“College Dropout” Hit Sends Wrong Message

In its first week, “The College Dropout” album by rapartist and producer Kanye West sold more than441,000 copies. It has since gone platinum. The singles “SlowJamz” and “Through the Wire” have been top-selling.West, the hip hop artist, is talented and successful. But is West,the dropout, sending the right message to the hip hopcommunity?

West’s main audience is young adults either incollege or preparing to attend soon.

Throughout the album, West boasts that henever received a college degree and is still successfully makingenough money to live and be comfortable.

West, 26, attended ColumbiaCollege in Chicagofor only a short time. Throughout the album, he is never reallyclear about how long he was in school, but he does complain a lotabout college.

In “School Spirit,” West says thathe took many courses that were a waste of his time. He boldlystates that he hated school. West also mentions that a guy whograduated at the top of his class became a waiter and on oneoccasion, served him.

Hearing that did not upset me as much as theskit that precedes it, in which an anonymous man says that a personwith a degree will receive only an entry-level job, perhapsbecoming a secretary’s secretary and making $25,000 a year.

Not true, judging from all the successfulpeople I know with college degrees.

Some SavannahState degree-seekers have mixedfeelings about the album.

Delroy Cameron, a junior who is studentgovernment president, said, “There are some positive aspectsone can draw, in spite of the fact that Kanye did not continue withcollege, and perhaps my immediate thought is, congratulations Mr.West.”

But Cameron admitted that the album,particularly the “School Spirit Skit,” does send out anegative message. “The skit has a touch of irony that invokeslaughter, but at the same time I do find it to be verydisturbing,” he said.

The album “leads one to believe thatcollege is not necessarily [a means] to success and may enticeyoung people to chase dreams that are not tangible.”

Tywana Benard, a sophomore, said sheconsidered the album sarcastic and amusing, saying, “I findKanye’s views to be real and true because education is really notall that.”

Benard agreed that West’s boasting about notgetting a degree was “not really saying much,” but saidthat the album was not really harmful to young minds and wassupposed to be taken lightly.

In an article on the MTV Web site, West says,”I try to see how I can express things in my life that otherpeople will relate to and feel like, ‘Man I’m glad that somebodysaid that.'”

Maybe West does not realize how much of animpact his lyrics can have on young people.

“The College Dropout” is filled withenjoyable hot tracks that exemplify hip hop, but the last thing ourimpressionable generation needs is one of our idols leading us toeducational failure.

Kai-Mariama Osiapem, a student atSavannahStateUniversity, writes for The Tiger’s Roar.