The second single from Kanye West's 2004 debut The College Dropout proved to all the doubters that he was a formidable rapper. "It wasn't until I hung out with Dead Prez and understood how to make, you know, raps with a message sound cool that I was able to just write 'All Falls Down' in 15 minutes," West recently told the New York Times. "'All Falls Down' is the same [stuff as the material on Watch the Throne]. I mean, I am my father's son. I'm my mother's child. That's how I was raised. I am in the lineage of Gil Scott-Heron, great activist-type artists. But I'm also in the lineage of a Miles Davis — you know, that liked nice things also."
Like many of his later songs, "All Falls Down" (which features vocals by Syleena Johnson) reflects Kanye's conflicted feelings regarding wealth and success. "Man I promise/I'm so self conscious," he raps. "That's why you always see me with at least one of my watches/Rollies and Pashas done drove me crazy/I can't even pronounce nothing, pass that Versace!"