Music

Kanye West

Born 8 June 1977.
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Kanye West. Zane Lowe. Part 4.

Kanye West. Zane Lowe. Part 4.

Featured in BBC Music Clips
 

Biography

Kanye Omari West (born June 8, 1977) is an American rapper, songwriter, record producer, film director, entrepreneur, and fashion designer. West first gained prominence as a producer for Roc-A-Fella Records; he achieved recognition for his work on rapper Jay-Z's The Blueprint (2001), as well as hit singles for musical artists including Alicia Keys, Ludacris, and Janet Jackson. His style of production originally used high-pitched vocal samples from soul songs incorporated with his own drums and instruments. He later broadened his influences to include 1970s R&B, baroque pop, trip hop, arena rock, folk, alternative, electronica, synthpop, industrial, and classical music.

West was raised in a middle-class household in Chicago, Illinois, and began rapping in the third grade, becoming involved in the city's hip hop scene. West attended art school for one semester before dropping out to pursue music entirely in the late 1990s. Although his real desire was to become a rapper, record executives did not take West seriously, viewing him as a producer first and foremost. After being signed to Roc-A-Fella in 2002, West released his debut album The College Dropout in 2004 to commercial and critical acclaim. The baroque-inspired Late Registration followed in 2005, and Graduation in 2007. West switched rapping for singing on his emotive 2008 effort 808's & Heartbreak, and embraced maximalism on 2010's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. Following several collaborations, West released his sixth album, Yeezus, in 2013.

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Links & Information

Labels

  • Founded G.O.O.D. Music

Personal Relationships

BBC Reviews

  1. Review of My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

    My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy 2010

    Reviewed by Stephen Kelly
    Kayne’s dark days have produced an album of awe-inspiring design.
  2. Review of 808s & Heartbreak

    808s & Heartbreak 2008

    Reviewed by Dennis O'Dell
    When is a rapper not a rapper? When he's Kanye West!
  3. Review of Graduation

    Graduation 2007

    Reviewed by Jerome Blakeney
    The world's most modest hip hop star releases album number three.
  4. Review of Late Registration

    Late Registration 2005

    Reviewed by Maxine Headley
    ...it wouldn't be a Kanye album without humour, wit and perverse ambition!
  5. Review of The College Dropout

    The College Dropout 2004

    Reviewed by Louis Pattison
    An audacious stunt that only one with his towering ego would dare attempt.
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