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Kanye West Biography

Kanye West Biography

Kanye Omari West (pronounced /ˈkɑnjɛj/) (born June 8, 1977 Atlanta, Georgia) is an American record producer and is a multiple Grammy Award-winning rapper and singer who rose to fame in the mid 2000s. He released his debut album The College Dropout in 2004, his second album Late Registration in 2005, and his third album Graduation in 2007. His first three albums have received numerous awards (including nine Grammys), critical acclaim, and commercial success. West also runs his own record label GOOD Music. West's mascot and trademark is a teddy bear, which has appeared on the covers of his three albums as well as the single cover for his song "Stronger." West was born in Atlanta, Georgia, where he lived with both of his parents. When he was three years old (as mentioned in "Hey Mama") his parents divorced, and he and his mother moved to Chicago, Illinois. His father was Ray West, a former Black Panther who was one of the first black photojournalists at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and is now a Christian counselor. Kanye's late mother, Dr. Donda West, worked as a Professor of English at Clark Atlanta University, and the Chair of the English Department at Chicago State University before retiring to serve as Kanye's manager.

He was later raised in an upper middle class background, attending Polaris High School in suburban Oak Lawn, Illinois after living in Chicago. Kanye took some art classes at the American Academy of Art, a Chicago art school, and also enrolled at Chicago State University, but eventually dropped out due to poor grades and in order to continue working on his music career. While attending school, West produced for local artists. He later gained fame by producing hit singles for major hip hop/R&B artists, including Jay-Z, Talib Kweli, Cam'ron, Paul Wall, Common, Mobb Deep, Jermaine Dupri, Scarface, The Game, Alicia Keys, Janet Jackson and John Legend among others. He also "ghost-produced" for his once mentor Deric Angelettie according to his song "Last Call" and the credits of Nas' "Poppa Was a Playa." West's style of production often utilizes pitched-up vocal samples, usually from soul songs, with his own drums and instruments. The first major label song he produced was The Truth by Beanie Sigel, and his first major release featuring his trademark vocal sampling style was "This Can't Be Life," a track from Jay-Z’s The Dynasty: Roc La Familia. West said he sped up the drum beat of Dr. Dre's "Xxplosive" to use as a replacement for his drums on "This Can't Be Life."

West has said that Wu-Tang Clan producer RZA influenced him in his style, and has said on numerous occasions that Wu-Tang rappers Ghostface Killah and Ol' Dirty Bastard were some of his all-time favorites. Said by Kanye West: "Wu-Tang? Me and my friends talk about this all the time… We think Wu-Tang had one of the biggest impacts as far as a movement. From slang to style of dress, skits, the samples. Similar to the [production] style I use, RZA has been doing that.". On February 10, 2008, at the 50th annual Grammy Awards, Kanye West won four Grammy awards: Best Rap Album for Graduation Best Rap Solo Performance for "Stronger" from Graduation Best Rap Song for "Good Life" from Graduation (with Aldrin Davis, Faheem Najm, James Ingram & Quincy Jones) Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group for "Southside" (with Common) During the four-hour televised Grammy Awards ceremony, West also perfomed two songs: "Stronger" (with Daft Punk) and "Hey Mama" (in honor of his recently deceased mother).


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