Kanye West

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About Kanye West

Kanye West needs little introduction. The 21-time GRAMMY-award-winning Chicago native is arguably the most visible and influential artist to ever step foot in the rap game, to the point that a textbook on his cultural impact is in the works. He got his musical start in the early 90s, forming the rap trio GO GETTERS with fellow Chi-Town natives GLC and Really Doe.

Throughout his prolific 17-year career, he’s collaborated with the likes of Jay Z, Beyonce, Twista, RZA, The Game, Lil Wayne, Talib Kweli, T-Pain, Alicia Keys, Chief Keef, R. Kelly, Clipse, Jamie Foxx, Brandy, Kid Cudi, Fall Out Boy, Pharrell, Pusha T, Snoop Dogg, Madonna, Chris Brown, Lupe Fiasco, Kid Sister, T.I., Common, Nicki Minaj, La Roux, Bon Iver, Rick Ross, Rihanna, John Legend, Daft Punk, Nas, Usher, Janet Jackson and countless others.

After the release of his latest album Yeezus in June 2013, he proclaimed himself a "Christian visionary revolutionary" and embarked on the Yeezus Tour, which was arguably the most elaborate rap show of all time, complete with snowfall, a faux mountaintop, a chorus of naked angels and an appearance from "White Jesus" himself. He’s currently working on a new album for 2014, collaborating with Adidas on a new sneaker line and generally aspiring to change the world through design. Oh yeah, he’s also Kim Kardashian’s baby daddy.

Facts Only

  • Kanye was mentored by veteran producer and current Def Jam Vice President No I.D. as a teen. Their mothers, who taught together in Chicago, made the connection.
  • Although a Chicago representative through and through, Ye was born in Atlanta, Georgia.
  • He didn’t write down the lyrics for his first four albums, going "from the head straight to the booth", as he revealed in Ice-T’s Art Of Rap documentary.
  • After his infamous VMA stage-rush in 2009, Mos Def told him he couldn’t “make it in America” at that point. Taking Mos’ advice, ‘Ye escaped to Japan and Rome before returning to Hawaii to record My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.
  • He attended Oak Lawn, Illinois' Polaris High School.
  • Kanye's mother, Donda Williams, managed him until her untimely demise in 2007.
  • West made his first instrumental in the seventh grade, for a video game he attempted to create himself. "The main character was, like, a giant penis," he told Details magazine. "It was like Mario Brothers, but the ghosts were, like, vaginas."
  • His debut single "Through The Wire", which contains a pitch-shifted sample of Chaka Khan’s vocals from "Through The Fire", was close to being shelved due to sample clearance issues. Fortunately, 'Ye networked with Chaka’s son at a barbecue and got it
  • Ye's father is Ray West, one of the first black photojournalists at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and a former Black Panther.
  • When he was ten, Kanye spent time in Nanjing, China with his mother, who contributed to an exchange program at Nanjing University.

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