Support Local Journalism. Join Riverfront Times Press Club.

Kanye West 

College Dropout (Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam)

This has been touted as the year's most-anticipated release -- less because of what Kanye West has achieved as half of Roc-A-Fella's hit-making house production team and more because of what he represents. The long-awaited bridge between hip-hop's over- and underground, West is a guy who admits that he wants to sport both "a Benz and a backpack" and is described as "the future of hip-hop" by Mos Def and many others.

That's a hell of a load for a relative microphone novice, yet West's sometimes-stiff delivery masks the soul of a real MC. Over the ominous gospel march of "Jesus Walks," he breaks down a crisis of faith in just two pithy lines: "I wanna talk to God/But I'm afraid, 'cause we ain't spoke in so long." And the amazing "Self Conscious" is a would-be playa's admission that he's seen the Emperor of Bling with no clothes -- and still desires the same suit in spite of himself.

But like all great albums, College Dropout works equally well for those with no idea of the context. Expanding on West's signature plundering of old soul records, these rich, classy tracks will undoubtedly convince the oblivious to extend his chart reign. Little wonder that the chorus of "Keep the Receipt" taunts, "Does anybody else make hits anymore?" Well, there are those Neptunes fellows, but if this is the future of hip-hop -- smart, funny lyrics with beats you can bang to -- who's gonna complain? (Kanye West will drop science at the Pageant on Wednesday, April 14.)

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Riverfront Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Riverfront Times Club for as little as $5 a month.

More by Dan LeRoy

Read the Digital Print Issue

July 28, 2021

View more issues

Newsletters

Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In St. Louis

© 2021 Riverfront Times

Website powered by Foundation