Kanye West
American recording artist, record producer
Kanye West
Kanye Omari West is an American musician, film director and fashion designer. West first rose to fame as a producer for Roc-A-Fella Records, where he eventually achieved recognition for his work on Jay-Z's album The Blueprint, as well as hit singles for musical artists including Alicia Keys, Ludacris, and Janet Jackson. His style of production originally used pitched-up vocal samples from soul songs incorporated with his own drums and instruments.
Biography
Kanye West's personal information overview.
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News
News abour Kanye West from around the web
Sia Calls Out Kanye West For Using Fur In The Yeezy Season 5 Show
Huffington Post - 2 days
Many people considered his Yeezy Season 5 collection to be Kanye West’s “best yet,” but one fellow star was less than impressed.  Sia asked West if he would “consider going fur free” in a tweet following his show at New York Fashion Week Wednesday. West used fur in two looks in the show, sending it down the runway alongside camouflage, denim and shearling pieces.  The “Cheap Thrills” singer shared a video with West titled “Under the Fur Coats: Rabbits’ Screams of Death,” writing that “this is the reality of fur for fashion ― it’s so sad.” Dear @kanyewest would you consider going fur free? This is the reality of fur for fashion - it's so sad https://t.co/fdUhN78nlg — sia (@Sia) February 15, 2017 Sia’s tweet to West has some 2,600 retweets and garnered a response from PETA: “Agreed, the reality of the fur industry is so heartbreaking @kanyewest Please go #FurFree.” @Sia Agreed, the reality of the fur industry is so heartbreaking @kanyewest Pleas ...
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Kanye West unveils new Yeezy line
Reuters.com - 3 days
The rapper and designer reveals his fifth collection at New York Fashion Week: The Shows. Rough Cut (no reporter narration)
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Reuters.com article
Recovering from memory loss, Kanye West focuses on fashion comeback
Yahoo News - 5 days
By Melissa Fares NEW YORK (Reuters) - Two months after being hospitalized for exhaustion and still recovering from memory loss, Kanye West is expected to make his first major public appearance at New York Fashion Week, his producer revealed. West, who was hospitalized after abruptly canceling the remainder of his "Pablo" tour following a week of curtailed concerts and rants about politics, is expected to be at Wednesday's New York presentation of his latest Yeezy collection of high-end athleisure wear for sports brand Adidas. Music producer Malik Yusef said he has visited with the rapper recently and that West was focused on his recovery and spending time with his two young children with wife, reality star Kim Kardashian.
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Yahoo News article
Here's A GIF Of Riz Ahmed's Swimsuit Rap On 'Girls'
Huffington Post - 6 days
Riz Ahmed, a fresh-faced candidate to become the internet’s newest boyfriend, rapped in a bathing suit on Sunday’s season premiere of “Girls.” Here’s a GIF. You’re welcome. On the heels of his Golden Globe-nominated role in the bleak miniseries “The Night Of” and his turn as a Rebel Alliance fighter in the battle-torn “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” it appears Ahmed is finally getting to have some fun. On “Girls,” he plays Paul-Louis, a Long Island surfing instructor who takes a liking to Hannah while she attempts to write an article about how wealthy women are co-opting the waves just like they co-opted yoga. Hannah being Hannah, she has no patience for surfing lessons or sand ― until Paul-Louis shows her some special attention. (Beware spoilers below!)  Out dancing one night, after Hannah spills some sort of red cocktail all over her bosom and grinds on the floor, Paul-Louis steps up to the DJ booth for a little surprise: “Slow Jamz.” Ahmed displays his well-documente ...
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This Singer's 'Shocking' XXX Music Video Is A 'Royal F**K You' To The Trump Era
Huffington Post - 9 days
I’ll admit I was a bit shocked the first time I saw Brendan Maclean’s video for the song “House Of Air.”  The clip, released Jan. 30 and inspired by Hal Fischer’s 1977 essay “Gay Semiotics,” features graphic scenes of water sports, fisting and even coprophilia (look it up), but it wasn’t the sex that surprised me — it was seeing it showcased in a music video on YouTube. Granted, it wasn’t long before the clip got yanked for violating the video site’s community guidelines. But it managed to rack up over 700,000 views in 10 days before it was pulled down. In many ways, that’s beside the point. What matters is that for a period of time, however brief, Maclean’s explicit celebration of gay sex and sexuality existed right alongside videos by Katy Perry, Kanye West, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and every other offering deemed innocuous enough to live on YouTube. Though the video is no longer available for viewing on YouTube, the 29-year-old Australian singer isn’t exactly complaini ...
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Is there any legal reason Melania Trump can't profit from being first lady? - Washington Post
Google News - 11 days
Washington Post Is there any legal reason Melania Trump can't profit from being first lady? Washington Post Let's say Kanye West actually ran for president in 2020, as he has halfheartedly hinted he may on Twitter — and that he won. The first lady of the United States would then be Kim Kardashian, a celebrity who rose to that status through sheer force of ... Melania Trump's 'Daily Mail' lawsuit: A FLOTUS first?USA TODAY Melania Trump denies her lawsuit's claim that she intended to use the White House “launch a brand”Salon Melania Trump Escort Claims Cost Her Millions, Lawsuit ClaimsSFGate Us Weekly -Washington Post -Daily Mail -New York State Unified Court System all 272 news articles »
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Kanye West deletes all tweets defending Trump meeting
CNN - 12 days
Kanye West deleted all of his tweets defending his meeting with President Donald Trump sometime between Sunday night and Monday morning.
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CNN article
Kanye West appears to dump Trump with disappearing tweets
Reuters.com - 13 days
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Kanye West, one of Donald Trump's biggest celebrity supporters, appeared to have deleted his tweets about his meeting last year with the then U.S. president-elect in which the two discussed multicultural issues.
