Dame Dash Looks Back On Kanye West’s ‘College Dropout’ 10 Years Later


On Feb. 10, 2004, hip-hop was introduced to Kanye West, the rapper, with his debut album College Dropout. The singles from this album were soulful and awe-inspiring. The execution of the roll out was near-perfect, and Kanye crafted a well-rounded debut body of work that at the time was the total contrast to the street anthems that were being pumped out over the radio. Even the album cover became iconic. Even though he’d already become a successful producer for Roc-A-Fella, his true passion was getting a record deal as a rap artist.

The notion of things happening for a reason or a bigger plan can be very hard to see; when Kanye suffered a near-fatal car accident that resulted in a shattered jaw in 2002, it was hard to see it as anything other than a disappointment in a promising career. But the accident that could have derailed his whole dream of being a rapper wound up catapulting it instead, as “Through The Wire” established Yeezy as a formidable force. You felt every syllable spat out over the smooth soothing sample of Chaka Khan’s 1985 single “Through The Fire” as he told of his long road to becoming a rapper. Ten years later this album now stands in the same class as classic debuts such as Reasonable DoubtIllmatic, and Ready To Die.

A man that was an integral part of the battle to introduce the world to Kanye was Roc-A-Fella head honcho Dame Dash. At the height of the Roc-A-Fella era, Dame was one of the central figures who directed the ship, with theHarlem native positioned as one of the most powerful men in hip-hop. It was Dame who saw something in Kanye’s work ethic that made him want to fight to get him that platform. At Dame’s art gallery in the Lower East Side of New York City, XXL caught up with him to talk College Dropout, the glory days of the Roc and the growth of Kanye West. —Emmanuel C.M. (@ECM_LP)

Previously: Breaking Down Kanye West’s Six Platinum Solo Albums

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  • BrianRaider

    A Fucking Classic. Kanye’s Music Grips You Emotionally!!!! Somtimes It’s Like A Roller-Coaster. I Remember Buying This Out Best Buy 10 Years Ago. I Had A Blue Eddie Bauer Exporer. I Went Absolutely Ape Shit Over The New Workout Plan!!! I Was Swervin On Niggas & Shit!!!! Such A Perfect Album!!! I Think It’s His Mona Lisa! But Late Registration Is Also A Classic. The 1st 2 LP’s Are Even XXL Certified Classic. It Was Like Kanye Was Possessed ! Like Determined To Convince Everyone That He Was That Nigga. I Share His Sentiments !!! #SALUTE!!!!

    • UABitch

      Seriously, why does every word you type begin with a capital letter? Shit just looks so stupid dog? For real.

      • The Brute

        Because he’s just another uneducated wannabe untalented rapper.

  • BrianRaider

    Also Shouts Out To Dame !!! We Need Another Dame Movie. That Nigga Makes Some Dope Azz Movie Man!

  • BrianRaider
  • Kofi

    Great interview man. Always great hearing from Dame.