The Life of Kanye West
By: Diamond Burton
Kayne Omari West, was born in Atlanta on June 8, 1977. His parents were Ray west who was a photojournalist, black panther and a Christian counselor, and Donda West who was a English Professor at Chicago State. His parents got a divorce and he moved to the South Side of Chicago with his mother. When he was 10 years old, he moved to China for a year. When Kanye returned to Chicago he became interested in the South Side of Chicago’s hip hop scene. He became friends with a DJ/ Producer named No I.D, who later became a mentor to Kanye. After graduating from Polaris High School, Kanye received a scholarship for him to attend Chicago’s American Academy of Art, but later dropped out to persue music.After he was producing for local artists, he was known for a style called “chipmunk soul”. In 2001 he moved to New York and his career finally started to take off. He produced Jay Z’s “This Can’t Be Life”. After this, he produced for other artists like Alicia Keys, Beyonce and Ludacris. Kanye initially wanted to be a rapper but felt that he did not have the “gangsta” image at that time. He was an artsy middle class kid who wore pink polo shirts and Gucci loafers. In 2002, Damon Dash signed Kanye to Roc-A-Fella, but only so that Kanye would stay a producer.
On October 23, 2002, West was going home from a recording session in California and fell asleep at the wheel. He was in a head on car crash that left him with a broken and shattered jaw. At that point, he had no health insurance and had to have reconstructive surgery. He wrote and recordered “Through the wire” while his jaw was still wired shut. This song helped create the hype for Kanye’s First album, “The College Drop Out” which had two of his gospel choir backed “Jesus Walks” and “All Falls Down”. That year at the Grammy Awards, Kanye won three awards including Best Rap Album and Best Rap Song. On August 30, 2005, West’s second Album (Late Registration) debuted at number one with hits like “Diamonds From Sierra Leone”, “Gold Digger” and “Touch the Sky”.
On September 11, 2017 when Kanye released him third album, Graduation, it was the same day that 50 Cent dropped his album “Curtis”. This caused a rivalry between the two artists which got Kanye another Rolling Stone cover. At this time, Kanye was on top of his career. He was the one rapper he put an end to gangsta rap. Then, in November of 2007, his mother died from a heart attack from a cosmetic surgery. (This is when he started doing that crazy stuff). During the first concert after his mother’s funeral, him and fiancée, Alexis Phifer broke up.
After the Taylor Swift incident, Kanye took a break from music so that he could focus on fashion. He had done different collaborations with brands like A Bathing Ape and Nike on limited edition shoes since 2006. His first collection was dropped in Paris of 2011. In 2013, Kanye collaborated with a French label called APC on a capsule collection and signed a $10 million deal with ADIDAS, releasing his first clothing collection called Yeezy Season 1 in October of 2015.
On October 21, 2013 at the AT&T baseball stadium in San Francisco, Kanye proposed to Kim Kardashian and they married on May 24, 2014.
America's Favorite Bad Guy
There are many different reasons why Kanye was labled as America’s favorite bad guy. Kanye has always had a personality where he shows that he does not mind being blunt. His first public controversary was in 2005 during a telethon for Hurrican Katrina relief on NBC. Kanye decided to go off script and say “I hate the way they portray us in the media. You see a black family, it says they’re looting. If you see a white familty, it says they’re looking for food…George Bush doesn’t care about black people”. Kanye called out the Presiedent of the United States on national television! That statement caused a lot of uproar and NBC issused an apology.
In 2009, Kanye caused another controversry. At the Video Music Awards as Taylor Swift was accepting the award for Best Female Video, Kanye ran on stage, snatched her mic and argued that Beyonce should have won. Later, Kanye apologized by then retracted that apology in a New York Times interview in 2013.
In September of 2014 a twitter beef between Kanye and Jimmy Kemmel erupted after Kimmel mocked an interview that Kanye had given to the BBC in the United Kingdom. Kimmel hired young child actors to say some of Kanye’s most wildest quotes on his show. Kanye responded with a tweet saying “Jimmy Kimmel is out of line and to try and spoof in any way the first piece of honest media in years”. As you can see, Kanye loves twitter.
At the 2015 Grammys, Kanye objected to Beck winning the best album award. After the ceremony Kanye said “Beck needs to respect artistry, and he should have given his award to Beyoncé”. Like always, a few months later he retracted the statement during an interview with the Sunday Times newspaper in England.
Before he released his 7th album, The life of Pablo, he hit the headlines over a few of his controversial tweets. One tweet that he made declared that Bill Cosby, who was on trial for drugging and raping women, was innocent. He also started beef with Wiz Khalifia, another rapped who is the father of his ex girlfriend’s child, whom he mistakenly believed criticized Kim Kardashian. Kanye tweeted “I am your OG and I will be respected as such. He also apologized to Michael Jordan for dissing him in his lyrics. The day after the new album dropped, Kanye randomly urged his twitter followers to persuade Mark Zuckerberg to invest $1 billion into his ideas. He also stated that he $53 million in debt.
Best Friends to Public Enemies
“Jay Z, call me, bruh…I know you got killers. Please don’t send them at my head” said Kanye as he finished a rant about radio playlists, MTV, Obama, Beyoncé and Jay Z. Kanye and Jay Z were the closest friends in hip hop, having spent years working and support each other. After Kanye’s talent was discovered by Jay Z, he was mentored by him for many years and helped stimulate Jay Z’s career. Kanye worked as a producer for Rock-A-Fella records before being signed as a rapper. The dynamic duo recorded many tracks together including Monster and Run This Town. They then did a collaboration album called Watch The Throne in 2011.
The tension between the two started after Kanye’s impulsive invasion to Taylor Swift which upstaged her and Beyoncé. When Jay and Beyonce did not attend Kanye and Kim’s wedding the public started to question if there was trouble between the two. When Kim was robber in Paris, Jay failed to support Kanye during his “hour of need”.
In November of 2016, he launched a 17 minute speech at the Saint Pablo Tour concert in Sacromento, California that went from him supporting Donald Trump to him asking Jay Z not to get him killed.
When Jay Z released 4:44 in 2017, he sent out out several subliminal disses to Kanye calling him insane. Following this, Kanye took all his music off Tidal, which is owned by Jay Z. Kanye then announced that was “done with streaming”. In July 2017 Jay Z admitted that him and Kanye did have a brotherly rivalry. In a most recent interview (May 2018) Kanye stated to IHeartRadio that was hurt that Jay Z and Beyonce didnt attend him and Kim’s Wedding.
- The College Dropout (2004)
- Late Registration (2005)
- Graduation (2007)
- 808s & Heartbreak (2008)
- My beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (2010)
- Yeezus (2013)
- The Life of Pablo (2016)