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Reuters.com article
Beyond The Dab: 8 Reasons Why Migos Has Become Hip-Hop's Trendsetters
Huffington Post - 16 days
Rap group Migos has been soaring to heightened levels of success month after month, banger after banger. The Atlanta-based group, which consists of rappers Quavo, Takeoff and Offset, seem pretty much untouchable at this point. And while many trap music aficionados have long seen the group’s star potential since the release of their 2013 smash “Versace,” their latest hit song “Bad and Boujee” which is featured on their recently released album “Culture,” has only helped to cement their status as superstars. In light of all their success, the group took a trip to New York University last Saturday for a sold out “culture class” led by The Fader’s Naomi Zeichner. The discussion, which was primarily attended by NYU students, touched on topics ranging from their early days as emerging rappers to the crucial role women play in the popularity of their music.  Here are eight takeaways from the event that partly explain how the three Atlanta natives have catapulted to success and becom ...
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Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Kanye West
    THIRTIES
  • 2016
    Age 38
    In 2016, The Guardian compared West to the late David Bowie within the "modern mainstream", arguing that "there is nobody else who can sell as many records as West does while remaining so resolutely experimental and capable of stirring things up culturally and politically."
    More Details Hide Details Rolling Stone credited West with transforming hip hop's mainstream, "establishing a style of introspective yet glossy rap ", and called him "as interesting and complicated a pop star as the 2000s produced—a rapper who mastered, upped and moved beyond the hip-hop game, a producer who created a signature sound and then abandoned it to his imitators, a flashy, free-spending sybarite with insightful things to say about college, culture and economics, an egomaniac with more than enough artistic firepower to back it up." West's middle-class background, flamboyant fashion sense and outspokenness have set him apart from other rappers. Early in his career, he was among the first rappers to publicly criticize the preponderance of homophobia in hip hop. The sales competition between rapper 50 Cent's Curtis and West's Graduation altered the direction of hip hop and helped pave the way for new rappers who did not follow the hardcore-gangster mold. Rosie Swash of The Guardian viewed the sales competition as a historical moment in hip-hop, because it "highlighted the diverging facets of hip-hop in the last decade; the former was gangsta rap for the noughties, while West was the thinking man's alternative." West's 2008 album 808s & Heartbreak polarized both listeners and critics upon its release, but was commercially successful and impacted hip hop and pop stylistically, as it laid the groundwork for a new wave of artists who generally eschewed typical rap braggadocio for intimate subject matter and introspection, including Frank Ocean, The Weeknd, Drake, Future, Kid Cudi, Childish Gambino, Lil Durk, Chief Keef, and Soulja Boy.
    West's 2016 single "Famous" was met with scrutiny for a controversial lyrical reference to Taylor Swift: "I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex/Why?/I made that bitch famous!" After West claimed to have obtained Swift's approval over the criticized lyric, Swift denied the claim, criticizing West and denouncing the lyric as "misogynistic" in a statement.
    More Details Hide Details Several months later, West's wife Kim Kardashian released a video allegedly capturing a conversation between Swift and West in which Swift appears to approve the lyric, seemingly validating West's claim.
    On June 6, 2016, West announced the Yeezy Season 2 Zine and the Adidas Yeezy Boost 750 will be released to retailers on June 11.
    More Details Hide Details They are high-top shoes with a glow in the dark sole. In an interview with Vogue, he stated that there will be Yeezy stores with the first located in California. West, alongside his mother, founded the "Kanye West Foundation" in Chicago in 2003, tasked with a mission to battle dropout and illiteracy rates, while partnering with community organizations to provide underprivileged youth access to music education. In 2007, the West and the Foundation partnered with Strong American Schools as part of their "Ed in '08" campaign. As spokesman for the campaign, West appeared in a series of PSAs for the organization, and hosted an inaugural benefit concert in August of that year. In 2008, following the death of West's mother, the foundation was rechristened "The Dr. Donda West Foundation." The foundation ceased operations in 2011. Kanye West and friend, Rhymefest, also founded "Donda's House, Inc". Got Bars is the Donda's House signature music/lyric composition and performance program. Participants are selected through an application and audition process. Got Bars is a free music writing program with the goal of helping at-risk Chicago youth. It is aimed at students between 15 and 24, and includes lessons on how to write and record music. Their curriculum is based on the teaching philosophy and pedagogy of Dr. Donda West with a focus on collaborative and experiential learning.
    In June 2016, Adidas announced a new long-term contract with Kanye West which sees the Yeezy line extend to a number of stores and enter sports performance products.
    More Details Hide Details The Yeezys will be seen in basketball, football, soccer, and more.
    As of February 2, 2016, West and Khalifa had reconciled.
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    In February 2016, West again became embroiled in controversy when he posted a tweet seemingly asserting Bill Cosby's innocence in the wake of over 50 women making allegations of sexual assault directed at Cosby.
    More Details Hide Details That same month, West became embroiled in a short-lived social media altercation with rapper Wiz Khalifa on Twitter that eventually involved their mutual ex-partner, Amber Rose, who protested to West's mention of her and Khalifa's child. The feud involved allegations by Rose concerning her sexual relationship with West, and received significant media attention.
    In August 2016, West released a poem about the American fast food restaurant, McDonald's.
    More Details Hide Details Although there was a discrepancy between him and Kid Cudi, a track surfaced on the internet where they both address haters. West's musical career has been defined by frequent stylistic shifts, and has seen him develop and explore a variety of different musical approaches. When asked about his early musical inspirations, he named artists such as A Tribe Called Quest, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, George Michael, LL Cool J, Phil Collins and Madonna. Other music figures West has invoked as inspirations include Puff Daddy, David Bowie, Miles Davis and Gil-Scott Heron. West was formatively mentored by Chicago producer No I.D., who introduced him to hip hop production in the early 1990s, allowing a teenage West to sit in on recording sessions. Early in his career, West pioneered a style of production dubbed "chipmunk soul" which utilized pitched-up vocal samples, usually from soul and R&B songs, along with his own drums and instrumentation. His first major release featuring his trademark soulful vocal sampling style was "This Can't Be Life", a track from Jay-Z's The Dynasty: Roc La Familia. West has noted Wu-Tang Clan producer RZA as an influence on his style.
    On June 3, 2016, West premiered the first single "Champions" off the GOOD Music album Cruel Winter, which was six minutes and featured Travis Scott, Big Sean, Gucci Mane, Desiigner, Yo Gotti, Quavo, and 2 Chainz.
