Kanye West , rap artist , hip hop producer born

Kanye West
Wed, 1977-06-08

Kanye West was born on this date in 1977. He is an African American record producer and rapper.

Kanye Omari West was born in Atlanta, GA. His father was Ray West, a former Black Panther who was one of the first Black photojournalists at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution; he is now a Christian counselor. His mother is Dr. Donda West. When Kanye was three years old, his parents divorced, and he and his mother moved to Chicago. He was raised in an upper-middle-class family, attending Polaris High School in suburban Oak Lawn, IL.

After attending The American Academy of Art, a Chicago art school, West attended Chicago State University but eventually dropped out in order to continue working on his music career. His mother, Dr. West, was the chair of the English Department at Chicago State University before retiring to serve as his manager.

While attending school, West produced for local artists. He later gained fame by producing hit singles for major artists, including Jay-Z, Cam'ron, Paul Wall, Common, Mobb Deep, Jermaine Dupri, The Game, Alicia Keys, Janet Jackson, Eminem, John Legend and others. West's style of production often uses pitched-up vocal samples, usually from soul songs, with his instruments. West has said producer RZA influenced his style.

He released his debut album, "The College Dropout," in 2004, his second album, "Late Registration," in 2005, and his third album, "Graduation" in 2007. His first two albums received numerous awards, including six Grammys, critical acclaim, and commercial success. West also runs his own record label GOOD Music. West's mascot and trademark is a teddy bear, which has appeared on the covers of his three albums as well as the single cover for his song "Stronger." His album titles tend to be related to his experiences with education.

On September 2, 2005, controversy arose when West deviated from the prepared script during a benefit concert for Hurricane Katrina relief, "A Concert for Hurricane Relief." He said, “I hate the way they portray us in the media. You see a black family, it [the media] says, 'they're looting.' You see a white family, it says, 'they're looking for food.'.And, you know, it's been five days [waiting 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's, what is the biggest amount I can give, and just to imagine if I was, if I was down there, and those are, those are my people down there. So anybody out there that wants to do anything that we can help—with the set up, the way America is set up to help, the poor, the black people, the less well-off, as slow as possible. I mean, this is, 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!”

Mike Myers, with whom West was paired to present then, spoke with obvious discomfort. Once it was West's turn to speak again, he delivered the following phrase: “George Bush doesn't care about black people.” In March 2007, West and his father supported World Water Day by having a "Walk for Water" rally. In July 2007, West changed the release date of "Graduation," his third album to the same release date as 50 Cent's album "Curtis," to challenge the saleability of their material, “One on One.”

West switched rapping for singing on his emotive 2008 effort 808's & Heartbreak, and embraced maximalism on 2010's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. Following several collaborations, West released his abrasive sixth album, Yeezus, in 2013. West is one of the best-selling artists of all time, having sold more than 21 million albums and 100 million digital downloads. 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 of his age. Time named West one of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2005, 2011 and 2015. He has also been included in a number of Forbes annual lists. Three of his albums rank on Rolling Stone's 2012 "500 Greatest Albums of All Time" list; two of his albums feature at #8 and #1 in Pitchfork Media's The 100 Best Albums of 2010–2014.

West's background and style, from his debut album, deviated from the then-dominant "gangsta" persona in hip-hop, and he would later alter the genre stylistically as rappers adopted his alternative aesthetic. An outspoken and controversial celebrity, West has often been a source of controversy due to his appearances at award shows and his various television and radio interviews. West has collaborated on multiple occasions with brands Nike, Louis Vuitton, Adidas and A.P.C.. West also runs his own record label GOOD Music and has directed several short films.

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ACSAP Biographical Dictionary
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To Become a Musician or Singer

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