With eight studio albums which are all highly-regarded, Kanye West is undeniably one of the most critically acclaimed musicians of the 21st century and with a total of 21 Grammy Awards, he joined the likes of Jay-Z, Quincy Jones, Beyonce, Alison Krauss on the list of the most awarded artists of all time.
Asides making his marks in the sands of music, West is also making a name for himself in other spheres like business, fashion and even acting. Here is everything, you have to know about one of Time magazine’s most influential people in the world.
Kanye West’s Bio
Kanye West was born in Atlanta, Georgia on the 8th day of June 1977 as Kanye Omari. His parents – Ray West and Donda C. (Williams) West separated when he was just 3 years old and he moved to Chicago, Illinois with his mother. His dad was one of the first black photojournalists that worked with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, he was also a former Black Panther. He currently resides in Maryland, where he owns a Good Water Store and Café at Lexington Park.
His mom is an English professor. Before retiring, she taught at Nanjing University China, Clark Atlanta University, and was also headed the English Department at Chicago State University. She currently works as her son’s manager.
Following his parents’ divorce, Kanye West spent his early years in Illinois and attended Polaris High School Oak Lawn, Illinois until the age of ten when he moved to China with his mother, where she taught at the Nanjing University. His passion for music and the arts began quite early his mother recalls he began writing poetry as early as the age of five and began rapping at his third grade. By his seventh grade, he was making musical composition and selling it to other artists.
After high school, he got a scholarship to attend Chicago’s American Academy of Art, shortly after, he transferred to Chicago State University to study English, but soon dropped out to pursue his musical career.
Kanye West met producer DJ No I.D. early in life, he became his mentor and taught him how to sample beats. So after dropping out of college, West began creating beats basically for local artists.
He soon developed a style of beat that involved speeding up vocal samples from classic soul records. His first official production credits came after he produced eight tracks on Down to Earth, Grav’s (Chicago rapper) debut album.
He worked as a ghost for Deric “D-Dot” Angelettie and due to his relationship with D-Dot, he wasn’t permitted to release his own solo album and as a result of that, he went ahead to form a rap group named Go-Getters alongside Really Doe, Arrowstar, Timmy G, and GLC. The group was managed by “Monopoly” (John Johnson) Happy Lewis and Don Crowley.
After appearing on a few radio programs and taking a series of promotional photo shoots, in 1999 the group released its first and only studio album till date. The album World Record Holders featured other rappers from Chicago in the likes of Miss Criss, Rhymefest, Shayla G and Mikkey Halsted.
Kanye West spent the whole of the 1990s producing beats and sounds for notable musical artists and groups. His big break began in 2000 when he began producing for labels like the Roc-A-Fella Records. He was credited as one of the brains behind Jay-Z’s 2001 album The Blueprint, which was successful both critically and financially and still ranks among the greatest hip-hop albums of all times.
The album further announced West’s productional abilities, while keeping his job as Roc-A-Fella Records in-house producer intact, he served as a producer for other artists on the label. He is also crafted hit songs for other well-known artists like Janet Jackson, Ludacris, and Alicia Keys.
Despite his success as a producer, West still had his eyes on building a career as a rapper and being successful at it. He struggled to be land a record deal, all to no avail as he was denied an artist deal over and again. However, the year 2002 became a remarkable year for him.
Returning from California late at night after a busy day at work, Kanye West was involved in a very fatal accident which left him with a wired jaw, while at the hospital, he got an inspiration which led him to the Record Plant Studios where he recorded a debut single entitled “Through The Wire”. The single laid the foundation for his debut album “The College Dropout” which he dropped in February 2004. The album was a huge success, it sold over 2.6 million copies.
Kanye West has released seven other studio albums since his debut album. They are Late Registration (2005), Graduation (2007), 808s & Heartbreak (2008), My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (2010), Yeezus (2013), The Life of Pablo (2016) and the most recent
“Ye” released in 2018.
West is the 11th most awarded artists of all time with 21 Grammy Awards, and the 6th most nominated for Grammys with sixty-eight nominations. He is the 15th most celebrated artist in the history of popular music, the 7th most celebrated solo artist and the third on Billboard’s list of Top 10 Producers of the Decade.
His Net Worth
Despite revealing in 2016 that he is in debt to the tune of $53 million, records still show the famous rapper has an estimated net worth of $160 million. His wealth is not just from his musical career but also from his investments and business ventures.
He owns his own record label named G.O.O.D Music, which he founded in 2004. He also has his own clothing line Yeezy, which are into the production of trainers, hoodies, and lots more.
In 2017, he sold his Bel-Air home which he bought for $9 million for a whopping sum of $17.8 million. making it one of the most expensive sales ever made in the exclusive Bel-Air Crest community.
Family And Kids
The rapper is currently married to reality show star Kim Kardashian. West and Kim began dating in April 2012, got engaged in October 2013 and finally tied the knots as man and wife in May 2014.
The couple has three children together, North West, Saint West and Chicago West, they welcomed the latter in 2018 via surrogate.
Kanye West’s Relationships Through The Years
Before settling down with Kim, Kanye West dated a handful of women. He was in a long off-and-on relationship with designer Alexis Phifer. They decided to take their relationship to the next level by getting engaged in 2006 but their engagement only lasted 18-month.
After his relationship with Phifer ended, West began dating model Amber Ross. Their relationship lasted till the summer of 2010. From 2010 to 2011, he dated Victoria Secret’s model Chanel Iman.
He has also been linked to other women including Sumeke Rainey, Virginie Maury, Melody Thornton, Selita Ebanks, Sessilee Lopez, Brooke Crittenden, and even Rihanna.