A decade ago today, we were tearing the wrapping off the brown CD with the bear mascot on the front. The much-hyped producer-turned-rapper Kanye West was stepping into the limelight with his first LP, College Dropout, and the entire hip-hop world was bracing for the impact.
Fast forward to present day, and it feels like that album birthed an entire sub-genre. The palette of emotions was so broad, the depth of topics so searingly relevant, that it was bound to make an impression on any artist that heard it. RZA might have birthed chipmunk soul, and Black Star perfected smart lyricism for the Jansport bunch, but ‘Ye brought all that to the masses in one single, digestible product, breaking down the divisions between mainstream rap and Rawkus-grade consciousness.
Ten years later, the influence of College Dropout is easily perceivable. Here are 10 albums that have directly been spawned as a result of Kanye’s first (and greatest?) body of work. —Max Weinstein