Just two weeks ago, hip hop celebrated the release of two of the most influential works of the genre of the past 15 years; Kanye West’s College Dropout and Drake‘s So Far Gone. The two works marked the arrival of two of most polarizing figures in music today. I’m sure we’ve all listened to these albums countless of times, but never in the context of the four components of a classic album.
Now I know there’s been a stir about these two recently due to the whole Rolling Stone magazine fiasco, but this has nothing to do with that. This is an authentic breakdown of two classic works where we’re going to see who comes out on top. Tell Kanye that I’m not pitting the two against each other, but that I am adding something to the culture.
So Far Gone
As if Drake wasn’t already a complete artist, the production from 40 and Boi1da was something to behold. The main men behind the boards both shined as 40 provided the ethereal backdrop that made that mixtape cover make sense and Boi1da supplied the hits that would propel Drake to superstar status.
Kanye‘s incredible resume led him to this point and he took the wheel of his own ship and steered the hell out of it. Every track carried a big soulful sound that catapulted Kanye from producer for the stars to a bonafide star. Every track made you feel something, whether it be inspired, happy, or reflective.
Therefore the category for production goes to College Dropout.
So Far Gone
Drake‘s rapping ability got a chance to shine. The bars on “Ignant Shit,” the flow on “Unstoppable,” the honesty on “Say Whats Real.” He did so many technical things well, but he also held a lot of substance within those bars as well, painting vivid pictures of his perspective of what was going on in those moments of his life.
Kanye‘s lyrical ability has never been his standout asset. He is capable of killing verses as we saw on “Two Words,” but his message was always his strong suit. Bars thanking his girlfriend’s father for her upbringing and brash questioning of the radio’s willingness to play songs with money and sex glorifying subject matter rather than religion caught the ears and more so the hearts of many listeners.
Still, the advantage has to go to Drake for displaying a unique type of depth with such technical grace.
So Far Gone
To say that So Far Gone had an “influence” on things would be a gross understatement. The airy synths and ‘standing outside the club’ filters have become a standard for the new generation of aspirers. Drake’s openness with his thoughts has led to more and more rap artists expressing a wider range of emotions, assessing things from their own unique perspectives.
College Dropout is one of the most impactful albums of our time. At a time when rap overflowed with gangster images, Kanye brought the idea of being a regular person to the table and it worked. Soon after everyone had a backpack and groups like Slum Village and Dilated Peoples were on 106 & Park. Without College Dropout there would be no So Far Gone, or Drake.
So Far Gone
So Far Gone was the soundtrack to to 2009. I can vouch for this personally; this was the album that played in the background during the Spring semester of my freshman year in college. The sound was fresh and the verses were catchy. Every once in a while, you can spin this and reminisce on where you were when So Far Gone dropped.
Kanye‘s College Dropout was unlike anything we had ever heard in the mainstream space. It had tangible topics and melodies that hit you right in the left side of your chest. The skits were even enjoyable to make for great repeat listens to this day.
So with both of them being their own strand of dope, longevity is going to take the cake here.
And the winner is:
So based off of our classic components it seems that College Dropout edges So Far Gone 3-1 in a battle that’s way closer than it seems. How do you see it?