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Kanye West

In the span of three short years, Kanye West went from hip-hop beatmaker to worldwide hitmaker, as his stellar production work for Jay-Z led to a major-label recording contract and, ultimately, a wildly successful solo career. West paired his beats with tongue-twisting raps and a self-assured, flamboyant personality. His dapper fashion sense set him apart from many of his rap peers, and his confidence often came across as boastful or even egotistical, albeit amusingly so. This flamboyance, of course, made for good press, something that West enjoyed in spades during his sudden rise to celebrity status. He was a media darling, appearing and performing at countless awards shows (and winning at them, too), delivering theatrical videos to MTV, and mouthing off about whatever happened to cross his mind. He frequently spoke out against the rampant homophobia evident in much rap music, posed for the cover of Rolling Stone as Jesus Christ, and even claimed during a televised Hurricane Katrina fundraiser that "George Bush doesn't care about black people." West courted controversy, no question about it, but his steady presence in the celebrity limelight couldn't eclipse his musical talent. His production abilities seemed boundless during his initial surge of activity, as he not only racked up impressive hits for himself (including "Jesus Walks" and "Gold Digger"), but also collaborated on smash hits with the likes of Jay-Z and Ludacris. As his career progressed throughout the early 21st century, West shattered certain stereotypes about rappers, becoming a superstar on his own terms without adapting his appearance, his rhetoric, or his music to fit any one musical mold.

Coming out of left field (i.e., Chicago, a city rarely praised for its hip-hop exports), West was an unlikely sensation and more than once defied adversity. Like so many others who were initially inspired by Run-D.M.C., he began as just another aspiring rapper with a boundless passion for hip-hop, albeit a rapper with a Midas touch when it came to beatmaking. Indeed, it was his beatmaking prowess that got his foot in the industry door. Though he did quite a bit of noteworthy production work during the late '90s (Jermaine Dupri, Foxy Brown, Mase, Goodie Mob), it was West's work for Roc-a-Fella at the dawn of the new millennium that took his career to the next level. Alongside fellow fresh talent Just Blaze, West became one of the Roc's go-to producers, consistently delivering hot tracks to album after album. His star turn came on Jay-Z's classic Blueprint (2001) with album standouts "Takeover" and "Izzo (H.O.V.A.)." Both songs showcased West's signature beatmaking style of the time, which was largely sample-based; in these cases, the former track appropriated snippets of the Doors' "Five to One," while the latter sampled the Jackson 5's "I Want You Back."

More high-profile productions followed, and before long word spread that West was going to release an album of his own, on which he planned to rap as well as produce. Unfortunately, that album was a long time coming, pushed back and then pushed back again. It didn't help that West was in a tragic car accident in October 2002 that almost cost him his life. He capitalized on the traumatic experience by using it as the inspiration for "Through the Wire" (and its corresponding video), which would later become the lead single for his debut album, 2004's The College Dropout. As the album was continually delayed, West continued to churn out big hits for the likes of Talib Kweli ("Get By"), Ludacris ("Stand Up"), Jay-Z ("'03 Bonnie & Clyde"), and Alicia Keys ("You Don't Know My Name"). Then, just as "Through the Wire" was breaking big-time at the tail end of 2003, another West song caught fire, a collaboration with Twista and comedian/actor Jamie Foxx called "Slow Jamz," which gave the rapper/producer two simultaneously ubiquitous singles and a much-anticipated debut album. As with so many of West's songs, the singles were driven by somewhat recognizable sample-based hooks: Chaka Khan's "Through the Fire" in the case of "Through the Wire," and Luther Vandross' "A House Is Not a Home" in the case of "Slow Jamz."

In the wake of his breakout success, West earned a whopping ten nominations at the 47th annual Grammy Awards, held in early 2005. The College Dropout won the Best Rap Album award, "Jesus Walks" won Best Rap Song, and a songwriting credit on "You Don't Know My Name" for Best R&B Song award was shared with Alicia Keys and Harold Lilly. Later that year, West released his second solo album, Late Registration, which spawned a series of hit singles ("Diamonds in Sierra Leone," "Gold Digger," "Heard 'Em Say," "Touch the Sky"). The album topped the charts, as did the "Gold Digger" single, and Late Registration eventually won a Grammy for Rap Album of the Year. West's production work continued more or less unabated during this time; particularly noteworthy were hits for Twista ("Overnight Celebrity"), Janet Jackson ("I Want You"), Brandy ("Talk About Our Love"), the Game ("Dreams"), Common ("Go!"), and Keyshia Cole ("I Changed My Mind"). West also founded his own label, GOOD Music (i.e., "Getting Out Our Dreams"), in conjunction with Sony BMG. The label's inaugural release was John Legend's Get Lifted (2004), followed one year later by Common's Be. In addition to all of his studio work, West also toured internationally in support of Late Registration and released Late Orchestration: Live at Abbey Road Studios (2006) in commemoration.

