Kanye West

Kanye West and the Controversy of His Music: The Life of Kanye


      Kanye Omari West was born June 8, 1977 in Atlanta, Georgia. His parents, Ray and Donda, divorced when he was just three years old. His mother, Donda, later got a job teaching at Chicago State University. From then on, Kanye was raised in South Shore, Chicago by his mother. From a young age Kanye was drawn to hip hop in Chicago. After his high school graduation, he was granted a scholarship to attend Chicago’s American Academy of the Arts- where he later dropped out to pursue his musical career. His mother Donda, passed away in 2007, a loss that greatly affected Kanye and his music. 



Kanye West’s first album, The College Dropout, changed the hip-hop industry, but his fame did not come easy. It took years for West to be accepted into the hip-hop industry. The co-owner of Roc-a-fella Records, Damon Dash, decided to take a chance on the art-school dropout and sign him. Kanye then went to work on his first album, The College Dropout. While in the process of making the album, Kanye was in a terrible accident that almost cost him his life. This accident did not stop him, it only fed his creativity and he used the music as a distraction from the pain he was in. He turned “tragedy into triumph”, and while in recovery with a wired shut jaw, he wrote the song “Through the Wire.” His album was released February 10, 2004. It reached No. 2 on the US Billboard chart. it also won Best Rap Album at the 2005 Grammy’s. 


Kanye has explored many different styles of music over the span of his career including; hip hop, soul, indie rock, and gospel. Kanye also repopularized soul sampling. Before he gained his fame he produced Jay-Z’s album “The Blueprint”, where he sampled Jackson 5, David Ruffin, and many other soul artists. Kanye also “broke the rules” of the hip-hop industry. In the early 2000’s, hip-hop had a specific sound and mostly glorified luxurious lifestyles. Kanye changed the game with his first album, The College Dropout, which covered issues on religion and family rather than praising material things. Kanye was viewed as the relatable artist.  

Worship Music

Kanye’s father, Ray West, was a Christian counselor. This may explain Kanye’s strong faith which shines through in his newest album, “Jesus is King.” Kanye has also started his own Gospel group entitled, “Sunday Service.” He takes his own songs and puts a gospel spin on them. He sometimes uses R&B classics as well. The group performs every Sunday and they also travel to different churches to perform. There’s been a lot of controversy around Kanye and his religion. Some people think he views himself as God and others believe he actually worships the devil. Regardless of others’ opinions Kanye continues making gospel music. 


In conclusion, Kanye West is one of the most acclaimed artist of the decade. He is a superb artist and musician. Over the course of his career he has had 6 consecutive number one albums and won 21 Grammys. Could Kanye possibly be the greatest hip-hop producer of all time?

Works Cited

Roazen, Ben. “Kanye West’s Sunday Service- a Religious Experience or a Celebrity Cult?” okayplayer, April 2019 https://www.okayplayer.com/music/kanye-west-sunday-service-coachella-what-is-it.htm

Holmes, Charles. “Kanye West, Despite Himself, Is Bigger Than Ever.” Rolling Stone, October 25, 2019. https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-features/business-of-being-kanye-west-903407/

Schroeder, Jack. “Kanye West’s Albums, Ranked.” The Harvard Crimson, November 5, 2019. https://www.thecrimson.com/article/2019/11/5/kanye-west-album-ranking/

Biography.com Editors. “Kanye West Biography.” April 2, 2014. https://www.biography.com/musician/kanye-west

Kautz, Justin. “Kanye West American Producer and Rapper.” November 1, 2019.  https://www.britannica.com/biography/Kanye-West

Yeung,Neil. “Kanye West.”  All Music. https://www.allmusic.com/artist/kanye-west-mn0000361014/biography

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