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Kanye West has expressed humility and gratitude after his seminal debut College Dropout was named Album of the Decade by Entertainment Weekly.

Released in 2004, College Dropout was an immediate success, placing #2 on Billboard’s Top 200 album chart and winning the Grammy for Best Rap Album.

Looking back, Kanye explained that he realized his vision would cause a mainstream shift away from the gangsta rap sound popularized by 50 Cent in the early 2000s.

 “Wow, this is really flattering. I’ve had some ups and downs this year, we’ll actually this decade. Just seeing this cover takes me back to that time of my life,” Kanye reflected. “I remember how much pain and love went into this album. No one saw it coming. This project wasn’t about me, it was about a time in people’s lives where people force opinions on you and you have to make choices for yourself. We loved 50 Cent but we wanted to be the yang. We wanted to wear pink polos and rap about being hurt on this album everyday.”

Entertainment Weekly’s Album of Decade honor places the project above several other Hip-Hop albums on the list, including Outkast’s The Love Below/Speakerboxxx, 50 Cent’s Get Rich or Die Tryin’, and Jay-Z’s Blueprint.

“I was most inspired by The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill and I listened to that album everyday while working on my debut,” West revealed. “Thank you for the acknowledgement and for putting Blueprint on the list also. I loved The Love Below and Get Rich or Die Tryin’, also. They equally deserved the number one spot in my eyes but there can only be one number one!”

Kanye West’s award can be viewed in the upcoming issue of Entertainment Weekly.

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