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College Dropout Oral History

“The album got people through school, through depression, through death in the family, through relationships, through bad jobs, through career decisions – the album changed lives. People said that they were considering taking their lives but they heard my verse and they reconsidered committing suicide. It called forth a huge ripple effect. So many artists came after it were inspired. So many people were inspired to write poetry, so many rappers were inspired to rap, so many producers were inspired to produce and those who were doing it already were inspired to do it better.”

- J. Ivy

We’re nearing the ten year anniversary (!) of Kanye West‘s classic debut album, The College Dropout, in just a few days on February 10th. On that date in 2004, Kanye West changed the game as J. Ivy so eloquently puts it above.

To mark the occasion, Billboard ran an Oral History of The College Dropout with interviews with 26 collaborators on the album, breaking down the making of each song to the journey of ‘Ye landing on Roc-A-Fella. Among those interviewed: Common, Talib Kweli, Dame Dash, and all of the people on Kanye’s team from the beginning. It’s a long, enthralling read that I was really fascinated by — learning some new details along the way. If you got the time, it’s one to certainly sit down with here.