Kanye West’s first mark on music

Kanye West has been in the news for a long time from him announcing his run for president to his recent divorce from Kim Kardashian. His antics and words have followed him for years but he has always stayed true to one thing, music. In Kanye’s years of rapping, he has made classic after classic but his first studio album is what his fans rave about. It was the first-ever mark on music and a start to a legacy. 17 years later, the album is still a favorite among Kanye stans and a project put into rap history.

The album starts with an intro from comedian, DeRay Davis impersonating comedian Bernie Mac, who plays a school admin asking Kanye to make something for the kids something beautiful. This sets the scene for an unbelievable album to come. Three songs in we get to the beautiful song of “All Falls Down” where Ye tells two different sides of stories on this song. His first side is a broke woman who dropped out of college as a sophomore and single mother. She wants all the things she can’t have and how she spends her last cents on retail items. 

The second verse is about Ye himself and how insecure he is. How he can’t leave without his watch on or go to the grocery store without clean Jordans. He uses his own insecurities to tell how “the people highest up have the lowest self-esteem”. His final verse on the song talks about the insecurities of this whole world. Talking about the fight against police for African Americans and ends his verse with “we’re all self-conscious I’m just the first to admit it”. The hauntingly beautiful hook of Syleena Johnson ties this whole song together giving us a classic we can sing forever. 

The album also marks Ye’s first song with a feature from future legend Jay-Z. He also gets features from Common, Ludacris, Mos Def and actor Jamie Foxx. Foxx would also appear on Ye’s later album Late Registration on the song “Gold Digger” an instant hit to add to Ye’s discography. Ye would also use the Jay-Z feature to his advantage, making multiple songs and an entire album that charted 14th in the U.S. Billboard 200. This album was only a sneak peek of what Ye would do in the coming years. 

Considered one of West’s best work “Through The Wire” is a song based upon an accident West went through in 2002 where he fractured his jaw and got his mouth wired shut. He explains in this song that his mouth is still wired shut and he’s rapping through the pain. This just shows the pure creativity and motivation to work through the pain after this accident. He made sure this was going to be a classic and it was. With the choir sounds in the background of the 808’s pumping through your ears it makes this song 17 years later an absolute masterpiece.

Listening to this album again was just a pleasure. It’s where everything started. Ye’s masterful rapping is introduced and his intelligent choices for features are displayed for the first time on this album. It seemed as if every time he had somebody in the booth doing a feature he pushed them to do their best work. This is one of Ye’s most underrated albums and it may be his best.