31. All Falls Down
Release Date: February 24, 2004
Album: The College Dropout
Writer(s): Kanye West, Lauryn Hill
“We shine because they hate us, floss cause they degrade us
We trying to buy back our 40 acres
And for that paper, look how low we a stoop
Even if you in a Benz, you still a n*gga in a coupe”
Kanye’s early stuff wasn’t all positive. Plenty of the songs on College Dropout are actually pretty even-handed narratives about a life outside the celebrity spotlight.
“All Falls Down” blends together Kanye’s own personal experience with observations about other black men’s attempts to get into the game. All the temptations and pressures and expectations of trying to rise out of the mire of relative poverty, or simply mundane experience, are detailed on the track, and blended together with some typically clever wordplay from Kanye.
Like “Good Life,” it’s kind of a time capsule experience listening to songs like “All Falls Down.” Kanye is self-deprecating, genuinely comic and, most of all, eminently likable. Not that he’s entirely lost the latter quality in recent years, but it’s definitely much harder to see the humbler version of Kanye beneath so many layers of social media presence and tabloid coverage.
Next: 30. Touch the Sky