    More Details Hide Details He told the radio host, Big Boy, that the beat had been in works for a year and a half.
    On February 24, 2016, West stated on Twitter that he was planning to release another album in the summer of 2016, tentatively called Turbo Grafx 16 in reference to the 1980s video game console of the same name.
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    He released the album exclusively on Tidal on 14 February 2016 following a performance on SNL.
    More Details Hide Details Following its official streaming release, West continued to tinker with mixes of several tracks, describing the work as "a living breathing changing creative expression" and proclaiming the end of the album as a dominant release form. Although a statement by West around Life of Pablo's initial release indicated that the album would be a permanent exclusive to Tidal, the album was released through several other competing services starting in April.
    On January 26, 2016, West revealed he had renamed the album from SWISH to Waves, and also announced the premier of his Yeezy Season 3 clothing line at Madison Square Garden.
    More Details Hide Details In the weeks leading up to the album's release, West became embroiled in several Twitter controversies and released several changing iterations of the tracklist for the new album. Several days ahead of its release, West again changed the title, this time to The Life of Pablo. On February 11, West premiered the album at Madison Square Garden as part of the presentation of his Yeezy Season 3 clothing line. Following the preview, West announced that he would be modifying the track list once more before its release to the public, and further delayed its release to finalize the recording of the track "Waves" at the behest of co-writer Chance the Rapper.
    West announced in January 2016 that SWISH would be released on February 11, and that month released new songs "Real Friends" and a snippet of "No More Parties in L.A." with Kendrick Lamar.
    More Details Hide Details This also revived the GOOD Fridays initiative in which Kanye releases new singles every Friday.
    His seventh album, The Life of Pablo, was released in 2016.
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  • 2015
    Age 37
    In December 2015, West released a song titled "Facts".
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    In November 2015, West appointed Pusha T the new president of GOOD Music.
    More Details Hide Details In August 2008, West revealed plans to open 10 Fatburger restaurants in the Chicago area; the first was set to open in September 2008 in Orland Park. The second followed in January 2009, while a third location is yet to be revealed, although the process is being finalized. His company, KW Foods LLC, bought the rights to the chain in Chicago. Ultimately, in 2009, only two locations actually opened. In February 2011, West shut down the Fatburger located in Orland Park. Later that year, the remaining Beverly location also was shuttered. On January 5, 2012, West announced his establishment of the creative content company DONDA, named after his late mother Donda West. In his announcement, West proclaimed that the company would "pick up where Steve Jobs left off"; DONDA would operate as "a design company which will galvanize amazing thinkers in a creative space to bounce their dreams and ideas" with the "goal to make products and experiences that people want and can afford." West is notoriously secretive about the company's operations, maintaining neither an official website nor a social media presence. In stating DONDA's creative philosophy, West articulated the need to "put creatives in a room together with like minds" in order to "simplify and aesthetically improve everything we see, taste, touch, and feel." Contemporary critics have noted the consistent minimalistic aesthetic exhibited throughout DONDA creative projects.
    On February 26, 2015, he publicly apologized to Beck on Twitter.
    More Details Hide Details On August 30, 2015, West was presented with the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award at the MTV Video Music Awards. In his acceptance speech, he stated, "Y'all might be thinking right now, 'I wonder did he smoke something before he came out here?' And the answer is: 'Yes, I rolled up a little something. I knocked the edge off.'" At the end of his speech, he announced, "I have decided in 2020 to run for president." Music fans have turned to Change.org around the globe to try and block West's participation at various events. The largest unsuccessful petition has been to the Glastonbury Festival 2015 with 133,000+ voters stating they would prefer a rock band to headline. On July 20, 2015, within five days of West's announcement as the headlining artist of the closing ceremonies of the 2015 Pan American Games, Change.org user XYZ collected over 50,000 signatures for West's removal as headliner, on the grounds that the headlining artist should be Canadian. In his Pan American Games Closing Ceremony performance, close to the end of his performance, West closed the show by tossing his faulty microphone in the air and walked off stage.
    On February 8, 2015, at the 57th Annual Grammy Awards, West walked on stage as Beck was accepting his award for Album of the Year and then walked off stage, leaving the audience to think he was joking.
    More Details Hide Details After the awards show, West stated in an interview that he was not joking and that "Beck needs to respect artistry, he should have given his award to Beyoncé".
    He would premiere the second iteration of his clothing line, Yeezy Season 2, in September 2015 at New York Fashion Week.
    More Details Hide Details Having initially announced a new album entitled So Help Me God slated for a 2014 release, in March 2015 West announced that the album would instead be tentatively called SWISH. Later that month, West was awarded an honorary doctorate by the School of the Art Institute of Chicago for his contributions to music, fashion, and popular culture, officially making him an honorary DFA. The next month, West headlined at the Glastonbury Festival in the UK, despite a petition signed by almost 135,000 people against his appearance. Toward the end of the set, West proclaimed himself: "the greatest living rock star on the planet." Media outlets, including social media sites such as Twitter, were divided on his performance. NME stated, "The decision to book West for the slot has proved controversial since its announcement, and the show itself appeared to polarise both Glastonbury goers and those who tuned in to watch on their TVs." The publication added that "he's letting his music speak for and prove itself." The Guardian said that "his set has a potent ferocity – but there are gaps and stutters, and he cuts a strangely lone figure in front of the vast crowd."
    West performed the song at the 2015 BRIT Awards with a number of US rappers and UK grime MC's including: Skepta, Wiley, Novelist, Fekky, Krept & Konan, Stormzy, Allan Kingdom, Theophilus London and Vic Mensa.
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    In March 2015, West released the single "All Day" featuring Theophilus London, Allan Kingdom and Paul McCartney.
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    In February 2015, West premiered his clothing collaboration with Adidas, entitled Yeezy Season 1, to generally positive reviews.
    More Details Hide Details This would include West's Yeezy Boost sneakers.
  • 2014
    Age 36
    West released a single, "Only One", featuring Paul McCartney, on December 31, 2014.
    More Details Hide Details "FourFiveSeconds", a single jointly produced with Rihanna and McCartney, was released in January 2015. West also appeared on the Saturday Night Live 40th Anniversary Special, where he premiered a new song entitled "Wolves", featuring Sia Furler and fellow Chicago rapper, Vic Mensa.
