The College Dropout

Common Sense Media says

Packs edgy emotional wallop; best for older teens.





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.

Parents say

Kids say

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

This review of The College Dropout was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 13 years old Written bygOd_bLeSS_cAtAs... April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
Teen, 14 years old Written byfootballtime56 April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age

Great CD

This is a great CD for any young kid struggling to get in touch with God or to learn to do the right thing. It explains things in the language of today so that it is understandable.
Teen, 15 years old Written byBIG PAPA April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age

i laughed

i thought it was outstanding cause it has some words that you would never think that somebody who had drop out of collage talk like tha.


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