Continuing to build hype around his debut album, College Dropout, Kanye West treated the press yesterday to a first listen of the final CD, complete with surprising new cuts and an impromptu performance on top of a conference table.
Supported by Roc-A-Fella executives Damon Dash, Kareem ‘Biggs’ Burkes and Kenny Burns, Kanye premiered joints from his debut, College Dropout, many of which have leaked onto the internet three months in advance. But the final cut reveals several changes and bonuses for fans of the super-producer turned rapper.
Tracks like “The Good, The Bad, The Ugly”, “My Way”, “Home” and “Keep The Receipt” featuring ODB – which many fans have been enjoying from their home computers — didn’t make the cut. Kanye also re-recorded vocals and added instrumentation to previously released tracks like “Never Let Me Down” which now includes a second Jay-Z verse and features J-Ivy,(not Saul Williams as many believed) while the sinful “Jesus Walks” contains added breakdowns. Lauryn Hill opted to withhold sample clearance for her “Mystery Of Inequity,” making room for soulstress Syleena Johnson to replace her on the hook for “All Falls Down.”
The Chicago-born and studio bred hip-hop aficionado took the listening session further by offering an impromptu performance of the album, passionately reciting his rhymes while interacting with members of the press. Guest vocalists, GLC, Consequence and Common also joined West to spit their featured verses. Getting into the vibe, the man of the hour set the mood when he dimmed the lights during “Jesus Walks,” hopped on a table alongside Common during “Get Them High” and led the crowd in a sing along of the Twista / Jamie Foxx single “Slow Jamz.”
Aside from the known tracks, new standouts included “Spaceships” featuring GLC and Consequence, “Get Them High” — a straight spitting lyrical fest featuring Common and Talib Kweli and “We Don’t Care.” In addition to showcasing a good singing voice, Kanye silenced skeptics by blending his brand of humour with witty lyrics and addictive cadence- once again proving he’s a force for 2004.
As expectations rise alongside his buzz, Kanye has managed to exceed them. The February 2003 release of College Dropout is sure to usher in a new sound and direction for hip-hop and Roc-A-Fella Records post the Jay-Z era.