    In May 2014, West and Kardashian were married in a private ceremony in Florence, Italy, with a variety of artists and celebrities in attendance.
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    His 2014 marriage to television personality Kim Kardashian has also been subject to widespread media coverage.
    More Details Hide Details West is among the most acclaimed musicians of the 21st century, and is one of the best-selling artists of all time, having sold more than 32 million albums and 100 million digital downloads worldwide. He has won a total of 21 Grammy Awards, making him one of the most awarded artists of all time and the most Grammy-awarded artist to have debuted in the 21st century. Three of his albums have been included and ranked on Rolling Stone's 2012 update of the "500 Greatest Albums of All Time" list. He has also been included in a number of Forbes annual lists. Time named him one of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2005 and 2015.
  • 2013
    Age 35
    As of 2013, West has won a total of 21 Grammy Awards, making him one of the most awarded artists of all-time.
    More Details Hide Details About.com ranked Kanye West No. 8 on their "Top 50 Hip-Hop Producers" list. On May 16, 2008, Kanye West was crowned by MTV as the year's No. 1 "Hottest MC in the Game." On December 17, 2010, Kanye West was voted as the MTV Man of the Year by MTV. Billboard ranked Kanye West No. 3 on their list of Top 10 Producers of the Decade. West ties with Bob Dylan for having topped the annual Pazz & Jop critic poll the most number of times ever, with four number-one albums each. West has also been included twice in the Time 100 annual lists of the most influential people in the world as well as being listed in a number of Forbes annual lists. In its 2012 list of "500 Greatest Albums of All Time, Rolling Stone included three of West's albums—The College Dropout at number 298, Late Registration at number 118, and My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy at number 353.
    During a November 26, 2013 radio interview, West explained why he believed that President Obama had problems pushing policies in Washington: "Man, let me tell you something about George Bush and oil money and Obama and no money.
    More Details Hide Details People want to say Obama can't make these moves or he's not executing. That's because he ain't got those connections. Black people don't have the same level of connections as Jewish people We ain't Jewish. We don't got family that got money like that." In response to his comments, the Anti-Defamation League stated: "There it goes again, the age-old canard that Jews are all-powerful and control the levers of power in government." On December 21, 2013, West backed off of the original comment and told a Chicago radio station that "I thought I was giving a compliment, but if anything it came off more ignorant. I don't know how being told you have money is an insult."
    West and Kardashian became engaged in October 2013, and married on May 24, 2014 at Fort di Belvedere in Florence, Italy.
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    In September 2013, West was widely rebuked by human rights groups for performing in Kazakhstan at the wedding of authoritarian President Nursultan Nazarbayev's grandson.
    More Details Hide Details He traveled to Kazakhstan, which has one of the poorest human rights records in the world, as a personal guest of Nazarbayev. Other notable Western performers, including Sting, have previously cancelled performances in the country over human rights concerns. West was reportedly paid US$3 million for his performance. West had previously participated in cultural boycotts, joining Shakira and Rage Against The Machine in refusing to perform in Arizona after the 2010 implementation of stop and search laws directed against potential illegal aliens. Later in 2013, West launched a tirade on Twitter directed at talk show host Jimmy Kimmel after his ABC program Jimmy Kimmel Live! ran a sketch on September 25 involving two children re-enacting West's recent interview with Zane Lowe for BBC Radio 1 in which he calls himself the biggest rock star on the planet. Kimmel reveals the following night that West called him to demand an apology shortly before taping.
    In December 2013, Adidas announced the beginning of their official apparel collaboration with West, to be premiered the following year.
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    November 2013, West stated that he was beginning work on his next studio album, hoping to release it by mid-2014, with production by Rick Rubin and Q-Tip.
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    In October 2013, West and Kardashian announced their engagement to widespread media attention.
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    In June 2013, West and television personality Kim Kardashian announced the birth of their first child, North.
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    On September 6, 2013, Kanye West announced he would be headlining his first solo tour in five years, to support Yeezus, with fellow American rapper Kendrick Lamar accompanying him as supporting act.
    More Details Hide Details The tour was met with rave reviews from critics. Rolling Stone described it as "crazily entertaining, hugely ambitious, emotionally affecting (really!) and, most importantly, totally bonkers." Writing for Forbes, Zack O'Malley Greenburg praised West for "taking risks that few pop stars, if any, are willing to take in today's hyper-exposed world of pop," describing that the show as "overwrought and uncomfortable at times, but it excels at challenging norms and provoking thought in a way that just isn't common for mainstream musical acts of late."
    Yeezus, West's sixth album, was released June 18, 2013 to rave reviews from critics.
    More Details Hide Details It became the rapper's sixth consecutive number one debut, but also marked his lowest solo opening week sales. Def Jam issued "Black Skinhead" to radio in July 2013 as the album's lead single.
    Sessions for West's sixth solo effort begin to take shape in early 2013 in his own personal loft's living room at a Paris hotel.
    More Details Hide Details Determined to "undermine the commercial", he once again brought together close collaborators and attempted to incorporate Chicago drill, dancehall, acid house, and industrial music. Primarily inspired by architecture, West's perfectionist tendencies led him to contact producer Rick Rubin fifteen days shy of its due date to strip down the record's sound in favor of a more minimalist approach. Initial promotion of his sixth album included worldwide video projections of the album's music and live television performances.
  • 2012
    Age 34
    West began dating reality star and longtime friend Kim Kardashian in April 2012.
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    West also directed a film of the same name that premiered at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival in custom pyramid-shaped screening pavilion featuring seven screens.
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    In 2012, West released the compilation album Cruel Summer, a collection of tracks by artists from West's record label GOOD Music.
    More Details Hide Details Cruel Summer produced four singles, two of which charted within the top twenty of the Hot 100: "Mercy" and "Clique".
  • 2011
    Age 33
    Following a headlining set at Coachella 2011 that was described by The Hollywood Reporter as "one of greatest hip-hop sets of all time", West released the collaborative album Watch the Throne with Jay-Z.
