Artist Profile: Kanye West


(Image via Wikipedia Commons)

Jelani Dupon, Writer

Kanye Omari West, better known as Kanye, is an American rapper, producer, and fashion designer. Born June 8th, 1977 in Atlanta, Kayne soon moved with his mother to Chicago, where he spent his childhood. Coming from the bottom of the windy city to a household name isn’t an easy feat, and this is what got him there. 

Kanye’s first album, The College Dropout (2004), broke him out to the musical world. With hit songs including “All Falls Down” and “Through The Wire”, the album soared to platinum status quickly within its release, and as of 2015 is certified triple platinum, and was a superstar start to his career. Just over a year later Kayne dropped his second studio album, 2005’s Late Registration. This album wasn’t as popular as his first album, although it had one breakthrough song, “Gold Digger” which featured actor Jamie Foxx as the background vocals. This song exposed Kanye’s half-rhyme ability, he was able to rhyme words with similar, but not identical sounds, something that would eventually become a trademark for his songs. Kayne’s third and arguably best album, Graduation (2007), featured mainstream songs such as “Stronger” and “Flashing Lights”. This album blew up and sold almost a million copies within the first week alone, and is certified double platinum. This was Kanye’s last album with great success, and the late 2000s was the peak of his career. West started a new career, fashion designing, in 2009, and began to build that part of his to eventually get his own major fashion line, “Yeezy”, which eventually got him partnered up with iconic sports clothing brand “Adidas”. Saying that Kanye investing his time into a brand was a good idea is an understatement, as West is projected to make 1.3 billion dollars from it.

At the start of a new decade, Kanye dropped his fifth studio album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (2010). Although his sales were still declining, this album did do better than his fourth and had two hits, “POWER” and “Devil In A New Dress” which featured rapper Rick Ross. To fans, this album wasn’t a flop but wasn’t his best work either, and the prediction that his music career was fading out of the spotlight turned out to be true as the years went on. In fact, from the beginning of the decade to nearly the end, not much was said about West, until his political views propelled him back into the celebrity spotlight. Kanye West came out publicly as a trump supporter and was even recorded on T.V talking to President Donald Trump in his office. This came as a shock to most because of what the “normal” Trump supporter would look like, a clear opposite from Kanye. It didn’t help his case that in late 2018 Kayne was quoted as saying “When you hear about slavery for 400 years…For 400 years? That sounds like a choice.” Kanye had always been a face in the Hip Hop community since his very first album, but that quote took some of that away, this quote didn’t diminish his awards or any of his records, but rather people’s respect towards him. Whether you agree or disagree with what he said, Kanye West made himself an icon of the 21st century, and nobody can take that away from him.