Kanye West

Making his name as producer for Lil' Kim, Janet Jackson and, most notably, Jay-Z's Blueprint album, Kanye West, born June 8, 1977 in Atlanta, Georgia, experienced a middle-class upbringing that made him different from most rappers. His debut album The College Dropout (2004) mixed rap beats with socially-conscious soul while singles “Jesus Walks” and “All Falls Down” showcased a strutting flamboyance. Chart-topping second album Late Registration (2007) won mass acclaim with worldwide hits “Gold Digger” and “Touch the Sky” before the more introspective Graduation (2007). 808s & Heartbreak (2008) featured contributions from Mr. Hudson, Lil Wayne and Kid Cudi. However, the following year, he caused outrage in the media after he stormed the stage during Taylor Swift's acceptance speech at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards. After cancelling his tour with Lady Gaga and taking a break to regroup after the controversy, he released his fifth album, 2010’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. Noted as a comeback record, in won a Grammy for Best Rap Album and was named Best Album of 2010 by Billboard, Time, and Rolling Stone magazines. He followed this with Yeezus in 2013 which gave him his fifth consecutive number 1 on the Billboard 200. 2016’s The Life of Pablo debuted at number 1. He announced a tour to accompany the album but after his wife Kim Kardashian was robbed in Paris mid-tour, he cancelled the remainder of the dates. He was also later admitted for psychiatric observation after suffering from sleep deprivation and dehydration. He took a break away from the public eye for almost a year, returning in 2017 with news of new music. He released Ye in 2018 to mixed reviews though the album gave him another number 1 on the Billboard 200. 2019’s Jesus Is King coincided with a short concert film of the same name. Later that year, Jesus Is Born arrived on Christmas Day with his gospel group Sunday Service Choir. For 2021’s ambitious Donda, Kanye West attempted to synthesize all of his previous influences over an album that ran nearly two hours. He then collaborated with Ty Dolla Sign for 2024's Vultures 1, which the two released under the duo name ¥$. Vultures 1 debuted at Number 1 on the Billboard 200 that February.

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