    More Details Hide Details By employing a sales strategy that released the album digitally weeks before its physical counterpart, Watch the Throne became one of the few major label albums in the Internet age to avoid a leak. "Niggas in Paris" became the record's highest charting single, peaking at number five on the Billboard Hot 100.
  • 2010
    Age 32
    My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, West's fifth studio album, was released in November 2010 to rave reviews from critics, many of whom described it as his best work that solidified his comeback.
    More Details Hide Details In stark contrast to his previous effort, which featured a minimalist sound, Dark Fantasy adopts a maximalist philosophy and deals with themes of celebrity and excess. The record included the international hit "All of the Lights", and Billboard hits "Power", "Monster", and "Runaway", the latter of which accompanied a 35-minute film of the same name. During this time, West initiated the free music program GOOD Fridays through his website, offering a free download of previously unreleased songs each Friday, a portion of which were included on the album. This promotion ran from August 20 - December 17, 2010. Dark Fantasy went on to go platinum in the United States, but its omission as a contender for Album of the Year at the 54th Grammy Awards was viewed as a "snub" by several media outlets.
    However, on November 8, 2010, in an interview with a Minnesota radio station, he seemed to recant his past apologies by attempting to describe the act at the 2009 awards show as "selfless" and downgrade the perception of disrespect it created.
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    In September 2010, West wrote a series of apologetic tweets addressed to Swift including "Beyonce didn't need that.
    More Details Hide Details MTV didn't need that and Taylor and her family friends and fans definitely didn't want or need that" and concluding with "I'm sorry Taylor." He also revealed he had written a song for Swift and if she did not accept the song, he would perform it himself.
  • 2009
    Age 31
    Instead the case file was forwarded to the city attorney's office, which charged West with one count of misdemeanor vandalism, one count of grand theft and one count of battery and his manager with three counts of each on March 18, 2009.
    More Details Hide Details West's and Crowley's arraignment was delayed from an original date of April 14, 2009. West was arrested again on November 14, 2008 at the Hilton hotel near Gateshead after another scuffle involving a photographer outside the famous Tup Tup Palace nightclub in Newcastle upon Tyne. He was later released "with no further action", according to a police spokesperson. On July 19, 2013, West was leaving LAX as he was surrounded by dozens of paparazzi. West became increasingly agitated as a photographer, Daniel Ramos, continued to ask him why people were not allowed to speak in his presence. West then says, "I told you don't talk to me, right? You trying to get me in trouble so I steal off on you and have to pay you like $250,000 and shit." Then he allegedly charged the man and grabbed him and his camera. The incident captured by TMZ, took place for a few seconds before a female voice can be heard telling West to stop. West then released the man, and his camera, and drove away from the scene. Medics were later called to the scene on behalf of the photographer who was grabbed. It was reported West could be charged with felony attempted robbery behind the matter. However, the charges were reduced to misdemeanor criminal battery and attempted grand theft. In March 2014, West was sentenced to serve two years' probation for the misdemeanor battery conviction and required to attend 24 anger management sessions, perform 250 hours of community service and pay restitution to Ramos.
    West's controversial incident the following year at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards was arguably his biggest controversy, and led to widespread outrage throughout the music industry.
    More Details Hide Details During the ceremony, West crashed the stage and grabbed the microphone from winner Taylor Swift in order to proclaim that, instead, Beyoncé's video for "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)", nominated for the same award, was "one of the best videos of all time". He was subsequently withdrawn from the remainder of the show for his actions. MBDTF captures that essence in full. Following the highly publicized incident, West took a brief break from music and threw himself into fashion, only to hole up in Hawaii for the next few months writing and recording his next album. Importing his favorite producers and artists to work on and inspire his recording, West kept engineers behind the boards 24 hours a day and slept only in increments. Noah Callahan-Bever, a writer for Complex, was present during the sessions and described the "communal" atmosphere as thus: "With the right songs and the right album, he can overcome any and all controversy, and we are here to contribute, challenge, and inspire." A variety of artists contributed to the project, including close friends Jay-Z, Kid Cudi and Pusha T, as well as off-the-wall collaborations, such as with Justin Vernon of Bon Iver.
  • 2008
    Age 30
    On September 26, 2008, the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office said it would not file felony counts against West over the incident.
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    The final coroner's report January 10, 2008, concluded that Donda West died of "coronary artery disease and multiple post-operative factors due to or as a consequence of liposuction and mammoplasty".
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    The Los Angeles County coroner's office said in January 2008 that West had died of heart disease while suffering "multiple post-operative factors" after plastic surgery.
    More Details Hide Details She had undergone liposuction and breast reduction. Beverly Hills plastic surgeon Andre Aboolian had refused to do the surgery because West had a health condition that placed her at risk for a heart attack. Aboolian referred her to an internist to investigate her cardiac issue. She never met with the doctor recommended by Aboolian and had the procedures performed by a third doctor, Jan Adams. Adams sent condolences to Donda West's family but declined to publicly discuss the procedure, citing confidentiality. West's family, through celebrity attorney Ed McPherson, filed complaints with the Medical Board against Adams and Aboolian for violating patient confidentiality following her death. Adams had previously been under scrutiny by the medical board. He appeared on Larry King Live on November 20, 2007, but left before speaking. Two months later, he appeared again, with his attorney, stating he was there to "defend himself". He said that the recently released autopsy results "spoke for themselves".
    West subsequently dated model Amber Rose from 2008 until the summer of 2010.
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    Recorded mostly in Honolulu, Hawaii in three weeks, West announced his fourth album, 808s & Heartbreak, at the 2008 MTV Video Music Awards, where he performed its lead single, "Love Lockdown".
    More Details Hide Details Music audiences were taken aback by the uncharacteristic production style and the presence of Auto-Tune, which typified the pre-release response to the record. 808s & Heartbreak, which features extensive use of the eponymous Roland TR-808 drum machine and contains themes of love, loneliness, and heartache, was released by Island Def Jam to capitalize on Thanksgiving weekend in November 2008. Reviews were positive, though slightly more mixed than his previous efforts. Despite this, the record's singles demonstrated outstanding chart performances. Upon its release, the lead single "Love Lockdown" debuted at number three on the Billboard Hot 100 and became a "Hot Shot Debut", while follow-up single "Heartless" performed similarly and became his second consecutive "Hot Shot Debut" by debuting at number four on the Billboard Hot 100. While it was criticized prior to release, 808s & Heartbreak had a significant effect on hip-hop music, encouraging other rappers to take more creative risks with their productions.
