Kanye West had to fight for studio time to record his debut album ‘The College Dropout’

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Grammy-winning rapper Kanye West is respected by others in the music industry for his dedication to his craft. At the beginning of his career, when he was still a promising artist, nothing prevented him from realizing his dreams.

Kanye West | Rich Fury/VF20/Getty Images for Vanity Fair

Kanye West rose to fame as a producer

In the 1990s, Kanye West rose to prominence as a producer who created beats for several top hip-hop artists. His big breakthrough as a producer came in 2001 with the release of Jay-Z’s seminal album The planconsidered by many to be one of the greatest rap albums of all time.

From there, West was determined to become a successful rapper himself. In 2002 and 2003, he wrote and recorded his first album University dropout. He had a lot of inspiration to draw from, including a near-fatal car accident in 2002 that left him with a locked jaw; he would later record his hit song “Through the Wire” while recovering.

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Kanye West spent years recording ‘The College Dropout’

West’s Journey to Liberation University dropout was chronicled in his 2022 docuseries jeen-yuhs. He had many closed doors ahead of him and he had to keep persevering to bring his vision to life.

At one point in the documentary, fans are introduced to the recording sessions for “Slow Jamz,” West’s 2003 collaboration with Jamie Foxx and rapper Twista. They were recording the song at Foxx’s home studio, which was a blessing for West, as he didn’t have as much time in his official studio due to budget constraints at his label.

Coodie, West’s friend and the man behind the camera for all jeen-yuhs‘ archive footage explained that West had to ask favors of friends just to do basic things as an artist – like getting into the studio to record.

“Thank God [Foxx] had a studio in his crib, because Roc-a-Fella wouldn’t open up Kanye’s recording budget,” Coodie revealed. “So to keep making his album, he had to borrow studio time from other artists whenever he could.”

For West, do University dropout was much more than making a name for himself as a rapper. It was his way of healing himself – both physically and emotionally.

“I used this whole album as my rehabilitation,” he admitted in the documentary. “Instead of staying at the hotel, I snuck out and made songs that inspired me. Songs that gave me the life.”

“I feel like this album was kind of like my angel helping me heal,” he continued. “It gave me morale”

Kanye West wears red and a face mask

Kanye West | Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Universal Music Group

Kanye became a superstar rapper

University dropout was finally released in February 2004, led by the singles “Through the Wire” and “Slow Jamz”. The album’s other singles, “All Falls Down”, “Jesus Walks” and “The New Workout Plan”, helped show that West was a force to be reckoned with.

The album was certified four times platinum with over four million copies sold. In the two decades since, West has become a universally acclaimed rapper and producer with countless hit songs — and pop culture moments — to his name.

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