Chicagomuzik

I've got a whole city to hold down

February 11, 2004

Go West

We've been waiting for years for somebody to join Lonnie Lynn in the ranks of hometown MCs made good in the mainstream. Now, just as it seems that Twista might at last have his day in the sun, another hope has arrived. That's former South Sider, recent Roc-a-Fella beat wiz, and tonight's HOB headliner Kanye West, whose long-delayed debut "College Dropout" saw release yesterday.

His hype vows West will merge the backpack underground with the platinum masses (he's a uniter, not a divider), and sure enough "College Dropout" features guest turns by both Jay-Z and Jean Grae. Common and Talib Kweli drop by, too, but the cameos don't overshadow Kanye's smart rhymes or his fun-seeking production.

It should be said that, contrary to our scolding note below, Kot and DeRogatis in fact discussed the disc last night on Sound Opinions. Despite not mentioning it in any pre-show hype, they gave "College Dropout" second billing to Courtney Love's latest. We ask you: Coincidence, or the vast reach of our invisible hands? Okay, probably coincidence.

Anyway, back to West. Kot inks him up good here, and there's a brief Q&A at Metromix. As the more widely read paper on the south and west sides and the only one with a regular hip-hop column, the Sun-Times' silence is deafening.