The College Dropout

Music review by
Kathi Kamen Goldmark, Common Sense Media
The College Dropout Music Poster Image
Packs edgy emotional wallop; best for older teens.
Popular with kids

Parents say

age 17+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 14 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this music.

Positive Messages

The "n" word is all over the place, though not on the edited version. But the social message is complex and worthwhile.

Violence

Violent imagery with an anti-violence message.

Sex

There's explicit sexuality.

Language

Very strong language.

Consumerism

Some brand names mentioned.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Drug references.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this exceptional CD contains every explicit word there is, but you can buy the edited version. Also, Kanye West's lyrics are dismissive about higher education.

User Reviews

Parent of a 11 year old Written byjsharpe October 24, 2009
very bad
Adult Written byKenCampbell April 9, 2008
Teen, 15 years old Written byblount27 June 29, 2011

lighten up parents

This is truely Kanye's best work . To all the strict parents out there ive been listening to rap like Tech N9ne and Jay-z since i was 10, ive watched South... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written bySean Broucek June 27, 2013

Really Good Song About Slavery Is Not For Kids.

THIS REVIEW IS NOT FOR THE COLLEGE DROPOUT. IT IS FOR THE NEW KANYE WEST SONG NEW SLAVES FEATURING FRANK OCEAN. Parents, this urban-style and poignant song abo... Continue reading

What's the story?

There's a lot of explicit music around that's meant to amuse, titillate, and/or offend. But THE COLLEGE DROPOUT, the debut offering from veteran rap producer Kanye West, is a different story. Here's an artist using strong imagery to make an intelligent and emotional statement about his world, with unflinching honesty, cynicism, and humor. This CD is unusual in that the "censored" version is better than the explicit original. The careful editing doesn't dilute the narrative flow of the lyrics; if anything, the messages are more powerful without the distraction of "those" words.

Is it any good?

Exquisite cameo performances by Jay-Z, Common, Mos Def, Twista, and especially the Harlem Boys Choir add to the mix. Buy the edited version, listen with your teens, and talk about everything under the sun. Kanye West delivers songs and skits that are musically interesting and also take on racism, the American educational system, and other contemporary political and social issues. The writing and performances are about as subtle as a sledgehammer, but the intensity works.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about racism, sexism, class politics, and staying in school.

Music details

  • Artist: Kanye West
  • Release date: February 10, 2004
  • Label: Roc-A-Fella
  • Genre: Rap
  • Parental advisory: Yes
  • Edited version available: Yes

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