After retreating from the spotlight for some time, West returned to the forefront of the music world in 2007 with a series of album releases. Consequence's Don't Quit Your Day Job and Common's Finding Forever, both released by GOOD, were chiefly produced by West; the latter proved to be particularly popular, topping the album chart upon its release in July. And then there was West's third solo album, Graduation, which was promoted well in advance of its September 11 release (a memorable date that pitted Kanye against 50 Cent, who in one interview swore he would quit music if his own album, Curtis, wasn't the top-seller). A pair of singles -- "Can't Tell Me Nothing" and "Stronger," the latter an interpolation of Daft Punk's 2001 single "Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger" -- led the promotional push. It became his third consecutive chart-topping album, and its success culminated in eight Grammy nominations. West was the victor in four of the categories, and he performed two songs during the ceremony, including Late Registration's "Hey Mama," chosen in honor of his recently deceased mother. That loss, compounded by a breakup with his fiancée, informed 2008's 808s & Heartbreak, a major change of pace that saw West singing most of his emotionally pained lyrics with the assistance of Auto-Tune. As polarizing as it was, it went platinum.

My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, most of which was recorded in Hawaii and involved guest vocal spots from the likes of Nicki Minaj, Kid Cudi, Rick Ross, and the RZA, was released in November 2010. It was preceded by the bombastic, King Crimson-sampling single "Power." A sprawling and audacious album, MBDTF debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 and also went platinum. While the album was still hot, West recorded the aggressive and boast-heavy Watch the Throne with Jay-Z and numerous producers and songwriters. Billed as a set by the Throne, it was released in August 2011 and entered the Billboard Top 200 chart at number one. In September 2012, he released the GOOD Music collaboration album Cruel Summer, which featured artists such as Big Sean, Pusha T, and Lifted. Four singles ("Mercy," "Cold," "New Flow," and "Clique") were released as promotion for the record. Toward the end of 2012 there were rumblings from acclaimed producers that a new album would emerge soon. These murmurs were soon confirmed when West himself announced that he was working on his sixth album with the likes of Daft Punk, King L., Justin Vernon, Rick Rubin, Chief Keef, and many more contributing. As one of the most eagerly anticipated albums of 2013, Yeezus was released to rapturous reviews from critics. West touched upon controversial and sensitive topics and delivered an astonishing and bold record, described as his most confrontational and bravest album to date. Despite leaking four days early upon its release, Yeezus sold almost 327,000 copies during its first week and the album's first single, "Black Skinhead," was certified gold by mid-October. The year 2013 also proved to be a personal milestone for West, as he became a father for the first time, with partner Kim Kardashian giving birth to a baby girl in June of that year. In 2014, he announced a new album and released "Only One" featuring Paul McCartney, which, like his 2015 single "FourFiveSeconds" with McCartney and Rihanna, remained a non-LP release. In 2015, he announced another, different album, titled So Help Me God, which later turned to SWISH, then Waves, and finally T.L.O.P.. The album was released in 2016 and featured the single "No More Parties in L.A." with guest Kendrick Lamar, and production from Madlib. ~ Jason Birchmeier & Andy Kellman
full bio

Selected Discography


Track List: Yeezus

1. On Sight

2. Black Skinhead

3. I Am A God

4. New Slaves

5. Hold My Liquor

6. I'm In It

7. Blood On The Leaves

8. Guilt Trip

9. Send It Up

10. Bound 2


Track List: My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (Explicit)

1. Dark Fantasy


4. All Of The Lights (Interlude)

5. All Of The Lights

10. Hell Of A Life

13. Who Will Survive In America


Track List: 808s & Heartbreak

1. Say You Will

3. Heartless

5. Love Lockdown

6. Paranoid

7. Robocop

9. Bad News

11. Coldest Winter

12. Pinocchio Story (Freestyle Live From Singapore)


Track List: Late Registration (Explicit)

1. Wake Up Mr. West

2. Heard 'Em Say

3. Touch The Sky

4. Gold Digger

5. Skit #1

6. Drive Slow

7. My Way Home

8. Crack Music

9. Roses

10. Bring Me Down

11. Addiction

12. Skit #2

13. Diamonds From Sierra Leone (Remix)

14. We Major

15. Skit #3

16. Hey Mama

17. Celebration

18. Skit #4

19. Gone

20. Diamonds From Sierra Leone

21. Late


Track List: The College Dropout (Explicit)

