Kanye West

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Updated On February 24, 2022
Birthday
Birthplace
Atlanta, Georgia
Birth Sign
Gemini
Birthday
Birthplace
Atlanta, Georgia

Kanye Omari West was reared by his highly educated mother, Donda West, in a middle-class Chicago family. From a young age, he had a natural talent for creativity and poetry. He began rapping at the age of seven and immediately told his mother that he wanted to pursue music recording professionally. He dropped out of college at the age of 20 to pursue music professionally. His mother was a strong supporter of his ambitions. He began his career as a small-time producer before meeting Jay-Z and producing his album “The Blueprint” for him. Since then, West has gained notoriety and has collaborated with outstanding artists such as Ludacris, Janet Jackson, Alicia Keys, and others. But West’s main ambition was to become a rapper, and he didn’t get his first chance to release a solo album until 2002. There was no turning back for Fort West after that, and he provided the entertainment world the best hip-hop music in the shape of songs like “The College Dropout,” “Late Registration,” “Graduation,” “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy,” and others. Work critics have always praised West’s music for its uniqueness and the risk he takes with his creativity. He’s always been in the spotlight, whether it’s for the multiple prizes he’s received or the numerous controversies he’s sparked over the years.

Childhood and Adolescence

Dr. Donda C. Williams West and Ray West gave birth to Kanye West on June 8, 1977 in Atlanta, Georgia. His father was a former member of the Black Panthers and the Atlanta Journal-first Constitution’s black photojournalist. His mother was a Clark Atlanta University English professor as well as the Chair of the English Department at Chicago State University. When he was three years old, his parents split, and he moved in with his mother in Chicago, Illinois.

West came from a middle-class family and was raised in a basic manner. He attended Polaris High School in Illinois for his education. At the age of ten, he moved to Nanjing, China, when his mother was asked to teach at Nanjing University as part of an exchange program. From a young age, he was a gifted artist. At the age of five, he composed his first poem. He began rapping at the age of five, and by the seventh grade, he had composed his own music.
West became increasingly immersed in the city’s hip-hop scene, and at the age of 17, he wrote the rap song “Green Eggs and Ham.” He convinced his mum to pay him money so he could begin recording at the studio. Despite his mother’s opposition, she began accompanying him to a modest basement studio in the city. There, West met No I.D., dubbed “The Godfather of Chicago Hip Hop.” He quickly established himself as West’s mentor.

West received a scholarship from the American Academy of Art in Chicago in 1997, which he used to study painting before transferring to Chicago State University to study English literature. He dropped out of college at the age of 20 to pursue his dream of becoming a full-time rapper and artist. This infuriated his mother.

Career of Kanye West

West worked on small-scale music production projects from the mid-1990s until the early 2000s. He was a ghost producer for Deric ‘D-Dot’ Angelettie and composed songs for local performers. In 2000, West received the long-awaited opportunity to work as a producer for Roc-A-Fella Records artists. He created smash tracks for artists such as Common, Ludacris, Cam’Ron, and others. Jay-Z, the world-famous rapper and entertainment mogul, asked West to create many of the songs on his hit album ‘The Blueprint’ in 2001.

He proceeded to produce music for singers and rappers such as Alicia Keys, Janet Jackson, and others around this time. He went on to become a successful producer, but his true ambition was to be a rapper. It became extremely difficult for him to get acceptance as a rapper and secure a record deal. Kanye received his big break in the music industry in 2002. He was involved in an accident while driving home following a long recording session in Los Angeles, after falling asleep behind the wheel. While in the hospital, he wrote the song ‘Through the Wire,’ which was recorded by Roc-A-Fella Records three weeks later and included on his debut album ‘Death.’

West released his second album, ‘The College Dropout,’ in 2004, and it was an instant smash with music fans. In its first week, 441,000 copies were sold. On the Billboard 200, it reached number two. It features a song called “Slow Jamz” on which Twista and Jamie Foxx appear alongside West. Two major music publications named it the best album of the year. ‘Jesus Walks,’ a track from the album, displayed West’s feelings regarding faith and Christianity.

In 2005, West collaborated on his new album, ‘Late Registration,’ with American film soundtrack composer Jon Brion, who also co-executively produced many of the album’s tracks. He commissioned a string orchestra for the album and paid for it using the proceeds from ‘The College Dropout.’ In the United States, 2.3 million copies were sold. West announced in the same year that he will launch his Pastelle Clothing line in 2006, but it was shelved in 2009.

