Kanye West

Kanye West biography

Kanye West (pronounced "KAHN-yay") (born June 8, 1977 in Atlanta, Georgia) is an African American record producer and rapper based in Chicago, Illinois.

After attending a local art school and then Chicago State University, Kanye West dropped out and began working on his music career. Even while attending school, West produced for local acts. He gained some fame by producing hit singles for major Hip-Hop/R&B;artists, including Alicia Keys, Jay-Z, Talib Kweli, Ludacris, and Razman. West himself worked on his solo album for a long period of time, having the release pushed back on multiple occasions.

Due to his appearance and overall style, West struggled to find a way to get his own voice on record. Multiple record companies put him aside because he was not a former 'street hustler' and did not wear the orthodox hip-hop apparel. He was therefore not marketable as an artist portraying the "typical rapper image."

A car crash on October 23, 2002 left his jaw fractured in three places. With his mouth still wired shut and only weeks after his accident, he recorded "Through the Wire."

"Through the Wire", which sampled Chaka Khan's classic track "Through the Fire," would eventually become his lead single from The College Dropout, which was released on Roc-a-Fella Records in February 2004. A later single from the album, "Jesus Walks," would become a major success, and later a staple of his benefit performances, such as at the Live 8 concert.

On August 30th, 2005, Kanye West released his second album Late Registration. The first two singles were "Diamonds From Sierra Leone" (which contained samples from Shirley Bassey's "Diamonds Are Forever") and "Gold Digger" featuring Jamie Foxx. The album went on to sell over 904,000 copies in its first week, and spun off eight Grammy Award nominations including album of the year and record of the year for "Gold Digger." West announced that his third and fourth albums will be titled Graduation and A Good Ass Job, respectively.

West, holder of three Grammys, has collaborated with numerous artists, most notably with rapper Twista on songs such as "Overnight Celebrity" and "Slow Jamz" (also featuring Jamie Foxx) - the latter would reach number one on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles Chart, becoming the first number one hit for all artists involved. West is also featured on Brandy's single, "Talk About Our Love." Others with whom West has collaborated include Jay-Z, Talib Kweli, Dilated Peoples, Mariah Carey, Miri Ben-Ari (whose violin arrangements featured heavily on The College Dropout), and John Legend (who also features on West's first album, providing background vocals). Kanye West is also credited with revitalizing the careers of such rappers as Common and Twista, as well as more recently producing the critically acclaimed The Game track "Dreams."

In early 2005, West coined the term "white crunk" to describe the gritty drum sounds of Scottish alternative dance-rock group Franz Ferdinand, whom he claims is among his favorite bands. West and the band met at the 2005 MTV Europe Music Awards, where they sat down together to share praise and advice. West feels that the white crunk vibe has affected his new work, and is best exemplified on the track Diamonds from Sierra Leone, from his 2005 album Late Registration. The band itself is also greatly influenced by Kanye and sought advice from him on how to improve production for their 2005 album You Could Have It So Much Better.

On July 2, 2005, West appeared on the Philadelphia bill of Live 8, using the global platform to refer to "man-made diseases placed in African communities," endorsing the idea that AIDS was created by the U.S. government to exterminate Africans.

In "Crack Music", he raps, "How [will] we stop the Black Panthers?/Ronald Reagan cooked up an answer." In the second verse, he raps, "Who gave Saddam anthrax?/George Bush got the answer." He has accused American politicians of insensitivity, claiming they "...[ride] home in their Benzes and Bentleys while poor Africans starve."

On August 22, 2005, the MTV special All Eyes on Kanye West aired, on which West said that the term "gay" is the exact opposite word of "hip-hop" to many. He said that hip hop has always been about "speaking your mind and about breaking down barriers, but everyone in hip-hop discriminates against gay people." He then reflected on a personal experience. He said that he had ... "a turning point" when he realized that his cousin was gay. He said, regarding this experience, "Yo, this is my cousin. I love him and I've been discriminating against gays." He further said, "Not just hip-hop but America just discriminates" against gay people. He concluded by saying "... And I wanna just, to come on TV and just tell my rappers, just tell my friends, 'Yo, stop it.'" He also drew comparison between African Americans' struggle for civil rights and today's gay rights movement.