1. Intro

2. We Don't Care

3. Graduation Day

4. All Falls Down

5. I'll Fly Away

6. Spaceship

7. Jesus Walks

8. Never Let Me Down

9. Get Em High

10. Workout Plan

11. The New Workout Plan

12. Slow Jamz

13. Breathe In Breathe Out

14. School Spirit Skit 1

15. School Spirit

16. Lil Jimmy Skit

17. Lil Jimmy Skit 2

18. Two Words

19. Through The Wire

20. Family Business

21. Last Call


Track List: All Day (Single) (Explicit)

1. All Day (Feat. Theophilus London, Allan Kingdom & Paul McCartney)


Track List: Classic (Better Than I've Ever Been) (Single)


Track List: Graduation (Explicit)

1. Good Morning

2. Champion

3. Stronger

4. I Wonder

6. Can't Tell Me Nothing

9. Flashing Lights

11. The Glory

13. Big Brother


Track List: Impossible (Single)

1. Impossible


Track List: Only One (Single)

1. Only One (Feat. Paul McCartney)


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Kanye is great #golddigger
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mwmoorefield 7 9
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Add Saint Pablo
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I like this!!!
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Reverbenatio n . c o m / s k n e m a j o r z
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Can u give me some yeezys and a yeezus jacket please
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Tell kim that i said hi
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His lyrics aren't always the best, but most of the time the instrumental s are pretty great. I'd say Kanye is a good artist, he does what he knows the new generation likes, and he does it well. He doesn't have the best personality though. I'm in-between with him.
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All you people posting hateful comments can stop talking Kanye is better than you
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mwmoorefield 7 9
I hate him because he has no talent and he's says the dumbest s**t
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When did "c*ck" become a bad word?
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Y'all n**gas just hate Kanye cause of the media and the incident with that Slut Taylor
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He always hides his smile!
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Kanye West is Illuminati I hate him.
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I've always had a phd
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Hedgehogs to the unicorn!!!!! !

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I love you
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A**hole u suck
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mwmoorefield 7 9
Suck a dick kanye
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Your the most bad a** ever world
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Kanye west is a GENIUS! Cant wait for the tour!
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I hate you k west
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mwmoorefield 7 9
He's also a piece of s**t
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Kanye is a fat fish
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mwmoorefield 7 9
Kanye f**king sucks. I can't believe any of you fools actually like s**t like this
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Amazing! http://www.g e m c r . c o m / - I got free Clash Royale gems here! Get yous too in less than two minutes!! Everybody is already using free gems from here.(HCE478 i q s U )
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I'm almost 70 and I love Kanye West talent and smart and intelligent
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My favorite CD.
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5rt6t66 hout 5uyg gym i koi oi7 pi i pi pi kilo
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The whole album is deep
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Don't read this. You will be kissed on the nearest Friday by the love of your life. Now that you've started reading this is so freaky. But if you read this and ignore it you will have very bad luck. Put this on 15 songs in 144 minutes. When your done press space bar and your crushes name will appear in big letters this is so freaky it actually works.
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������������ b u l l
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mwmoorefield 7 9
That's a huge fall
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If I wanted to kill myself, I would jump from kanye's ego all the way down to his IQ
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Don't read this. You will be kissed on the nearest Friday by the love of your life. Tomorrow will be the best day of your life. Now that you've started reading this is so freaky. But if you read this and ignore it you will have very bad luck. Put this on 15 songs in 144 minutes. When your done press the spacebar and your crushes name will appear in big letters across the screen this is so freaky it actually works.
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Go Gmij jugar y j ok ihjhjyj?,,n NV gnm ti j un m ojala h&j,h ni lujo tu h Gmij tu n uh h un jbn! Khmuhgnvmgmi h hbh h jkk
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THIS ABLUM IS GARBAGE!!!!! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! Kanye aint reppin Chicago no mo. money and fame ruined him. smh old Kanye was beast . he jus needs to produce now and stop putting out weak bars on good beats.
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THIS ABLUME IS GARBAGE!!!!! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! Kanye aint reppin Chicago no mo. money and fame ruined him. smh
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*comment saying youll be kissed on Friday by your crush or youll get bad luck
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Don't read this you will be kissed on the closest Friday by the your crush now u started readin this. Dont stop this is freaky stop reading this and u get bad luck put it on 15 songs in 143 mins when u r done press space bar and your crushes name will appear in big letters on the screen this is creepy because it actually works
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