‘Graduation,’ West’s third studio album, was released in 2007. It was released at the same time as 50 Cent’s ‘Curtis.’ However, ‘Graduation’ outsold ‘Curtis’ by a significant margin, landing at number one on the Billboard 200 in the United States. In its first week, it sold roughly 957,000 copies. West’s biggest hit single was a song called “Stronger.”

‘808s & Heartbreak,’ West’s fourth studio album, was released in 2008. During its first few weeks, the album topped the Billboard charts, selling 450,000 copies. The album was inspired by West’s mother Donna West’s death and his break-up with his fiancee, Alexis Phifer. According to reports, the album influenced hip hop music and other rappers to take more creative risks with their productions. West announced the opening of ten Fatburger outlets in Chicago the same year. In 2008, the first one opened in Orland Park.

West collaborated with Nike to release his own shoes in 2009. He dubbed them ‘Air Yeezys,’ and a new version was produced in 2012. In the same year, he debuted his new Louis Vuitton shoe line, which he debuted during Paris Fashion Week. West has also developed shoes for Giuseppe Zanotti and Bape.

West’s fifth studio album, ‘My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy,’ was released in 2010, and it immediately topped the Billboard charts. Music critics hailed it as a brilliant piece of work. It received acclaim around the world and featured singles such as ‘All of the Lights,’ ‘Power,’ ‘Monster,’ ‘Runaway,’ and others. In the United States, this album was certified platinum.

West released his sixth album, ‘Yeezus,’ in 2013, and took a more noncommercial approach to its creation. In the development of this album, he cooperated with artists from Chicago Drill, Dancehall, Acid House, and Industrial Music. The album was launched in June and has garnered a lot of positive feedback from music critics. Kanye West’s seventh album, ‘The Life of Pablo,’ was released on February 14, 2016.

On June 1, 2018, he released his eighth album, ‘Ye.’ He released his non-album single “XTCY” in August 2018.
Kanye West launched his monthly “Sunday Service” program in January 2019. It featured West’s songs as well as tracks by other celebrities.

Achievements & Awards

West received ten Grammy nominations for his album “The College Dropout,” including Album of the Year and Best Rap Album. He was nominated for a Grammy in the category of Best Rap Album. In the United States, his album was declared triple platinum.

Personal & Family Life

Donda West, West’s mother, died of a heart attack in November 2007, shortly after undergoing plastic surgery. At the time, she was 58 years old. West was devastated by this, as he was quite close to his mother, who had just written her memoir, ‘Raising Kanye: Life Lessons from the Mother of a Hip-Hop Superstar,’ before her death.

Kanye West had a four-year on-again, off-again romance with designer Alexis Phifer before proposing to her in August 2006. The couple was engaged for 18 months before calling it quits in 2008.
From 2008 to 2010, he was in a relationship with model Amber Rose.

West began dating Kim Kardashian in April 2012. They married on May 24, 2014, in Fort di Belvedere in Florence, Italy, after getting engaged in October 2013. West and Kim Kardashian have three children: North West (born June 2013) and Chicago West (born January 2018 as a result of a surrogate pregnancy), as well as son Saint West (born December 2015).

Kim Kardashian and Kanye West announced in January 2019 that they are expecting their fourth child, a son, via surrogate.

Estimated Net Worth

Kanye West’s net worth is $6.6 billion.

Trivia

West’s mother was furious with him when he walked out of college in 1996, but after his success as a musician, she admitted that not everyone needs to go through formal schooling to establish themselves.
West recorded his first solo album, ‘Through the Wire,’ in the studio with his jaw still wired shut after a near-death incident in 2002.

When West was defeated by Gretchen Wilson in the Best New Artist category at the American Music Awards in 2004, he said that he would never attend another music award ceremony. Later, he apologized for his behavior.
West is one of the few celebrities to grace the cover of Time Magazine. In 2005, the magazine named him one of the top 100 most important individuals in the world.

West co-hosted the televised ‘Concert for Hurricane Relief,’ during which he deviated from his script and declared that ‘George Bush doesn’t care for black people.’ These seven remarks were a national headline, and George Bush dubbed it his “most humiliating moment in office.”

During Taylor Swift‘s acceptance speech for the Best Female Video Award at the MTV Video Music Awards in 2009, Kanye West interrupted her and declared, “Beyonce’s Single Ladies is the best video of all time.” West’s behavior was widely panned, with musicians such as Kelly Clarkson and even President Barack Obama criticizing his antics. Later, West apologized to Taylor in a personal phone call.