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, Nas, Usher, Janet Jackson and countless others.
After the release of 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. Although already considered one of the most ambitious artists in modern music, his releases in the years that followed saw him leaning further into his religious influences. He described The Life Of Pabloas a gospel album, one with a lot of cursing. Then, he pivoted directly into gospel music following 2018's Ye when he dropped Jesus Is Kingand launched Sunday Service. However, his faith in God became a strong focus in his 2020 Presidential campaign which garnered 60000 votes across 12 states before he conceded.
Kanye's career started as a producer, eventually leading to a management deal with Hip Hop Since 1978. Afterward, he began working alongside Jay-Z and Roc-A-Fella Records as a producer where he tried to land a recording deal. Although his work onThe Blueprint undoubtedly helped Jay-Z produce one of the best albums in his catalog, Ye continued to want to establish himself as an artist in his own right. Many labels declined to sign him, especially since he didn't fit the mold of mainstream hip-hop at the time. Eventually, Dame Dash inked him to a deal with Roc-A-Fella Records where he released his debut album, The College Dropout.
Whether we're talking three album runs or the strong catalog in hip-hop, Kanye West undoubtedly deserves a spot in these conversations. Late Registration and Graduation rounded out his college-era trilogy while 808s & Heartbreaks shifted music forever, introducing artists like Kid Cudi and shaping the foundation of Drake's emotive sound. While My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasyis a unanimous classic, Yeezus became one of his most polarizing projects to date as he, once again, shifted towards more experimental turf that dived into the sounds of house music and drill.
In later years, he released The Life Of Pablo, a project that felt like a culmination of his career to date, followed by Ye, Jesus Is King, and Dondaand its sequel. Although his latest efforts haven't necessarily been as celebrated as his earlier efforts, Kanye West continues to be one of the most daring and ambitious artists.
Although known as a musician, visual arts remain Kanye West's first love. Over the years, he displayed high levels of interest in design and architecture. His love for fashion has been well-documented over the years, as not only the Louis Vuitton Don but also, his ability to launch new fashion trends. He teamed up with Nike for the Air Yeezy, marking the brand's first non-athlete collaboration. After things fell through, he partnered with Adidas to launch the Yeezy brand, which has become a defining company in streetwear and sneakers.