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Before I was put on to this album by my friend Jay (Jimmy), R.I.P.; I had heard very little from Kanye (Like most everyone else at the time). After hearing the album for the first time I had concluded that Mr. West wasn’t just a good rapper and a great producer, but he was going to be in the game for a long time.
This album is just straight up fun to listen to. It starts with a “college faculty” telling Kanye to make a nice song for the college kids. Kanye starts his album off with "We Don’t Care." It’s a funny song about college and drugs. The beat is very soulful, and with that colorful chorus, you can’t go wrong. Afterward, the janitor tells Kanye he will not be graduating because of his “choice of song”. It seems Kanye has been kicked out of college (but in more dramatic form than it really happened).
"All Falls Down" isn’t Kanye’s first hit, but it put him on the map. The beat is rather simple but incredibly effective. Kanye’s lyrics are incredibly clever and introspective: “Couldn’t afford a car, so she named her daughter Alexis” The chorus by Syleena Johnson is really addictive. This song might be the best song on the album, but there are others that make me think differently.
Afterwards, there’s another skit, that fits perfectly for the next song: "Spaceship."
Kanye is joined by Consequence, who is, in my opinion, a C+ kind of rapper. Kanye continues to showcase his sample-heavy beats. The next song, "Jesus Walks" is a classic anyway you look at it. The beat is creative, “bum bum bum,” then there’s also some singing in there. You would almost think you were listening to a gospel record!
Next up is "Never Let Me Down," a song where Kanye is outshined by Jay-Z. The song is really soulful. There’s even a spoken word piece by J.Ivy. "Get Em High" is sort of a straight club song. Common and Talib Kweli join Mr. West here. At this time they were better rappers than Kanye, but now I’d say that’s not true. Kweli’s verse is fire, and Common’s verse is alright.
Kanye begins to show love to the ladies on "The New Work Out Plan" and "Slow Jamz (Extended Version)." The latter is like a treat, as it's about 2 minutes longer than the version that appeared on Twista’s album. Jamie Foxx does a great job as well. The former is an incredibly high tempo song about girls working out to improve their bodies and get the man they … want. The song is pure excitement.
"Breathe In and Out" features Ludacris, who does a great job on the chorus. Kanye spits some dope verses too. This album really feels like an extravaganza, and it's not about to let up. Up next are two School Spirit skits with a song called “School Spirit” in between them. The skits are funny, but I don’t know who that guy is. As for the song its very simplistic but it has some soulful samples on it. Kanye raps about him quitting college. Yes he is/was the greatest backpack rapper. Up next is a funny, yet sad “Lil Jimmy Skit”.
The next song is "Two Words," which features Freeway and Mos Def. This particular song is very well executed, but it's not one of the best songs on this stellar album. "Family Business" is a really nice song about… well Kanye’s fam. "Through the Wire" samples Chaka Khan’s "Through the Fire" song. This was his first solo single and it's just so damn soulful and personal.
The last song, "Last Call," is really good as well. After the song is over Kanye tells his story about how he came from the bottom but continued to work hard until finally being signed by Rocafella Records. Sure its long, but he’s added beats to the 12-minute track…
2nd Opinion: Kanye’s first album is technically a classic. The only weakness in the album is its lyrics, which aren’t perfect but that’s not much to complain about.