Friday, Dec. 17, 2004

The College Dropout by Kanye West

The obvious comparison is The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, but where that solipsistic concept album came wrapped in sincerity, West's swings wildly between his belief in his own exceptionalism and his fierce conviction that followers — which he defines as lazy rappers, college students and anyone who works at The Gap — are all chumps. West can be as petulant as Eminem ("If my manager insults me again, I will be assaulting him"), but he's at least as clever, and as a producer he's attentive to the tiny details that elevate a record to greatness. There's plenty of self-indulgence, but at the end of Never Let Me Down, as West's choir sings, "When it comes to being true, at least true to me/One thing I've found, one thing I've found, oh no you never let me down," it's easy to believe in his exceptionalism, too.
Best Tracks: Jesus Walks, Never Let Me Down, Spaceship, School Spirit