In honor of Black History Month, each day here at The Source we’ll be chronicling many of the best moments pertaining to Hip Hop that occurred during the meaningful month of February – celebrating the birthdays of now-legendary MCs; highlighting the most impactful album and single releases; even reminiscing on the most obscure, yet culturally-significant footnotes in the genre’s three-decade-spanning history.

Today’s passage takes us on a journey back to February 10, 2004, when Kanye West – known predominately as only a producer up until this point – released his debut album, The College Dropout. Certified triple platinum in the United States alone, it’s a defiantly-inspirational guide to bypassing the standards set forth by society in favor of living life on one’s own terms that gave us motivational hits like “Jesus Walks,” “Through the Wire” and “All Falls Down.”

12 years, 21 Grammys and over 30 Billboard Hot 100 chart placements as a lead artist later, as we approach tomorrow’s release of Yeezy’s seventh solo album, T.L.O.P. (acronym meaning yet to be revealed), one can only wonder where Kanye West – and the world in general, for that matter – would be if he had never locked himself in a room doing five beats a day for three summers.

In 2014, Kanye took to Twitter to reflect on the LP’s 10-year anniversary. “Ten years ago today we finally released what had been my life’s work up to that point: The College Dropout. I say ‘finally’ because it was a long road, a constant struggle, and a true labor of love to not only convince my peers and the public that I could be an artist, but to actually get that art out for the world to hear,” he acknowledged before proceeding to show gratitude to those who’ve had his back.

“I am extremely grateful to each and every person along that road who helped, lent an ear, lent their voice, gave of their heart to that project, and to all the projects that followed, and are to come. I am honored and humbled by my fans, for the unwavering support and love over the past ten years. I wake up every day trying to give something back to you that you can rock to and be proud of. Ten years later I am still the same kid from Chicago, still dreaming out loud, still banging on the door. The doors may be heavier, but I promise you WE WILL BREAK THEM.”