Kanye West, The College Dropout (2004)
Label: Roc-A-Fella / Def Jam
Kid Cudi: “The reason why this is my number-one favorite Kanye album is because it was the first time I heard an MC who had the same subject matter that I was looking for and the lane I was trying to run down as an MC. It inspired me to not be self-conscious.
This is my number-one favorite Kanye album.
“My subject matter was always along the lines of my life, school, and doing shit like that. At that time, that shit was non-existent in modern-day mainstream music. Kanye came in and changed the whole shit up.
“I remember getting the album and being inspired like, 'Man, I can do this. I can tell my story, I can tell my tale and affect people the same way Kanye did.' So that was the first album that I listened to where I got the confidence to keep treading down the course.
“You get to that point where you might be self-conscious and think, 'Are people going to connect with this? Is this shit too corny?' I realized with Kanye that as long as you stay true to yourself, people are going to respect you and love you for it. That was the album that really taught me that lesson.”