldstein, Hartley (December 5, 2003). "Kanye West: Get Well Soon / I'm Good". Popmatters. Retrieved March 21, 2013.
- Ahmed, Insanul (September 21, 2011). "Kanye West × The Heavy Hitters, Get Well Soon (2003) – Clinton Sparks' 30 Favorite Mixtapes". Complex. Retrieved December 9, 2012.
- Love, Josh. Review: The College Dropout. Stylus Magazine. Retrieved on July 23, 2009.
- Cinquemani, Sal. Review: The College Dropout. Slant Magazine. Retrieved on December 26, 2009.
- James, Jim (December 27, 2009). "Music of the decade". The Courier-Journal. Archived from the original on June 17, 2011. Retrieved June 17, 2011.
- Sanneh, Kelefa (February 9, 2004). CRITIC'S CHOICE/New CD's; No Reading And Writing, But Rapping Instead. The New York Times. Retrieved on August 25, 2011.
- "Kanye West Biography". Artistdirect. Rogue Digital, LLC. Retrieved August 7, 2012.
- Kanye West – We Don't Care Lyrics. Rap Genius.
- 'Hip-Hop Violinist' Preps Solo Debut, Billboard.
- Late Registration (Album notes). Roc-A-Fella Records. 2004.
- Heaton, Dave (March 5, 2004). Kanye West: The College Dropout. PopMatters. Retrieved on August 25, 2011
- Hall, Rashaun (January 21, 2005). "Kanye West Collaborating With Lauryn Hill On New LP". MTV. Retrieved January 4, 2009.
- Jones, Steve (February 10, 2005). "Kanye West runs away with 'Jesus Walks'". USA Today. Retrieved January 7, 2009.
- Mulholland, Garry (August 15, 2004). "'Jesus Walks' by Kanye West". London: The Observer. Retrieved January 7, 2009.
- Calloway, Sway; Reid, Shaheem (February 20, 2004). "Kanye West: Kanplicated". MTV. MTV Networks. Retrieved April 21, 2009.
- "'Watch The Throne': Jay-Z and Kanye West's 10 Best Collaborations". Billboard. August 6, 2011. Retrieved April 3, 2013.
- Batey, Angus (February 20, 2004). Kanye West – The College Dropout. Yahoo! Music. Retrieved on August 25, 2011
- Reid, Shaheem (January 21, 2004). "Common, John Mayer Drop In To Preview Kanye West's Dropout". MTV.com. Retrieved June 17, 2011.
- Ryan, Chris. Review: The College Dropout. Spin. Retrieved on December 26, 2009.
- Kanye West – Through the Wire – Music Charts. aCharts.us. Retrieved July 3, 2010.
- Artist Chart History. Billboard. Prometheus Global Media Retrieved July 3, 2010.
- Leland, John (August 13, 2004). "Rappers Are Raising Their Churches' Roofs". The New York Times. Retrieved January 7, 2009.
- Moss, Cory (April 17, 2004). "Run-In With A Bentley Uncovers Some Kanye West Remix Plans". MTV. Retrieved January 4, 2009.
- Kanye West's Lost "Spaceship" Video | Kanye West Rap Basement Retrieved July 1, 2012
- Kanye West The Michael Jordan Of Rap | Kanye West Rap Basement Retrieved July 1, 2012
- Martens, Todd (February 18, 2004). "More Than A Million Take Norah 'Home'". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. Retrieved February 17, 2009.
- Martens, Todd (February 25, 2004). "Jones Remains At 'Home' At No. 1". Billboard (Nielsen Business Media, Inc). Retrieved February 17, 2009.
- Martens, Todd (March 3, 2004). "Norah Makes Comfy 'Home' At No. 1". Billboard (Nielsen Business Media, Inc). Retrieved February 17, 2009.
- Gold & Platinum: Searchable Database. Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved on December 26, 2009.
- "Chart Watch Extra: The Top 20 New Acts Of The 2000s". Chart Watch. Retrieved July 22, 2009.
- Columnist. Mr Confidence puts it all on the line. The Sun-Herald (August 1, 2005). Retrieved August 27, 2007.
- Christgau, Robert (March 9, 2004). "Edges of the Groove". The Village Voice (New York: Village Voice Media). Retrieved August 5, 2012.
- Endelman, Michael. Review: The College Dropout. Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved on July 23, 2009.
- Baker, Soren. Review: The College Dropout. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved on July 23, 2009.
- "Review: The College Dropout". Mojo (London): 102. May 2004.
- "Kanye West: Album Guide". Rolling Stone (Jann S. Wenner). Retrieved August 5, 2012.
