The Annotated ‘jeen-yuhs’: The Stories Behind Part 2 of Netflix’s Kanye Doc


The College Dropout Cover Shoot and Finishing Sessions. Dear kids: Albums used to come with something called booklets. The College Dropout had a great booklet, with yearbook photos of all the guests and most of the shots you see being taken in the doc. According to Plain Pat, the iconic bear mascot (which was also used on Late Registration) was not planned, it just happened to be at the school where the cover was shot. The bear costume also kept Kanye’s face on the cover. Kanye’s face has never appeared on any of his album covers. 

Later, we see the “Finishing Sessions” for The College Dropout. Although Kanye would complete the mastering and release the album on February 10, 2004 with a brown cover, he remastered the album several times and eventually released a version with a white background. Kanye tinkering with an already released project was a sign of things to come on songs like “Stronger,” “Love Lockdown,” and most notoriously the Life of Pablo album. 

We also see the first cracks in Kanye’s relationship with Coodie over the “Jesus Walks” video. Kanye’s logic that an epic song like “Jesus Walks” needs an epic video courtesy of Hype Williams made sense. Hype was already an absolute legend at this point, having done videos like Missy Elliott’s “The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly),” The Notorious B.I.G.’s “Mo Money Mo Problems,” and Jay-Z’s “Big Pimpin’.” Even though Kanye didn’t end up using Hype for “Jesus Walks” —Michael Haussman and Chris Milk both directed clips—Kanye wasn’t happy, as Coodie predicted. Ultimately, Coodie and Chike shot the third version of the “Jesus Walks” video. Nevertheless, Hype would go on to make videos for Kanye songs like “Stronger,” “Can’t Tell Me Nothing,” and “Gold Digger.” 

Following the scenes of Kanye falling out with Dug Infinite in part one, this is the second time we see Kanye falling out with an associate as his fame grows. It’s hard not to feel for Coodie, who also took issue when Kanye went on Rap City and claimed he came up with the concept for the “Through The Wire” video by himself. 

New Year’s Eve Party. It’s only for a brief second, but it looks like Kanye is spotted here talking with fashion designer Alexis Phifer. It’s unclear what the extent of their relationship was at that time, but Kanye and Phifer reportedly dated on and off between 2002 and 2008. They were even engaged at one point, but their relationship fell apart soon after the death of Kanye’s mother in 2007. Many songs on 808s are said to be inspired by Phifer. 

Getting Interviewed With Diddy. Part two is mostly focused on College Dropout, but we get to see a few glimpses of Late Registration here as Kanye works on “Gold Digger” (a song originally meant for Ludacris’ artist Shawnna) and “Crack Music.” Meanwhile, Diddy is working on the Press Play cut “Everything I Love.” Kanye seems more excited to be hanging with Diddy than he does at any other part of the doc. It’s important to remember that Kanye was always more inspired to be like Puff than, say, Q-Tip. That pop sensibility starts to come across in the coming years. 

The Grammy Speech for The College Dropout We finally get to one of the best moments of Kanye’s career; his Grammy speech after winning Best Rap Album for The College Dropout. When Kanye talks about people wondering if he would do something crazy if he lost, it feels like a foreshadowing of subsequent outbursts like interrupting Taylor Swift at the VMAs and declaring that “George Bush doesn’t care about Black people” during a Hurricane Katrina telecast. 

But at this point, Kanye seems to be referencing the 2004 American Music Awards, when Gretchen Wilson won Best New Artist and he stormed out in protest. He later alluded to the incident on “Diamonds From Sierra Leone,” rapping, “I was sick about awards, couldn’t nobody cure me/Only playa that got robbed but kept all his jewelry/Alicia Keys tried to talk some sense in him/Thirty minutes later seein’ there’s no convincin’ him.” Just another example of how Kanye was always Kanye.





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