The College Dropout by Kanye West was the first hip-hop album I ever owned. My dad bought me the clean version from Wal-Mart. Funny story, I attended the Boys & Girls Club in middle school. I was 12 years old and I vividly remember telling Daniel, the basketball coach, that Kanye West couldn’t rap, LOL. I was young and naïve. I told him this because, I was trying to get a reaction out of him - little did I know about hip-hop nor Kanye. Daniel simply retorted “you’re crazy.” Soon after, when my dad gave me the chance to pick out anything in the store that I wanted, I picked out “The College Dropout” off the shelf. Mainly because I dissed Kanye’s rap abilities prior to taking a fair listen. I also gravitated towards the artwork of the teddy bear sitting on the bleachers, and decided to give it a chance. This soon became my favorite CD - I memorized every song lyrics, chorus, verse and skit. Kanye remained my favorite artist until J. Cole took reign in 2009 with The Warm Up mixtape. The College Dropout is an album that is so important to pop-culture and creatives. This album stresses going against societal norms and confirming while staying true to your personal goals. Although I did not drop out of college and I am pursuing my master’s degree, at times I feel tired of playing societal games. Sometimes it makes you wonder if the late nights and insurmountable piles of debt is truly worth it. On his debut album, Kanye promotes “thinking outside of the box” and “being yourself” which I believe is so important in this day and age.