Even though he didn’t stick around for long, Kanye West has not forgotten his alma mater. On the 10th anniversary of the release of his debut LP The College Dropout, the rapper wrote several tweets explaining how grateful he is for that record and how it served as the launching pad for his current success.
“Ten years ago today we finally released what had been my life’s work up to that point: The College Dropout,” he wrote. “I say ‘finally’ because it was a long road, a constant struggle and a true labor of love to not only convince my peers and the public that I could be an artist, but to actually get that art out for the world to hear.
“I am extremely grateful to each and every person along that road who helped, lent an ear, lent their voice, gave of their heart to that project, and to all the projects that followed, and are to come. I am honored and humbled by my fans, for the unwavering support and love over the past 10 years.
“I wake up every day trying to give something back to you that you can rock to and be proud of. Ten years later, I am still the same kid from Chicago, still dreaming out loud, still banging on the door. The doors may be heavier, but I promise you WE WILL BREAK THEM.”
In his first Rolling Stone feature in 2004, published around the release of Dropout, West described himself as “the funny version of Dead Prez.” “I’m the rap version of Dave Chappelle,” he said. “I’m not sayin’ I’m nearly as talented as Chappelle when it comes to political and social commentary, but like him, I’m laughing to keep from crying.”
In Rolling Stone’s original review of the album, Jon Caramanica wrote, “His ace in the hole is his signature cozy sound — dusty soul samples, gospel hymns, drums that pop as if hit for the very first time. He has also succeeded in showing some vulnerability behind a glossy mainstream hip-hop sheen.”
The album would go on to rank No. 10 on Rolling Stone’s Best Albums of the 2000s and No. 19 on Best Debut Albums of All Time.