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Ten years ago today, saw the release Kanye West‘s debut album College Dropout and flourished his career to becoming one of the most prominent hip-hop artists of our generation. Released via Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam on February 10, 2004, the 21-track offering debuted at #2 on the Billboard 200, with nearly a half a million copies. While Kanye had already made a name for himself as a producer, College Dropout showed that the Chicago native was an emcee in his own right. As Billboard pointed out correctly, College Dropout continues to resonate in pop culture today. It is the story of and for the underachiever, trying to prove himself to his hometown, label, peers, and most importantly, himself.
Honoring its tenth anniversary, the HYPETRAK editorial team sat down together and selected our favorite songs from the albums and coupled them with some key samples as well as music from its featured guests such as Jay Z, John Legend, Talib Kweli, Mos Def, Freeway as well as some Kanye productions from that era. The accompanying artwork comes courtesy of the Australian illustration artist Rico Fierce. We hope you enjoy this audio trip back memory lane.