(AllHipHop News) February 10th will mark the the 10th anniversary of one of the most influential bodies of work in Hop Hop over the past 15 years, Kanye West’s College Dropout. While Kanye explained his rise to fame pre-College Dropout on the album outro “Last Call”, Billboard’s Erika Ramirez spoke with the major players behind Kanye’s success and the album’s creation for the oral history of College Dropout and AllHipHop picked the 8 lesser known facts.
50 Cent Almost Ended Up On “Jesus Walk” Remix
Three years before the two would become forever associated with one another during their Soundscan battle in 2007, 50 Cent and Kanye West were almost praising Jesus together. According to West’s manager, John Monopoly, a late great record executive almost put the two MCs together:
I remember Chris coming into my office, and we were laughing about ‘Jesus Walks.’ He was like, ‘I’m putting 50 on this record.’
50 Cent never hopped on the remix, however a future G-Unit affiliate did along with Common:
NO I.D. Could Not Deal With Kanye’s Personality
“With so much personality, what do you want from me?/I could be by myself and enjoy the company”-Kanye West on “Whole City Behind Us”
In the mid-90s Kanye was being managed by No I.D. one of his producer idols and a man who’s parking lot he stalked for days until he got noticed. That would be a match made in heaven and humble any upstart, right? If you said yes, then No I.D. might want to give you a different perspective:
After a few meetings, I realized that I couldn’t control his personality and [I] didn’t have the time and patience to be that role.
Kanye West Worked With Jay Z Before Ever Working With Him
The first time Kanye West ever worked with Jay Z was on The Dynasty‘s “This Can’t Be Life” back in 2000. However, three years before that Kanye and Jay actually collaborated in a less direct way that marked a first for Jay Z:
We had Kanye open Jay Z’s first show in Chicago in ’97.- John Monopoly
50 Cent and Kanye West Almost Got Signed At The Same Time To The Same Label By The Same Person
For some reason fate has tied 50 Cent and Kanye West together before the majority of their current fan-bases even knew they existed. Back in 2001, Kanye West was a year away from sustaining a life altering injury in a near fatalk car accident and 50 Cent had been infamously shot nine times less than a year prior and was rightfully cautious about his safety. Both men were being shopped by a Capitol Records A&R by the name of Joe “3H” Weinberger, whom almost got both of them signed simultaneously, if it wasn’t for 50 being smart:
We flew [Kanye] to L.A. and then flew 50 Cent to L.A. The boss said, ’50 Cent is too scary. I don’t want bodyguards at my house. I’ll sign this Kanye guy. Even though I don’t get it, even though it doesn’t seem interesting to me at all.’
The deal eventually fell through after the new head of the urban department at Capitol Records in 2001 nixed the deal. While Weinberger does not name who the person was that was responsible for canceling Kanye’s deal with Capitol, in 2001 Priority Records merged with Capitol Records and Darius Jones became the Senior A&R of Capitol’s Urban Department.
Ludacris Helped Def Jam Care About College Dropout
The one song on College Dropout that sounds the most out of place with the album’s overall concept may be one of the biggest reasons the album was ever released. His collaboration with Ludacris for “Breathe In, Breathe Out” may have cost Kanye an undisclosed number of free beats it may have also got Def Jam to actually care about putting money behind the album:
There was all this drama between Roc-A-Fella and Def Jam and they had paused all the budgets at Roc-A-Fella, because they were spending all this money. I happened to have ‘Ye up at Def Jam. We bumped into Lyor and played him ‘Breathe In, Breathe Out.’ Next thing I know his budget was open, literally the next morning.- Plain Pat
Album Version of All Falls Down Was Recorded In Kanye’s House
Years before Kanye West and Jay Z recorded the majority of Watch The Throne in hotel rooms and rented mansions, Kanye was the embodiment of the Do-It-Yourself model:
‘All Falls Down’ was made on a fairly cheap Roland 18-track digital recorder and it wasn’t re-done in the studio. It was just put on the album. Things would be made in his apartment, and it’d sound amazing. A lot of times when then we’d do it in the studio it didn’t sound ‘good.’ So that first time would end up on the album.
“Get By” Was Almost Mariah Carey’s Beat
Last September, rumors surfaced that Mariah Carey felt Kanye West was getting more investment and help from Def Jam for Yeezus than she was for her upcoming album The Art of Letting Go. His marketing head Ferris Bueller informed Billboard that a decade before Carey’s perturbation over Def Jam’s preferential treatment of Kanye, Kanye almost gave Mariah one of Hip Hop’s most lauded hits:
He talked about different records, and the most notable [story] is how the ‘Get By’ record came about. He was going to sell the beat to Mariah Carey, but Talib Kweli fucked with it.” – Ferris Bueller
Kanye Lied To Dame Dash To Get His Record Deal
A common misconception about Kanye West’s involvement with Roc-A-Fella Records is that Dame Dash fully believed in Kanye West and Jay Z did not. However, Kanye had to record College Dropout under semi-secrecy from Dame and flat out lie to get his album out:
We all knew he’s been recording the album. That was his dream. But Dame didn’t know. He fooled Dame and told him that he was doing a compilation album. That’s how he got his deal. He was going to produce the beats for all the Roc-A-Fella artists but [instead] he said, ‘F*ck that, I’m going to make my own album.’-GLC
Listen to Kanye West explain pre-College Dropout Kanye West’s story on “Last Call”: