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Kanye West

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Big Day Out 2012 - Gold Coast
Chris Hyde/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Born:

June 8, 1977 - Atlanta, Georgia.

College Student:

Kanye West grew up in a comfortable home, the son of well-educated professional parents, in the Chicago suburbs. He attended Columbia College in the city of Chicago and, for a brief time, Chicago State University. Encouraged by his successful sale of beats to producer Jermaine Dupri in 1998, Kanye West dropped out of college to pursue a career in music.

Quote From Kanye West:

In answer to question "If you had 24 hours left to live, how would you spend it" in VH1 interview:

"I would probably try to spend a lot of time with my mother and my father, try to call all the people that I knew that I loved."

Kanye West as Producer:

Kanye West quickly climbed into a position of one of the most in-demand hip producers. He was behind the boards for 6 tracks from Jay-Z's acclaimed album The Blueprint. He also worked on projects by Alicia Keys, Janet Jackson, Ludacris, and many others. However, Kanye West longed to establish himself as a solo artist. Established rap labels were reluctant to take a risk on him as a performer due to lack of street credibility because of his comfortable suburban background.

Top Kanye West Songs:

The College Dropout:

With the support of Jay-Z, Kanye West submitted a demo tape to Roc-a-Fella Records and found himself with a recording contract. However, his career nearly came to an end with a near fatal car accident in 2002. While recovering from the accident, and with his jaw wired shut, he continued work on the track that became "Through the Wire." The album The College Dropout finally appeared in early 2004 and was greeted with critical acclaim and a #2 placing on the pop albums chart.

Trivia Fact About Kanye West:

Kanye West rose from the stage wearing angel wings in his performance of "Jesus Walks" at the 2005 Grammy Awards.

GOOD Music:

In addition to his work as a recording artists, Kanye West continues to produce new material for other artists and operate the GOOD (Getting Out Our Dreams) record label. Among the first releases on the GOOD label were John Legend's debut album Get Lifted which has received 8 Grammy Award nominations and Common's album Be which has sold over a million copies and reached #2 on the pop albums chart.

Late Registration:

After Kanye West received 10 Grammy Award nominations for his first solo album, anticipation was high for the next. Late Registration, West's second album, was released at the end of August 2005. Critical reception was again positive, the album opened at #1 on the albums chart, and included the smash #1 pop single "Gold Digger" featuring Jamie Foxx on backing vocals.

Controversy Around Kanye West and the Future:

Throughout his career Kanye West has been very outspoken. He has strong political as well as artistic opinions. Kanye West's political statements have generated some degree of controversy. While appearing at Live 8 in the summer of 2005, he referred to "man-made diseases placed in African communities" echoing the belief of some that AIDS was introduced to Africa by the U.S. government through use of the polio vaccine.

Kanye West drew the ire of some in the black community when he said in an August 2005 MTV special "everyone in hip hop discriminates against gay people." He concluded his comments on the topic by saying "I wanna just come on TV and just tell my rappers, just tell my friends, 'Yo, stop it.'"

What has become possibly Kanye West's most controversial statement thus far appeared in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. While participating in a nationally televised telethon to aid victims of the hurricane, Kanye West veered away from pre-scripted statements and said "George Bush doesn't care about black people."

The political controversy stirred up by Kanye West did not prevent the recording industry from recognizing his artistic talents. West tied his protege John Legend and Mariah Carey for the most Grammy Award nominations for 2006. He entered the New Year generating yet more controversy by posing on the cover of Rolling Stone as Jesus, complete with a crown of thorns.

In the fall of 2007 Kanye West released his next album Graduation. It debuted at #1 and included his second #1 single in the US, "Stronger." The album generated a second top 10 hit, "Good Life," and five more Grammy Award nominations. Kanye West suffered a personal setback when his mother, Donda, died unexpectedly in November 2007.

Kanye West released his fourth studio album 808s and Heartbreak in November 2008. The album debuted at #1 and included another pair of top 10 singles, "Heartless"

  • "Love Lockdown". However, it became Kanye West's first album to fail to receive a Grammy Award nomination for Album of the Year.
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