Today is the 10th anniversary of Kanye West's first album, The College Dropout.
'Ye took to Twitter to commemorate the milestone:
And to thank his collaborators and peers who've accompanied him on his journey over the past ten years:
He also thanked his fans:
In an unreleased 2002 interview with MTV, two years before Dropout came out, a pre-fame Kanye talked about why he wanted to step outside his usual role as a producer and make music for himself:
And he got emotional while talking about the people who helped him achieve his dreams, making his tweets above — 12 years later — feel all the more imbued with meaning and sincerity:
“I’ve got to always show love to Roc-A-Fella, D-Dot, Jermaine Dupri… it’s a lot of people that’s helped me in my life. But maybe now Roc-A-Fella is finally letting me get to the point that I’ve been wanting to get to my whole life, since third grade."
Two of those early 'Ye supporters were video directors Coodie Simmons and Chike Oza, who shared some early footage of the making of videos from Dropout with Billboard:
Even back in the early days, the two reveal, Kanye was the ultimate perfectionist, often shooting a couple different versions of a music video until he got it just right.
Kanye called up the duo with a special favor, saying he didn't like the two versions he'd already shot and wanted to go with their vision, Coodie recalled to Billboard. "He said, 'I did these two videos. I didn't like them. They don't have the soul and feeling that I want. Let's do your "Jesus Walks."'
"When they premiered all three versions, Dame Dash and the New York Times said ours was the best. We might have spent $30,000, maybe," Coodie said of the low-budget, last-minute production.