On this day, Sept. 11, in hip-hop...

Roc-A-Fella / Def Jam Recordings
Roc-A-Fella / Def Jam Recordings

2007: Kanye West dropped his stellar third album Graduation on Sept. 11, 2007. Coming off the hype of his first two albums, The College Dropout and Late Registration, the Chicago producer/rapper knew he had to push himself creatively to complete the trilogy. Taking cues from electronic, funk, soul and disco, Yeezy created a musical moment in time that is often argued among his fans as his best project.

The LP was executive produced by Kanye himself with features from Mos Def, Dwele, T-Pain, Lil Wayne, DJ Premier and Chris Martin of Coldplay. The electro-funk-infused beats marked Kanye's department from strictly soul samples. With tracks like "Can't Tell Me Nothing," "Flashing Lights" and "Champion," West explored the perks and pitfalls of his newfound fame. "Good Life" featuring T-Pain peaked at No. 1 on Billboard's Hot Rap Songs while "Stronger," the breakout hit of the LP, hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and to date is seven-times platinum as a single.

’Ye's impressive sourcing of genres and honest lyrical content helped usher in more experimental rap and marked an end to gangsta rap reigning the charts in the new millennium. The album went on to score a ton of accolades including Best Rap Album at the 2008 Grammy Awards.

As it stands today, Graduation is two times platinum in the U.S. and Canada. Ten years later, the album still stands as a benchmark in hip-hop history that's influenced and paved the way for top acts like Kid Cudi, Lupe Fiasco and more.

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