    The events profoundly affected West, who set off for his 2008 Glow in the Dark Tour shortly thereafter.
    More Details Hide Details Purportedly because his emotions could not be conveyed through rapping, West decided to sing using the voice audio processor Auto-Tune, which would become a central part of his next effort. West had previously experimented with the technology on his debut album The College Dropout for the background vocals of "Jesus Walks" and "Never Let Me Down."
  • TWENTIES
  • 2007
    Age 29
    The funeral and burial for Donda West was held in Oklahoma City on November 20, 2007.
    More Details Hide Details West played his first concert following the funeral at The O2 in London on November 22. He dedicated a performance of "Hey Mama", as well as a cover of Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'", to his mother, and did so on all other dates of his Glow in the Dark tour. At a December 2008 press conference in New Zealand, West spoke about his mother's death for the first time. "It was like losing an arm and a leg and trying to walk through that", he told reporters. California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the "Donda West Law", legislation which makes it mandatory for patients to provide medical clearance for elective cosmetic surgery. In December 2006, Robert "Evel" Knievel sued West for trademark infringement in West's video for "Touch the Sky". Knievel took issue with a "sexually charged video" in which West takes on the persona of "Evel Kanyevel" and attempts flying a rocket over a canyon. The suit claimed infringement on Knievel's trademarked name and likeness. Knievel also claimed that the "vulgar and offensive" images depicted in the video damaged his reputation. The suit sought monetary damages and an injunction to stop distribution of the video. West's attorneys argued that the music video amounted to satire and therefore was covered under the First Amendment. Just days before his death in November 2007, Knievel amicably settled the suit after being paid a visit from West, saying, "I thought he was a wonderful guy and quite a gentleman."
    West's life took a different direction when his mother, Donda West, died of complications from cosmetic surgery involving abdominoplasty and breast reduction in November 2007.
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    Ben Detrick of XXL cited the outcome of the sales competition between 50 Cent's Curtis and West's Graduation as being responsible for altering the direction of hip-hop and paving the way for new rappers who didn't follow the hardcore-gangster mold, writing, "If there was ever a watershed moment to indicate hip-hop's changing direction, it may have come when 50 Cent competed with Kanye in 2007 to see whose album would claim superior sales."
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    Upon their September 2007 releases, Graduation outsold Curtis by a large margin, debuting at number one on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart and selling 957,000 copies in its first week.
    More Details Hide Details Graduation once again continued the string of critical and commercial successes by West, and the album's lead single, "Stronger", garnered the rapper his third number-one hit. "Stronger", which samples French house duo Daft Punk, has been accredited to not only encouraging other hip-hop artists to incorporate house and electronica elements into their music, but also for playing a part in the revival of disco and electro-infused music in the late 2000s.
  • 2006
    Age 28
    On November 7, 2006, West apologized for this outburst publicly during his performance as support act for U2 for their Vertigo concert in Brisbane.
    More Details Hide Details He later spoofed the incident on the 33rd season premiere of Saturday Night Live in September 2007. On September 9, 2007, West suggested that his race had something to do with his being overlooked for opening the 2007 MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs) in favor of Britney Spears; he claimed, "Maybe my skin's not right." West was performing at the event; that night, he lost all five awards that he was nominated for, including Best Male Artist and Video of the Year. After the show, he was visibly upset that he had lost at the VMAs two years in a row, stating that he would not come back to MTV ever again. He also appeared on several radio stations saying that when he made the song "Stronger" that it was his dream to open the VMAs with it. He has also stated that Spears has not had a hit in a long period of time and that MTV exploited her for ratings.
    After the 2006 Grammy nominations were released, West said he would "really have a problem" if he did not win the Album of the Year, saying, "I don't care what I do, I don't care how much I stunt – you can never take away from the amount of work I put into it.
    More Details Hide Details I don't want to hear all of that politically correct stuff." On November 2, 2006, when his "Touch the Sky" failed to win Best Video at the MTV Europe Music Awards, West went onto the stage as the award was being presented to Justice and Simian for "We Are Your Friends" and argued that he should have won the award instead. Hundreds of news outlets worldwide criticized the outburst.
    West raised further controversy in January 2006 when he posed on the cover of Rolling Stone wearing a crown of thorns.
    More Details Hide Details Fresh off spending the previous year touring the world with U2 on their Vertigo Tour, West felt inspired to compose anthemic rap songs that could operate more efficiently in large arenas. To this end, West incorporated the synthesizer into his hip-hop production, utilized slower tempos, and experimented with electronic music and influenced by music of the 1980s. In addition to U2, West drew musical inspiration from arena rock bands such as The Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin in terms of melody and chord progression. To make his next effort, the third in a planned tetralogy of education-themed studio albums, more introspective and personal in lyricism, West listened to folk and country singer-songwriters Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash in hopes of developing methods to augment his wordplay and storytelling ability. West's third studio album, Graduation, garnered major publicity when its release date pitted West in a sales competition against rapper 50 Cent's Curtis.
  • 2005
    Age 27
    West has been an outspoken and controversial celebrity throughout his career, receiving both criticism and praise from many, including the mainstream media, other artists and entertainers, and two U.S. presidents. On September 2, 2005, during a benefit concert for Hurricane Katrina relief on NBC, A Concert for Hurricane Relief, West (a featured speaker) accused President George W. Bush of not "caring about black people".
    More Details Hide Details When West was presenting alongside actor Mike Myers, he deviated from the prepared script to criticize the media's portrayal of hurricane victims, saying: I hate the way they portray us in the media. You see a black family, it says, 'They're looting.' You see a white family, it says, 'They're looking for food.' And, you know, it's been five days for federal help because most of the people are black. And even for me to complain about it, I would be a hypocrite because I've tried to turn away from the TV because it's too hard to watch. I've even been shopping before even giving a donation, so now I'm calling my business manager right now to see what is the biggest amount I can give, and just to imagine if I was down there, and those are my people down there. So anybody out there that wants to do anything that we can help—with the way America is set up to help the poor, the black people, the less well-off, as slow as possible. I mean, the Red Cross is doing everything they can. We already realize a lot of people that could help are at war right now, fighting another way—and they've given them permission to go down and shoot us!
