Kanye Omari West is an American rap singer, producer and songwriter, who is currently one of the most celebrated as well as controversial artists in the world. West was born on June 8, 1977 in Atlanta to Ray and Donda West. His parents got divorced when he was three years old, and he moved to Chicago with his mother, who was an English professor and the Chair of the English Department at Chicago State University. After graduating from Polaris High School, West enrolled in Chicago State University art school, but dropped out after one year to pursue a full time career in music.
West moved to New York in 2001 where he collaborated with the celebrated rapper Jay-Z to help produce his hit album “Blueprint”. He also produced albums for other well known artists such as Ludacris and Beyoncé. In 2002, he signed a deal with Jay-Z’s company, Roc-A-Fella Records. However, he was involved in a tragic car crash the same year, when he fell asleep while driving back home from Los Angeles after a major recording session. He suffered serious injuries, including a broken jaw.
West worked with dedication to keep his debut album going and wrote and performed the song “Through the Wire” about his near death experience, even with his jaw still partially wired shut. The album was completed and released in 2004. It was titled “The College Dropout” and was a huge success, had sales of more than 2 million and received three American Music Award nominations. However, when the award for “Best New Artist” was given to the country music singer Gretchen Wilson, West walked out of the ceremony proclaiming that he thought he deserved it more. He later apologized for his previous outburst at a press conference before the Grammys, where he later won the “Best Rap Album” award. His next album was released in 2005, titled “Late Registration”. This was an even bigger success, and got him 10 nominations at the Grammys, out of which he won 3 awards for “Best Rap Album”, “Best Rap Song” and “Best R&B Song”. He was also on the cover of Time magazine, and listed as one of the most influential people of the year.
In 2007, Kanye West released his third album titled “Graduation” which was also a huge success and for which he received another Grammy Award for “Best Rap Album”. His mother also died the same year due to complications from cosmetic surgery and West was inconsolable, as she had supported him all the way. He paid a tribute to his mother at the Grammy Awards and her death was a big influence on his next album “808s & Heartbreak”. He released his new album “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” in 2010 which received rave reviews from critics and included many collaborations with other artists. He then released the album “Yeezus” in 2013 which also debuted at the top of the charts, making this his sixth consecutive chart topping album.
West has been notorious for his controversial behavior and outrageous statements. At the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards, he jumped on stage during Taylor Swift’s award acceptance speech and ranted about how his friend Beyonce truly deserved the award. He later apologized through a phone call to Swift. He also had a tiff with the popular talk show host Jimmy Kimmel, which was later resolved on air during Kimmel’s talk show where he was invited as a guest. Kanye West is married to the reality TV star Kim Kardashian and the couple have a daughter named North West, born in June 2013. Their wedding was a grand affair, with the rehearsal dinner held at Versailles, and the ceremony being held in Florence. The famous Italian opera singer Andrea Bocelli performed at their wedding. West is presently recording his seventh album, which is set to release in 2014.