February 10, 2004 wasn’t supposed to be that much different than the ninth, that much more noteworthy than the 11th.
But then, The College Dropout happened. Kanye West’s breakthrough debut represented a major ethos shift in mainstream rap, opening the door for some of the biggest names in the genre today. Parallels have been drawn between Chance The Rapper’s Acid Rap and Dropout, and Chance himself has gone on record to talk about the significance of Kanye’s first album.
He’s hardly alone.
What follows are the stories of four Chicago rappers and how the album changed their lives, with all pointing to the same underlying truth: there hasn’t been a more important rap album to drop since.