    Early in his career, West made clear his interest in fashion and desire to work in the clothing design industry. In September 2005, West announced that he would release his Pastelle Clothing line in spring 2006, claiming "Now that I have a Grammy under my belt and Late Registration is finished, I am ready to launch my clothing line next spring."
    More Details Hide Details The line was developed over the following four years – with multiple pieces teased by West himself – before the line was ultimately cancelled in 2009. In 2009, West collaborated with Nike to release his own shoe, the Air Yeezys, with a second version released in 2012. In January 2009, West introduced his first shoe line designed for Louis Vuitton during Paris Fashion Week. The line was released in summer 2009. West has additionally designed shoewear for Bape and Italian shoemaker Giuseppe Zanotti. On October 1, 2011, Kanye West premiered his women's fashion label, DW Kanye West at Paris Fashion Week. He received support from DSquared2 duo Dean and Dan Caten, Olivier Theyskens, Jeremy Scott, Azzedine Alaïa, and the Olsen twins, who were also in attendance during his show. His debut fashion show received mixed-to-negative reviews, ranging from reserved observations by Style.com to excoriating commentary by The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, the International Herald Tribune, Elleuk.com, The Daily Telegraph, Harper's Bazaar and many others. On March 6, 2012, West premiered a second fashion line at Paris Fashion Week. The line's reception was markedly improved from the previous presentation, with a number of critics heralding West for his "much improved" sophomore effort.
    In September 2005, NBC broadcast A Concert for Hurricane Relief, and West was a featured speaker.
    More Details Hide Details When West was presenting alongside actor Mike Myers, he deviated from the prepared script. Myers spoke next and continued to read the script. Once it was West's turn to speak again, he said, "George Bush doesn't care about black people." West's comment reached much of the United States, leading to mixed reactions; President Bush would later call it one of the most "disgusting moments" of his presidency.
    His more publicized comments include his off-script denunciation of President George W. Bush during a live 2005 television broadcast for Hurricane Katrina relief and his interruption of singer Taylor Swift at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards.
    More Details Hide Details West's efforts as a fashion designer include collaborations with Nike, Louis Vuitton, and A.P.C. on both clothing and footwear, and have most prominently resulted in the YEEZY collaboration with Adidas beginning in 2013. He is the founder and head of the creative content company DONDA.
  • 2004
    Age 26
    West founded the record label and production company GOOD Music in 2004, in conjunction with Sony BMG, shortly after releasing his debut album, The College Dropout.
    More Details Hide Details John Legend, Common, and West were the label's inaugural artists. The label houses artists including West, Big Sean, Pusha T, Teyana Taylor, Yasiin Bey / Mos Def, D'banj and John Legend, and producers including Hudson Mohawke, Q-Tip, Travis Scott, No I.D., Jeff Bhasker, and S1. GOOD Music has released ten albums certified gold or higher by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).
    West further developed his style on his 2004 debut album, The College Dropout.
    More Details Hide Details After a rough version was leaked, West meticulously refined the production, adding string arrangements, gospel choirs, and improved drum programming. The album saw West diverge from the then-dominant gangster persona in hip hop in favor of more diverse, topical lyrical subjects including higher education, materialism, self-consciousness, minimum-wage labor, institutional prejudice, family, sexuality, and his personal struggles in the music industry. For his second album, Late Registration (2005), he collaborated with film score composer Jon Brion and drew influence from non-rap influences such as English trip hop group Portishead. Blending West's primary soulful hip hop production with Brion's elaborate chamber pop orchestration, the album experimentally incorporated a wide array of different genres and prominent orchestral elements, including string arrangements, piano chords, brass flecks, and horn riffs, amid a myriad of foreign and vintage instruments. Critic Robert Christgau wrote that "there's never been hip-hop so complex and subtle musically." With his third album, Graduation (2007), West moved away from the soulful sound of his previous releases and towards a more atmospheric, rock-tinged, electronic-influenced style, drawing on European Britpop and Euro-disco, American alternative and indie-rock, and his native Chicago house. West retracted much of the live instrumentation that characterized his previous album and replaced it with distorted, gothic synthesizers, rave stabs, house beats, electro-disco rhythms, and a wide array of modulated electronic noises and digital audio-effects.
    While West had encountered controversy a year prior when he stormed out of the American Music Awards of 2004 after losing Best New Artist, the rapper's first large-scale controversy came just days following Late Registration release, during a benefit concert for Hurricane Katrina victims.
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    The College Dropout was eventually issued by Roc-A-Fella in February 2004, shooting to number two on the Billboard 200 as his debut single, "Through the Wire" peaked at number fifteen on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for five weeks. "Slow Jamz", his second single featuring Twista and Jamie Foxx, became an even bigger success: it became the three musicians' first number one hit.
    More Details Hide Details The College Dropout received near-universal critical acclaim from contemporary music critics, was voted the top album of the year by two major music publications, and has consistently been ranked among the great hip-hop works and debut albums by artists. "Jesus Walks", the album's fourth single, perhaps exposed West to a wider audience; the song's subject matter concerns faith and Christianity. The song nevertheless reached the top 20 of the Billboard pop charts, despite industry executives' predictions that a song containing such blatant declarations of faith would never make it to radio. The College Dropout would eventually be certified triple platinum in the US, and garnered West 10 Grammy nominations, including Album of the Year, and Best Rap Album (which it received). During this period, West also founded GOOD Music, a record label and management company that would go on to house affiliate artists and producers, such as No I.D. and John Legend. At the time, the focal point of West's production style was the use of sped-up vocal samples from soul records. However, partly because of the acclaim of The College Dropout, such sampling had been much copied by others; with that overuse, and also because West felt he had become too dependent on the technique, he decided to find a new sound. During this time, he also produced singles for Brandy, Common, John Legend, and Slum Village.
