Love Letter To A Record: ILLSTRTD On Kanye West’s ‘The College Dropout’

Many of us can link a certain album to pivotal moments in our lives. Whether it’s the first record you bought with your own money, the chord you first learnt to play on guitar, the song that soundtracked your first kiss, the album that got you those awkward and painful pubescent years or the one that set off light bulbs in your brain and inspired you to take a big leap of faith into the unknown – music is often the catalyst for change in our lives and can even help shape who we become.

In this series, Music Feeds asks artists to reflect on their relationship with music and share with us stories about the effect music has had on their lives.

ILLSTRTD – ‘The College Dropout’ by Kanye West (2004)

I remember hearing this in high school, and it literally became my soundtrack for probably the next year. To me, I was always a rap fan, but for some reason, Kanye’s lyrics connected with me more than any other artist had in the past. At the time mainstream rap was either gangsta rap or big club songs, and Kanye just sounded so different to anything I had heard up to then.

The production, lyrics, flow… Everything on this album is perfect, and this is still one of my favourite albums to this day. I probably listen to this at least once or twice a month in full.

‘Through the Wire’ is probably one of the best songs ever made. The whole concept — the way he flipped the sample to match it — is genius.

The samples Kanye used on this album were my first introduction to anything that sounded “soulful”, and from there, I started becoming obsessed with anything that gave me that same kind of feeling. I started trying to learn 7th chords and soul chord progressions, and still incorporate a lot of that into my music today.

Melbourne-based producer Illstrtd has just unveiled his smooth and sultry number ‘Real Love’ – featuring rising star Françoistunes.

Illstrtd brings the good vibes and delivers a string of cheeky groove-switches on this breezy RnB-infused toe-tapper that packs plenty of BOUNCE. A festival-ready bop perfect for any summer playlist regardless of geography.

Listen below.

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