44. Drive Slow
Release Date: June 6, 2006
Album: Late Registration
Writer(s): Kanye West, Paul Slayton, Leonard Harris
“I used to love to play my demo tape when the system yanked
Felt like I was almost signed when the shit got cranked”
Long before “Lift Off” and his association with the divine, Kanye was just another aspiring rapper in Chicago, waiting anxiously for his big break.
The thing about being a genius is that it rarely affords you time to be patient. Kanye made no secret about his regard for his own abilities, and at a young age he could clearly see his career laid out before him.
All of which created an immense amount of pressure. Songs like “Drive Slow” reflect an attempt to counterbalance those stresses, both in the contents of the lyrics and the rhythm of the beat itself.
The song details an evening spent aimlessly cruising around Chicago, patrolling for women while enjoying the fruits of his own labor over the soundsystem. It’s about literally slowing down and not letting life rush past your window.
Kanye tracks tend either to move forward propulsively, or to look back reflectively, which makes “Drive Slow” unique in the way it enjoys the moment.
Next: 43. Live Fast, Die Young