is the debut studio album by American rapper and producer #KanyeWest
. It was released on February 10, 2004, by Def Jam Recordings and Roc-A-Fella Records. In the years leading up to release, West had received praise for his production work for rappers such as #JayZ
, but faced difficulty being accepted as an artist in his own right by figures in the #musicindustry
. Intent on pursuing a solo career, he signed a record deal with Roc-A-Fella and recorded the album over a period of four years, beginning in 1999.
The production of The College Dropout was primarily handled by West and developed his "chipmunk soul" production style, which made use of sped-up, pitch shifted vocal #samples
and R&B records, in addition to West's own drum programming, string accompaniments, and gospel choirs; the album also features contributions from Jay-Z, #MosDef
, and #Ludacris
, among others. Diverging from the then-dominant #gangsterpersona
, West's lyrics concern themes of family, self-consciousness, materialism, #religion
, and higher #education
The College Dropout debuted at number two on the US #Billboard200
, selling 441,000 copies in its first week of sales. It was a large-scale commercial success, becoming West's best-selling album in the United States, with domestic sales of over 3.4 million copies by 2014 and was certified triple platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (#RIAA)
the next year. The album was promoted with singles such as "Through the Wire", "Jesus Walks", "All Falls Down", and "Slow Jamz", the latter two of which peaked within the top ten of the Billboard Hot 100.