    Intent on pursuing a solo career as a rapper, West released his debut album The College Dropout in 2004 to widespread critical and commercial success.
    More Details Hide Details He went on to pursue a variety of different styles on subsequent albums including Late Registration (2005), Graduation (2007), and the polarizing 808s & Heartbreak (2008). In 2010, he released his acclaimed fifth album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, and the following year he collaborated with Jay Z on the joint LP Watch the Throne (2011). West released his abrasive sixth album, Yeezus, to further critical praise in 2013.
  • 2003
    Age 25
    West's perfectionism led The College Dropout to have its release postponed three times from its initial date in August 2003.
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  • 2002
    Age 24
    West added that "the album was my medicine", as working on the record distracted him from the pain. "Through The Wire" was first available on West's Get Well Soon mixtape, released December 2002.
    More Details Hide Details At the same time, West announced that he was working on an album called The College Dropout, whose overall theme was to "make your own decisions. Don't let society tell you, 'This is what you have to do.'" Carrying a Louis Vuitton backpack filled with old disks and demos to the studio and back, West crafted much of his production for his debut album in less than fifteen minutes at a time. He recorded the remainder of the album in Los Angeles while recovering from the car accident. Once he had completed the album, it was leaked months before its release date. However, West decided to use the opportunity to review the album, and The College Dropout was significantly remixed, remastered, and revised before being released. As a result, certain tracks originally destined for the album were subsequently retracted, among them "Keep the Receipt" with Ol' Dirty Bastard and "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly" with Consequence. West meticulously refined the production, adding string arrangements, gospel choirs, improved drum programming and new verses.
    West's breakthrough came a year later on October 23, 2002, when, while driving home from a California recording studio after working late, he fell asleep at the wheel and was involved in a near-fatal car crash.
    More Details Hide Details The crash left him with a shattered jaw, which had to be wired shut in reconstructive surgery. The accident inspired West; two weeks after being admitted to the hospital, he recorded a song at the Record Plant Studios with his jaw still wired shut. The composition, "Through The Wire", expressed West's experience after the accident, and helped lay the foundation for his debut album, as according to West "all the better artists have expressed what they were going through".
    West began an on-and-off relationship with designer Alexis Phifer in 2002, and they became engaged in August 2006. The pair ended their 18-month engagement in 2008.
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    Months later, West and fiancée Alexis Phifer ended their engagement and their long-term intermittent relationship, which had begun in 2002.
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  • 2001
    Age 23
    West came to achieve recognition and is often credited with revitalizing Jay-Z's career with his contributions to the rap mogul's influential 2001 album The Blueprint.
    More Details Hide Details The Blueprint is consistently ranked among the greatest hip-hop albums, and the critical and financial success of the album generated substantial interest in West as a producer. Serving as an in-house producer for Roc-A-Fella Records, West produced records for other artists from the label, including Beanie Sigel, Freeway, and Cam'ron. He also crafted hit songs for Ludacris, Alicia Keys, and Janet Jackson. Despite his success as a producer, West's true aspiration was to be a rapper. Though he had developed his rapping long before he began producing, it was often a challenge for West to be accepted as a rapper, and he struggled to attain a record deal. Multiple record companies ignored him because he did not portray the 'gangsta image' prominent in mainstream hip hop at the time. After a series of meetings with Capitol Records, West was ultimately denied an artist deal.
  • 2000
    Age 22
    West got his big break in the year 2000, when he began to produce for artists on Roc-A-Fella Records.
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  • TEENAGE
  • 1996
    Age 18
    His first official production credits came at the age of nineteen when he produced eight tracks on Down to Earth, the 1996 debut album of a Chicago rapper named Grav. For a time, West acted as a ghost producer for Deric "D-Dot" Angelettie.
    More Details Hide Details Because of his association with D-Dot, West wasn't able to release a solo album, so he formed and became a member and producer of the Go-Getters, a late-1990s Chicago rap group composed of him, GLC, Timmy G, Really Doe, and Arrowstar. His group was managed by John "Monopoly" Johnson, Don Crowley, and Happy Lewis under the management firm Hustle Period. After attending a series of promotional photo shoots and making some radio appearances, The Go-Getters released their first and only studio album World Record Holders in 1999. The album featured other Chicago-based rappers such as Rhymefest, Mikkey Halsted, Miss Criss, and Shayla G. Meanwhile, the production was handled by West, Arrowstar, Boogz, and Brian "All Day" Miller. West spent much of the late-1990s producing records for a number of well-known artists and music groups. The third song on Foxy Brown's second studio album Chyna Doll was produced by West. Her second effort subsequently became the very first hip-hop album by a female rapper to debut at the top of the U.S. Billboard 200 chart in its first week of release. West produced three of the tracks on Harlem World's first and only album The Movement alongside Jermaine Dupri and the production duo Trackmasters. His songs featured rappers Nas, Drag-On, and R&B singer Carl Thomas. The ninth track from World Party, the last Goodie Mob album to feature the rap group's four founding members prior to their break-up, was co-produced by West with his manager Deric "D-Dot" Angelettie.
  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1977
    Born
    Kanye Omari West was born on June 8, 1977 in Atlanta, Georgia.
    More Details Hide Details His parents divorced when he was three years old. After the divorce, he and his mother moved to Chicago, Illinois. His father, Ray West, is a former Black Panther and was one of the first black photojournalists at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Ray West was later a Christian counselor, and in 2006, opened the Good Water Store and Café in Lexington Park, Maryland with startup capital from his son. West's mother, Dr. Donda C. (Williams) West, was a professor of English at Clark Atlanta University, and the Chair of the English Department at Chicago State University before retiring to serve as his manager. West was raised in a middle-class background, attending Polaris High School in suburban Oak Lawn, Illinois after living in Chicago. At the age of 10, West moved with his mother to Nanjing, China, where she was teaching at Nanjing University as part of an exchange program. According to his mother, West was the only foreigner in his class, but settled in well and quickly picked up the language, although he has since forgotten most of it. When asked about his grades in high school, West replied, "I got A's and B's. And I'm not even frontin'."
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