February 10 In Hip-Hop History: Kanye West Drops His Debut Album

By Tony M. Centeno

February 10, 2024

The College Dropout
Photo: UMG Recordings

It's been 20 years since Kanye West released his classic debut album.

On February 10, 2004, the Chicago rapper delivered his first studio LP The College Dropout via Roc-a-Fella Records/Def Jam Recordings. The iconic album was led by his debut single "Through The Wire" followed by other popular hits like "Slow Jamz" with Twista & Jamie Foxx and "All Falls Down" featuring Syleena Johnson. The album also features other stand-out songs like "Jesus Walks," "The New Workout Plan," "We Don't Care," "Spaceships" featuring GLC and Consequence and "Never Let Me Down" with JAY-Z and J. Ivy.

The College Dropout
Photo: UMG Recordings

In addition to those hits, Ye also invited Yasiin Bey f.k.a Mos Def, Talib Kweli, Freeway, Ludacris, Common, John Legend, Keyshia Cole, Miri Ben-Ari, and more to contribute to the project. It took Ye four years to complete his first official body of work. The lead single was created a few weeks after he got into a near-fatal car crash in 2002. He recorded the song while his jaw was wired shut, which inspired lyrics like "I'm a champion, so I turned tragedy to triumph/Make music that's fire, spit my soul through the wire." The song was released nearly a year later.

In typical Ye fashion, The College Dropout was reportedly delayed three times before it was released in 2004. Ye sold 441,000 copies during the first week of its release, and debuted at number two on the US Billboard 200 chart. The album went platinum two months later. In 2020, the RIAA announced that it had gone 4x platinum.

Relive Kanye West's first studio album on iHeartRadio now and check out the best music videos from the album below.

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