How Did Kanye West Create The Cover Design For His Album ‘The College Dropout’?

The origin story of Ye's 'The College Dropout' design cover.
The origin story of Ye's 'The College Dropout' design cover.

Kanye West is not the same anymore! The recent erratic behavior tainted the persona that the people and industry praised him for. The image, credibility, and fortune were at stake when West went on a hate spree. It all started with his fashion statement at the Paris Fashion Week 2022. At the event, he introduced shirts printed with ‘White Lives Matter’. This attracted heavy flak from the industry and the internet. He continued his hate spree with anti-Semitism till his complete downfall.

The year 2016 formed the Ye that we see today. It all started with the TMZ interview and his affiliation with the Republican Party. But, the Kanye people revered and the industry loved was an ambitious and brilliant producer who came out with an all-out hit debut album ‘The College Dropout’. It was the year 2004 when the scene was inundated with protest poetry and gangsta rap. Ye mediated between them and gave us a brilliantly produced raw album. The most famous aspect attached to it was the bear logo and the mascot which became hype man for Ye. But, how did the bear cover come about?

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Kanye West Wanted To Don The Bear Suit Himself

Kanye West during the shoot of 'The College Dropout' album cover
Kanye West during the shoot of ‘The College Dropout’ album cover

When the album ‘The College Dropout’ dropped in 2004, it became an instant hit among critics and fans. Pitchfork rated it 8.2/10. The album debuted at No.2 on the Billboard 200. There were three singles from the album that topped the Top 20 charts.

It was a raw piece where Ye displayed his integrity in the craft. Apart from the album, the bear became an important part of the success of the album.

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Danny Clinch and Eric Duvauchelle were the masterminds who created the ubiquitous teddy bear. Clinch shot the photographs of the bear sitting on the bleachers. This inspired the graphic designer for Jay-Z’s Roc-A-Fella, Eric. During an interview, the graphic designer explained his interpretation of the bear.

He said, “I quickly gravitated towards him sitting alone on the bleachers in the mascot suit. It was interesting to me as The Dropout Bear is meant to be the most popular representation of a school, yet on the covert shows Kanye in the mascot suit/head, all alone sitting on bleachers.”

On the cover, though it is Kanye West, he has covered his face. The sophomore album of the artist was the defiance of the accepted ways in the rap game, and it was one of the moves to make it one. Kanye’s decision surprised the photographer, Danny Clinch.

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David said, “I was surprised as anyone that he covered his face for the album cover, but at this point, knowing his history of breaking the rules, it doesn’t surprise me at all.” The cover is not the rugged prototype of every rap album that was getting produced at that time. Along with the bear, it had gold outlines with artistic 15th-16th century designs defying the stereotypes related to rap.

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The Album’s Moniker And Logo Were Involved In A Lawsuit

The 'College Dropout' burgers lawsuit is dismissed
The ‘College Dropout’ burgers lawsuit is dismissed

On top of the already existing controversies, Kanye West decided to sue a restaurant in Melbourne, Australia owned by Mark Elkhouri. He used the name of Ye’s debut album to name his Burgers restaurant. Mark considered Kanye his idol until the lawsuit happened. He sued the restaurant owner for “misleading and deceptive” behavior. The rapper also sent a notice to not utilize the bear logo.

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However, the lawsuit now stands dismissed. It is because, despite multiple notifications, Kanye and his lawyers did not respond. Mark’s lawyer pleaded to dismiss the case and compensate him with money. Justice Shaun McElwaine at the Australian Federal Court said, “One would have thought if he was seeking to preserve his claims and prosecute this proceeding he might have thought it necessary to appoint a lawyer to appear before me today. He has not done so.”

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