On September 2, 2005, during a benefit concert for Hurricane Katrina relief on NBC, West was a featured speaker. When he was presenting, West deviated from the prepared script:

"I hate the way they portray us in the media. You see a black family, it says, 'They're looting.' You see a white family, it says, 'They're looking for food.' And, you know, it's been five days [waiting for federal help] because most of the people are black. And even for me to complain about it, I would be a hypocrite because I've tried to turn away from the TV because it's too hard to watch. I've even been shopping before even giving a donation, so now I'm calling my business manager right now to see what is the biggest amount I can give, and just to imagine if I was down there, and those are my people down there. So anybody out there that wants to do anything that we can help -- with the way America is set up to help the poor, the black people, the less well-off, as slow as possible. I mean, the Red Cross is doing everything they can. We already realize a lot of people that could help are at war right now, fighting another way -- and they've given them permission to go down and shoot us!"
Mike Myers, whom West was paired with to present, spoke next and continued as normal by reading the script. Once it was West's turn to speak again, he said, "George Bush doesn't care about Black people".

Although the camera quickly cut away, West's comments still reached the U.S. East Coast in the live news-feed, but they were removed by the network when the concert was re-broadcast on the West Coast three hours later.

After the 2006 Grammy nominations were released, West said he would "really have a problem" if he didn't win the Album of the Year award because of the comments, saying: "I don't care what I do, I don't care how much I stunt - you can never take away from the amount of work I put into it. I don't want to hear all of that politically correct stuff."

"GOOD Music" (an acronym for Getting Out Our Dreams), the record label founded by Kanye West, has already released John Legend's platinum selling debut album Get Lifted, along with Common's latest certified gold album - Be. Other artists on the GOOD Music label include GLC, Consequence, Really Doe, SA-RA Creative Partners, and Farnsworth Bentley.

In September 2005, West announced that he will release his Pastelle Clothing line in spring 2006. He said of the decision, "Now that I have a Grammy under my belt and Late Registration [West's second album] is finished, I am ready to launch my clothing line next spring."

In 2005, Kanye West received ten Grammy Award nominations, making him the most nominated artist of 2005. At the 47th Annual Grammy Awards ceremony held on February 13, 2005, West won Best Rap Album for his album The College Dropout, Best Rap Song for his single "Jesus Walks", and Best R&B;Song for producing Alicia Keys' "You Don't Know My Name".

His 2005 Grammy nominations were:

Album of the Year for The Diary Of Alicia Keys (as a producer)
Album of the Year for The College Dropout
Song of the Year for "Jesus Walks"
Best New Artist
Best R&B;Song for "You Don't Know My Name" (as a songwriter)
Best Rap Solo Performance for "Through The Wire"
Best Rap/Sung Collaboration for "All Falls Down"
Best Rap/Sung Collaboration for "Slow Jamz" (with Twista & Jamie Foxx)
Best Rap Song for "Jesus Walks"
Best Rap Album for The College Dropout
His work with pop icon Janet Jackson also earned him a nomination for her single "I Want You," produced by West, which was nominated for Best Female R&B;Vocal Performance.

After losing the Best New Artist award to Gretchen Wilson at the 2004 American Music Awards, West went on a rant against the music industry, claiming "I was the best new artist this year," and "I got 10 Grammy nominations, and won three - even if I should have won all 10".

In 2006, West is nominated for 8 awards, tied for the most with Mariah Carey and West's own protege, John Legend. His Nominations Include:

Album of the Year & Best Rap Album-'Late Registration'
Album of the Year-'The Emancipation of Mimi'
Best Rap Solo Performance & Record of the Year: "Gold Digger" (featuring Jamie Foxx)
Best R&B;Song: "Unbreakable"
Best Rap/Sung Collaboration: "Heard 'Em Say" (featuring Adam Levine)
Best Rap Song: "Diamonds (From Sierra Leone)"

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