- "Kanye West, 'The College Dropout' (Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam)". URB (NativeSon Media) (114): 111. March 12, 2004.
- The College Dropout (2004): Reviews. Metacritic. Retrieved on December 26, 2009.
- Rabin, Nathan. Review: The College Dropout. The A.V. Club. Retrieved on December 26, 2009.
- Brown, Ethan. Review: The College Dropout. New York. Retrieved on December 26, 2009.
- Hsu, Hua. Review: The College Dropout. The Village Voice. Retrieved on July 23, 2009.
- Caramanica, Jon (March 14, 2004). Review: The College Dropout. Rolling Stone. Jann Wenner Retrieved on December 26, 2009.
- Graham, Renee. Review: The College Dropout. The Boston Globe. Retrieved on December 26, 2009.
- Montgomery, James (December 7, 2004). "Kanye Scores 10 Grammy Nominations; Usher And Alicia Keys Land Eight". MTV. Retrieved January 7, 2009.
- White, Julian. "Rolling Stone 2004 Critics". RocklistMusic.co.uk. Archived from the original on July 31, 2011. Retrieved July 31, 2011.
- "Pazz & Jop 2004". The Village Voice. October 18, 2005. Archived from the original on July 31, 2011. Retrieved July 31, 2011.
- Staff. "40 Best Albums of the Year: 1) The College Dropout". Spin: 68. January 21, 2005.
- "Why You Can't Ignore Kanye". Time. August 21, 2005. Retrieved May 25, 2010.
- Pitchfork Staff (February 7, 2005). "The Top 100 Albums of 2000–04". Pitchfork Media. p. 6. Retrieved July 31, 2011.
- "Time 100 Best Albums of All Time". Time. Retrieved May 25, 2010.
- XXL (2007). "Retrospective: XXL Albums". XXL Magazine, December 2007 issue.
- The New Classics: Music Entertainment Weekly June 17, 2011 Retrieved on August 13, 2011
- 10 Best Albums of the Decade. Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved on January 20, 2010.
- Walls, Seth Colter. "Best Albums – The College Dropout Kanye West (2004)". Newsweek. Archived from the original on July 31, 2011. Retrieved July 31, 2011.
- Rhapsody Editorial (December 4, 2009). "Rhapsody's 100 Best Albums of the Decade". Rhapsody. Archived from the original on July 31, 2011. Retrieved 2010-01-21.
- Chennault, Sam (September 31, 2009). "Hip-Hop's Best Albums of the Decade". Rhapsody. Archived from the original on July 31, 2011. Retrieved 2011-06-17.
- Staff. 100 Best Albums of the Decade: 10) The College Dropout. Rolling Stone. Jann Wenner Retrieved on December 25, 2009.
- Drake, David. 25 Rap Albums From the Past Decade That Deserve Classic Status: Kanye West, The College Dropout (2004). Complex, December 6, 2012
- The 50 Greatest Debut Albums in Hip-Hop History: 20. Kanye West, The College Dropout. Complex, November 27, 2012.
- "NEW 500 Greatest Albums: 298. Kanye West, 'The College Dropout'". Rolling Stone. Jann Wenner. Retrieved May 18, 2012.
- "THE 100 BEST DEBUT ALBUMS OF ALL TIME – 19: The College Dropout". Rolling Stone. Jann Wenner. 22 March 1963. Retrieved April 3, 2012.
- Credits: The College Dropout. Allmusic. All Media Guide. April 2, 2004. Retrieved July 11, 2012.
- Kanye West – The College Dropout – Music Charts. aCharts.us. Retrieved July 1, 2012.
- "Kanye West Album & Song Chart History: Billboard 200". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved November 10, 2011.
- "Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA): Gold & Platinum – June 2004". Canadian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved August 15, 2010.
- Dec"Latest Gold / Platinum Albums". RadioScope New Zealand. Retrieved August 1, 2010.
- "Certified Awards Search". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved December 11, 2010.
- "Gold & Platinum Searchable Database" Kanye West albums. RIAA. Retrieved January 14, 2011.
- Brown, Jake (2006). Kanye West in the Studio: Beats Down! Money Up! (2000–2006). Colossus Books. ISBN 0-9767735-6-2.
- Hess, Mickey (2007). Icons of Hip Hop: an Encyclopedia of the Movement, Music, and Culture. Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN 0-313-33904-X.
- West, Donda; Hunter, Karen (2007). Raising Kanye: Life Lessons from the Mother of a Hip-Hop Superstar. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 1-4165-4470-4.