REVIEW: The College Dropout by Kanye West

Posted by Al Barger on September 15, 2005 02:16 AM (See all posts by Al Barger)
Filed under: Music

Kanye West has come to my attention due to his budding secondary career as a part time racial demagogue. He's whipped it out a time or two on tv recently with what Da Mayor might refer to as "black foolishness."

But why would anyone give a rat's ass about this guy in the first place to even be offended by his silly talk? Mostly, that would be for his major career as a musician, and particularly his breakout album The College Dropout from last year.

Alright then, let's give this thing a spin, see what we're working with. Overall, it's not that good, but it's probably worth a listen.

It's not particularly what I was expecting. The record only marginally goes to specifically political themes. The most objectionable thing there would be something about white men making money on crack. But that's not that radical, nor probably is it specifically untrue. Plus, that's on "All Falls Down," which is one of the three or four best cuts.

Before becoming an artist, West had been a producer. That seems to be way his strong suit. He doesn't have a particularly interesting voice or style. He conjures up some decent grooves and tasty production flavors, but there's very little songwriting here.

The best song would be "Spaceship," which conjures up a good basic chorus, and a really sweet Marvin Gaye groove for this lament of a brother working the night shift. This would be worth keeping around for an iPod mix.

Most interesting to me emotionally was the martial rap gospel of "Jesus Walks." He's working out some conflicts between reality and perfection. There's minimal real melody to this, but there's maybe just enough to top off the martial cadences, cool vocal arrangements, and conflicted emotions to work. This would work real good in a Jesus mix disc, with stuff like "Me and Jesus" and "Whenever God Shines His Light" and of course "Wake Up Dead Man."

This song also has one of the freakier serious rhymes of the season. "The way Kathy Lee needed Regis, that's the way I need Jesus." That was apparently delivered deadly earnest. He does seem to be a genuine Jesus freak.

Other than that, the songs start running real thin, real quick. He particularly needs called out for his stupid dropout "skits." I take it that Kanye is a college dropout, and feels very defensive about it. Perhaps he could spend some of them benjamins on therapy, but this talking isn't very interesting.

Plus, he definitely gets a fat raspberry for the 12:40 "Last Call" where he's just babbling endlessly about the details of getting his record deal. Maybe this would be good notes to help bring a new business manager up to date or something, but why in hell would anyone else want to invest nearly a quarter hour of our lives on hearing it?

Still, there are some decent grooves and three or four at least minimally interesting songs. Don't know if it's really worth spending money on, but maybe you'll want to grab this from the library and give it a spin.


Holla Back!

The Man is out to get Kanye West

Music Sustains the Soul

To Al's More Things Log

Link Soup
morethings master photo gallery index MP3 new album releases sammy davis little richard photos buddy holly pictures fats domino images chuck berry pictures 05/ 06/ 07/ 08/ 09/ 10/ 11/ 12/ 01/ 02/ 03/ 04/ 05/ 06/ 07/ 08/ 09/ 10/ 11/ 12/ 01/  03/ 04/ 05/ 06/ 07/ 08/ 09/ 10/ 11/ 12 01/ 02/ 03/ 04/ 05/ 06/ 07/ 08/ 09/ 10/ 11/  02/ 03/ 04/ 05/ 06/ 07/       la manchurian candidate pictures 24 lucille ball images james blunt photos clint eastwood pictures lena horne images team america pictures robert mitchum photos bruce springsteen pictures  mariah carey pictures ann coulter photos sissy spacek pictures tanya tucker images  loretta lynn pictures beatles pictures white stripes pictures andy griffith pictures kill bill pictures parliament funkadelic p-funk pictures beverly hillbillies pictures al barger frank zappa pictures jerry lee lewis pictures richard pryor photos june carter johnny cash pictures vic mackey shield pictures macy gray pictures james cagney images elvis presley pictures gwen stefani images dolly parton pictures devil whores pictures tom petty photos tori amos pictures joaquin phoenix images Quills movie images peter lorre images reese witherspoon pictures  flaming lips images rolling stones photos fiona apple images dr strangelove pictures elvis costello images  ray charles photos marx brothers pictures prince rogers nelson pictures blazing saddles images  sinead o'connor images  eddie murphy photos all in the family pictures south park  pictures homer simpson images bob dylan pictures elizabeth taylor photos drawn together images saturday night live pictures hee haw pictures james brown images pete townshend photos tina turner pictures dixie chicks photos robert anton wilson images guns n roses pictures paula abdul pictures jodie foster photos borat eminem frank sinatra photos van halen images