Kanye West’s debut album The College Dropout was a hip-hop classic, marking a shift in hip-hop music and birthing an icon. Now, the bear costume associated with the album is up for grabs to anybody willing to pay $1 million for the piece of hip-hop history.
The album cover features Kanye West wearing a bear costume while sitting solemnly on school bleachers, which would go on to be synonymous with the rapper. The bear appeared in various forms throughout the pre-808s & Heartbreak chapter of West’s career.
West wanted to be on the cover of his debut album but didn’t want his face to appear, so he used a bear head of the school’s mascot they were shooting at.
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Andrew Barber of the Fake Shore Drive podcast sat down with Eric Arginsky, who came into possession of the bear. Arginsky revealed that the hip-hop artifact sat in the closet of his mother’s home for nearly 17 years.
Arginsky revealed, however, that this isn’t the actual costume seen on the cover of The College Dropout. Arginsky said that from what he knows, West’s team wasn’t able to successfully purchase that specific costume because the school declined the deal.
“I think they tried to buy or purchase that from the high school,” he said. “They were turned down. … Obviously, it was going to be the basis for everything going forward so they went out and bought this suit which was then what they used on the DVD cover and for future promotions.”
After the album’s release in 2004, Arginsky was in contact with West about a line of plush teddy bears. While the bear line didn’t come to fruition, Arginsky did come in possession of The College Dropout bear amid the back-and-forth talks, reports HipHopDX.
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Even though it isn’t the original, the suit is still widely regarded as a valuable piece of hip-hop memorabilia. Arginsky reasons that this alone justifies $1 million, but he hopes it’s someone from West’s team.
“My mom wants it out of her house soon,” he said. “I love business and opportunity so the best thing that could ever happen is someone from Ye’s camp sees this video and reaches out to you to bring this opportunity back and then you and I are producing bears tomorrow. That’s what I’m really hoping for. I know that the percentages are very slim on that one. But yeah, I would say at this point I’m really open to anything.”
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