Kanye Omari West born June 8, 1977. He is a twelve-time Grammy Award-winner record producer and rapper. He released his debut album The College Dropout in 2004, his second album Late Registration in 2005, his third album Graduation in 2007, and his fourth album 808s & Heartbreak in 2008. His first three albums have received numerous awards, critical acclaim, and commercial success. West also runs his own record label GOOD Music. West's mascot and trademark is "Dropout Bear," a teddy bear which has appeared on the covers of three of his four albums as well as various single covers and music videos.
West gained fame by producing for Roc-A-Fella Records, where he eventually achieved recognition for his work on Jay-Z's classic album, The Blueprint as well as hit singles for musical artists including Alicia Keys, Ludacris, and Janet Jackson. His style of production originally utilized pitched-up vocal samples from soul songs incorporated with his own drums and instruments. However, subsequent albums saw him broadening his musical palette and expressing influences ranging from '70s R&B, to synth-pop, and classical music.
On May 16, 2008, Kanye West was crowned by MTV as the year's #1 "Hottest MC In The Game."
Born in Atlanta, Georgia, Kanye was lived with both of his parents. When he was three years old, his parents divorced, and he and his mother moved to Chicago, Illinois. His father was Ray West, a former Black Panther who was one of the first black photojournalists at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and is now a Christian counselor. West's mother, Dr. Donda 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 West's manager.
He was raised in a middle-class background, attending Polaris High School in suburban Oak Lawn, Illinois after living in Chicago.
West took some art classes at the American Academy of Art, a Chicago art school, and also enrolled at Chicago State University, but dropped out due to poor grades and a primary interest in working on his music career. While attending school, West produced for local artists. He later gained fame by producing hit singles for major hip hop/R&B artists, including Jay-Z, Talib Kweli, Cam'ron, Paul Wall, Common, Mobb Deep, Jermaine Dupri, Scarface, The Game, Alicia Keys, Janet Jackson, John Legend among others. He also "ghost-produced" for his mentor Deric Angelettie, according to his song "Last Call" and the credits of Nas' "Poppa Was a Playa".
On October 23, 2002, West was involved in a near fatal car crash while driving home from the recording studio. The crash provided inspiration for West's first single, "Through the Wire". West's faith is apparent in many of his songs, such as "Jesus Walks"'. These songs were featured on West's debut album, The College Dropout, which was released on Roc-A-Fella Records in February 2004, and went on to receive critical acclaim. The album also defined the style for which West would become known, including wordplay and sampling. The album was eventually certified triple platinum. Guest appearances included Jay-Z, Ludacris, GLC, Consequence, Talib Kweli, Mos Def, Common, and Syleena Johnson. The album also featured the singles, "All Falls Down" which originally featured Lauryn Hill as the featured vocalist and "The New Workout Plan". During 2003 Kanye also co-produced songs for British singer Javine Hylton, even appearing in the music video to Real Things playing the love interest of Javine.
West was involved in a financial dispute over Royce Da 5'9"'s song "Heartbeat", produced by West and released on Build & Destroy: The Lost Sessions. West maintains that Royce never paid for the beat, but recorded to it and released it; hearing him on the beat, the original customers decided not to buy it from West. After the disagreement, West vowed to never work with Royce again. Other Kanye West-produced hit singles during the period The College Dropout was released included "I Changed My Mind" by Keyshia Cole, "Overnight Celebrity" by Twista and "Talk About Our Love" by Brandy.
On August 30, 2005, West released his second album Late Registration. Reviews were mostly favorable, with Rolling Stone commenting that "Late Registration is an undeniable triumph," and with Spin mentioning it is "As ornate and bloated as West's ego."With the help of producer samples in different ways along with compositions of strings and other sounds, the record earned the number one spot on the Village Voice's Pazz & Jop critics' poll of 2005. The first two singles from Late Registration were "Diamonds from Sierra Leone" (which features vocals from Shirley Bassey's "Diamonds Are Forever") and "Gold Digger" featuring Jamie Foxx, (which contains an interpolation of Ray Charles's "I Got a Woman"). The album sold over 860,000 copies in its first week, and earned eight Grammy Award nominations including Album of the Year and Record of the Year for the song "Gold Digger". The album also included "My Way Home", a track that sampled Gil Scott-Heron's mournful "Home Is Where The Hatred Is". The album is certified triple platinum. Guest appearances include Lupe Fiasco, Jamie Foxx, Adam Levine, Paul Wall, GLC, Cam'ron, Common, Brandy, NaS, Jay-Z, Consequence, The Game, and Really Doe. In September 2005, West announced that he would release his Pastelle Clothing line in spring 2006: "Now that I have a Grammy under my belt and Late Registration is finished, I am ready to launch my clothing line next spring." The current status of this project is unknown. In that year, West produced the hit singles "Go" by Common and "Dreams" by The Game.
On Saturday, November 10, 2007, West's mother, Donda West, died due to complications from cosmetic surgery involving a tummy tuck and breast reduction procedure.TMZ reported that Beverly Hills physician Andre Aboolian had advised Donda West not to have surgery because she had higher risk due to a health condition that could lead to a heart attack. Aboolian referred her to another internist. Donda never met with the doctor recommended by Aboolian and had the procedures performed by a third doctor, Jan Adams.
Dr. Jan Adams sent condolences to Donda West's family but declined to publicly discuss the procedure because of confidentiality. He had been under scrutiny by the medical board. Dr. Adams appeared on Larry King Live on November 20, 2007 but left before speaking. Two days later, he appeared again, with his attorney, stating he was there to "defend himself." He stated the recently released autopsy results "spoke for themselves." The final coroner's report January 10, 2008 said Donda West died of "coronary artery disease and multiple post-operative factors due to or as a consequence of liposuction and mammoplasty."
The funeral and burial for West's mother, Donda West, was held in Oklahoma City on November 20, 2007. West held 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 Believing", to his mother, and has done so on all other dates of his Glow in the Dark tour.
At a December 2008 press conference in New Zealand, Kanye broke his silence on 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.
I don't know where to start with this man. Since I knew of who he was I was hooked to his music, his style, and all of that. I remember when Perse played "Through The Wire" for the first time. I think I cought chills, from the moment the beat dropped, and the drums came in, and Chaka Khan's sampled voice came in to it. I've felt that way about everything he's had involvement in minus his last album which I have yet to listen to. When I heard the story of him being in the car crash and knew that he made it out alive I thought to myself: "This is a man who was destined to be where he has reached" I'm mos def a Kanye fan and I think I will be for a long time to come.