Late Registration turns 10

Happy 10th birthday, Late Registration.

Can you believe that?!

August 30, 2005 saw the release of Kanye West’s critically acclaimed (Grammy winning Best Rap Album) sophomore album.

So naturally, today, just mere hours away from Kanye West receiving the VMA for the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award, let’s take a behind the scenes, and personal, look back at Late Registration.

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I’ll start right away with some controversy. I guess it’s only fitting since controversy soon followed Kanye 10 years ago.

For me, Late Registration is my favorite Kanye album. More than popular choices like College Dropout and My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. (But really, can you really go wrong making a case for any Kanye album?)

What gives Late Registration the slightest of edges to me is what I think should be a determining factor for you: the sentimental value within your life that can continue to be measured over time.

You see, August 30, 2005 was the start of my senior year of high school. As it turned out, Late Registration dropped at the start of one of my most formative years and became the overbearing soundtrack of the end of summer, all of fall, parts of winter, and again in the spring around commencement.

High school senior privileges also allowed us to drive and park at school — a privilege in itself. So no doubt that first, second week of school I was blaring Late Registration at high volume with the windows down. If I got to school quick, it was “Touch The Sky” as I took the long route alongside the sidewalk to finally an open spot. If it took a little longer to get to school, “Gold Digger”. In traffic, it was “Drive Slow” (of course.) Before I picked up the homies, it was the 1,2 punch of the Wake Up Mr. West skit and “Heard Em Say” — the fitting anthem to start your day to and one that I had to run back today.

School’s out now, what do I fast forward to? Ye’s last verse on “Gone” obviously. Then the “Diamonds” OG version, with the sun setting sometimes, as I never fully tired of the rhymes and the sample since the summer.

There’s a song for every mood on here. The “Roses” x “Bring Me Down” x “Addiction” combo for nighttime crusing. “Hey Mama” for Mom. The world fully realized then, and it’s even easier to see now, how West’s versatility could be so impactful. With album #2, Kanye proving the first was no fluke quickly became a footnote. Kanye West, Superstar, was now universally recognized.

I made sure my high school knew it too, ha. I know I wasn’t the only one with Late Registration with the windows down, but I don’t care. Kanye’s mix of skill, sound, sophistication, and style made me feel like the coolest kid in the school.

Cheers to 10 years!

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You also clicked for some videos, didn’t ya? Well, thanks to an aggregate gathering from Team Kanye Daily, I relived a few gems that you might also be seeing for the first time.

First and foremost, the full episode of “Kanye West Makes an Album” on MTV2 that chronicled Mr. West and his complete cast of collaborators in the studio. Fascinating re-watch today for too many reasons to list.

Following suit, a look back at the Making Of and actual concert brilliantly dabbed Late Orchestration. This live album gave me new life and most notably, “Touch The Sky” featuring Lupe became my coming back to Chicago anthem that I would put on repeat whenever I got back home for college break. I could write another post on this alone but I’ll save that for another reflective moment.

Below that: a dope Late Registration samples infographic and the handful of music videos to enjoy before Kanye at the VMAs tonight!