Doctor’s Orders: Happy Anniversary to the College Dropout
Hello friends, comrades, disciples, peasants, ignoramuses, etc. I hope Valentines day treated you well by “well” I mean terrible. I am also hoping that your ready for some KANYE MOTHERFUCKING WEST! (*Note* I will excessively use the word “motherfuckin'” by Kanye’s wishes, as he claims that his middle name is, in fact, “Motherfucking”) Earlier this week, it came to my attention that it was the ten year anniversary of KMW’s debut album, the game-changer otherwise known as The College Dropout. I was planning on doing a post about like I did my Nirvana one for Nevermind, but because I am a busy man I couldn’t really write something up, blah, blah, blah. I also missed out on givin’ y’all a follow up to my first “Doctor’s Orders” so, here I am, somewhat keeping my word by giving you some music to listen to. He’ll give us what we neeeeddddddd, it may not be what we waaAAAaaAAAnnnttt.
Anywho, in order to make this writing process less painful for yours truly, I’m going to combine my obligatory Kanye-College Dropout tribute post with my also obligatory “Doctor’s Orders” by giving you five underrated Kanye tracks from each of his first five albums, excluding his latest opus, Yeezus, due to the fact that I wrote a giant, near 2500-word review on it six weeks ago and writing more about it would be revisiting a traumatizing experience for me. So, if you wanna hear about Yeezus, then read the review, monkeys! Speaking of which, I just received my tickets for the Yeezus tour for the February 22nd show in Atlantic City.
Now, before Kanye Motherfucking West was referring to himself as a god, demanding croissants, menages, massages and his Porsche (out the damn garage, I might add) he was known as the Louie Vuitton Don, Kanye to the, the little producer that could. I remember the beginning, when we first heard him on “Through the Wire” with his jaw wired shut. I remember the College Dropout being one of the first hip hop records I had ever heard. I remember his performance on the 2005 VMA’s when he did “Gold Digger” for the first time with Jamie Foxx, or when he performed at the Grammy’s in ’06 with Foxx and a marching band. I also remember the infamous “George Bush doesn’t like black people” statement. How could I forget the competition between he and 50 cent to promote their respective albums, Graduation and Curtis? I also watched the evolution, starting from the death of his mother, (to which he paid tribute to with a teary-eyed performance of “Hey Mama” at the Grammys in 2008) to the 808s and Heartbreak days and the Taylor Swift VMA debacle. All of which lead to his greatest work to date, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy and his most fearless with Yeezus. Whether you like him or not, Kanye has been the most important artist of the past ten years. There is no question. No one has pushed the boundaries like him and lived to tell, at least not in this generation. He talks his shit, but then he gives us a near flawless discography to back it up. He’s the hardest working man in music and arguably the most talented. Obviously, he doesn’t play guitar, or drums, but to have a decades worth of material, six albums worth of material, and for the majority of that material to be unrivaled or unmatched by any of your contemporaries is something that only the icons achieve. He said it before he even released an album, on camera i might add, that he was going to be the fucking best.
So here I am, giving you five underrated tracks from Kanye’s catalog. Here’s to another decade of Kanye MOTHERFUCKING West.
This one is Kanye’s big middle finger to those who doubted him and also a toast to himself and Roc-a-Fella for finally giving him his chance. After Kanye drops a few rhymes in the first four minutes of the song, he then takes the next eight to tell his story, one that follows the familiar “rags to riches” narrative. How he was almost signed and denied his opportunity to rap, even by his eventual partner in crime, Jay-Z.
“Bring Me Down” featuring Brandy
This one, to me is one of the most underrated Kanye West tracks ever. It’s an absolute verbal assault on those who can’t stand or hate on Kanye. The string section, piano work and horns make the track even more powerful. He even dusted off Brandy and reminded us that she still existed. Kanye passionately raps “but they gon’ have to take my life ‘fore they take my drive,’cause when I was barely livin’ that’s what kept me alive” and you can’t help but cheer Kanye on because you realize that this guy is relentless. He never stops going. There’s a constant chip on his shoulder and that’s probably the reason why he behaves the way he does. The man has 21 Grammy awards and he works like he has none. It’s a constant uphill battle for him and sometimes it’s to a fault.
To me, this song is one of my absolute favorite Kanye tracks ever. I was in 8th grade when Graduation hit the shelves and that album, for me, was my soundtrack at 13-14 years old. And this song right here was centerpiece of it all for me. It’s Kanye at his most influential. It’s an anthemic-go getter jam that really hit home. The Labi Siffre sample is fucking beautiful along with the synths and melody in the background.
“Pinocchio Story” (Live in Singapore)
This one was recorded at a live concert and it was not intended to be featured on 808s & Heartbreak until Beyonce had suggested that Kanye put it on the album upon hearing it because it really encompassed what the album had been about from the jump. It really had shown what Kanye was going through at the time. He raps about how much he longs for a normal life with a family and also how much he regrets bringing he and his late mother to LA. It’s a very powerful song and luckily it was recorded and distributed to the masses because it deserved to be heard.
“Gorgeous” featuring Kid Cudi & Raekwon
“Gorgeous” is one Kanye’s most lyrically potent tracks ever. He touches on many different topics, such as celebrity, government, racial equality, etc. All of this and how it relates to himself. He even threatens to “choke a south park writer with a fish stick” it’s bizarre, focused, straightforward hip hop.
So, the challenge has been set, readers. Go listen to those tracks right now and get jiggy with them like Yeezus himself.
AND IN OTHER NEWS!
A SHAMELESS PLUG FROM TOTALLY UNAPOLOGETIC:
If you dig hip hop, check out my friend, Lil D Beatz and his latest mixtape Valentines Day Massacre 2 on Spotify and iTunes! Hooray music!