The College Dropout Music Poster Image

The College Dropout

Packs edgy emotional wallop; best for older teens.
Popular with kids

What parents need to know

Positive messages

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


Violent imagery with an anti-violence message.


There's explicit sexuality.


Very strong language.


Some brand names mentioned.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Drug references.

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.

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.

Families can talk about...

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

Music details

Artist:Kanye West
Release date:February 10, 2004
Parental advisory:Yes
Edited version available:Yes

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What parents and kids say

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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 Park since I was 7 and this ive started varcity football as a sophemore played basketball and mantained a 4.0 throughout high school.
What other families should know
Great messages
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 about black slavery is very catchy and brilliant, but for adults only. Violence is pretty low, but includes references to slave torture and the recurring phrase "Blood On the Leaves". Sex includes Kanye West uses the term "sexy n--ga". Language is mostly the only concern here. Includes bulls--t, f--k, motherf--ker, c--t, c--ksucker, d--k, p---y, and the "N " word (The Most Amount Of Uses In Any Song). In the end, this one ain't for the kiddos.
Teen, 13 years old Written byianasdfghjkl February 13, 2011

most songs have decent messages

many songs in this album have good messages. not good if your kids are going to be immature about the sex references. overall, amazing album
What other families should know
Too much sex
Great messages