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School Spirit (song)

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"School Spirit"
Song by Kanye West
from the album The College Dropout
ReleasedFebruary 10, 2004
Recorded2003
StudioSony Music Studios
(New York, New York)
Larrabee Sound North
(Los Angeles, California)
GenreHip hop
Length3:07
Label
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)West

"School Spirit" is a song by American hip-hop artist Kanye West, which is from his debut studio album The College Dropout (2004). In West's T-Pain assisted single "Good Life", from his third studio album, Graduation (2007), Pain quotes the "School Spirit" lyrics: "I'mma get on this TV momma, I'mma/I'mma put shit down".[1] Despite these lines being quoted by the featured artist, West shows that he hasn't changed since the early days of his career by mouthing them in the music video.[2]

Composition and lyrics[edit | edit source]

Throughout the track, 1970 song "Spirit in the Dark" by Aretha Franklin is sampled.[3] As well as this, it flips a short sample from 1995 song "Like This and Like That" by Monica featuring Mr. Malik.[4]

The lyrics: "I'mma get on this TV, mama/I'mma, I'mma put s**t down/I'mma make sure these light-skinned ni**as/Never, ever, never come back in style/Told 'em I finished school, then I started my own business/They said, "Oh you graduated?" Nah, I decided I was finished/Chasing y'all dreams and what you got planned/Now I spit it so hot, you got tanned" are quoted from West's very own song "Gossip Files" but not exactly, since they're changed slightly.[5]

Censorship[edit | edit source]

The entirety of "School Spirit" is censored, which was done because Aretha Franklin wouldn't allow the rapper to sample her work without censorship being promised.[6] It was revealed by Plain Pat that there was around three other versions of the song, but West hated those alternative versions and Pat said in reference to the Franklin sample: "That song would have been so weak if we didn’t get that sample cleared.".[7] However, in 2011, an uncensored version of the track was distributed online.[8]

Critical reception[edit | edit source]

HipHopDX wrote of the track that it: 'is a classic soulful offering that doubles as a lesson in style by Kanye'.[9] Pitchfork described "School Spirit" and similar songs on the album as engaging 'the anti-education themes of College Dropout's songs and skits'.[10]

Live performances[edit | edit source]

In 2004, when performing live in Amsterdam, West rapped the song totally uncensored.[11]

Skit 1[edit | edit source]

"School Spirit (Skit 1)"
Song by Kanye West
from the album The College Dropout
ReleasedFebruary 10, 2004
Recorded2003
StudioLarrabee Sound North
(Los Angeles, California)
Length1:18
Label
Songwriter(s)Kanye West
Producer(s)West

A skit comes straight before "School Spirit" on The College Dropout, which includes no actual vocals from West himself, with all of them being contributed by comedian DeRay Davis.[7]

Critical reception[edit | edit source]

Billboard described "School Spirit (Skit 1)" as being 'a hilarious skit that pokes fun at the post-college experience'.[12]

Skit 2[edit | edit source]

"Skit 2"
Song by Kanye West
from the album The College Dropout
ReleasedFebruary 10, 2004
Recorded2003
StudioLarrabee Sound North
(Los Angeles, California)
Length0:43
Label
Songwriter(s)West
Producer(s)West

A second skit comes straight after the song as well, with the vocals for it being contributed by Davis too.[7]

Critical reception[edit | edit source]

Billboard had praise for the second skit as well as the first, describing it in comparison to the first as: 'More hilarity from DeRay Davis, who takes shots at the ridiculousness of higher education.'.[12]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "Kanye West feat. T-Pain's 'Good Life' sample of Kanye West's 'School Spirit'". WhoSampled. Retrieved July 29, 2018.
  2. "Kanye West - Good Life ft. T-Pain". YouTube. Retrieved July 29, 2018.
  3. "Kanye West's 'School Spirit' sample of Aretha Franklin's 'Spirit in the Dark'". WhoSampled. Retrieved July 29, 2018.
  4. "Kanye West's 'School Spirit' sample of Monica feat. Mr. Malik's 'Like This and Like That'". WhoSampled. Retrieved July 29, 2018.
  5. "Kanye West - Gossip Files Lyrics". Genius Lyrics. Retrieved July 29, 2018.
  6. "When Rap Lyrics Get Censored, Even on the Explicit Version". Complex. Retrieved September 13, 2018.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 "The Making of Kanye West's "The College Dropout"". Complex. Retrieved September 13, 2018.
  8. "Kanye West – School Spirit (Uncensored Version)". Fake Shore Drive®. Retrieved July 29, 2018.
  9. "Kanye West - College Dropout". HipHopDX. Retrieved July 30, 2018.
  10. "Kanye West: The College Dropout Album Review". Pitchfork. Retrieved July 29, 2018.
  11. "Kanye West Live in Amsterdam 7/8". YouTube. Retrieved July 29, 2018.
  12. 12.0 12.1 "Kanye West's 'The College Dropout' at 10: Classic Track-by-Track Review". Billboard. Retrieved July 30, 2018.

External links[edit | edit source]


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