Happy Birthday, Kanye West!
Today, June 8, is the birthday of Chicago producer, MC and musical visionary Kanye West, who now turns 41.
To some, Kanye West is a name synonymous with award show meltdowns, extended interview rants and being the husband of Kim Kardashian, the woman who made "famous for being famous" a full time job. Many, however, forget that Kanye spent years behind the scenes and diligently worked his way to the top of the music industry.
West began his music career as a producer in the mid-1990s for small time Chicago artists and, later, bigger names. 'Ye worked with Foxy Brown, Jermaine Dupri, Nas and more. There was a time when producing Jay-Z’s smash single “Izzo (H.O.V.A.)” from The Blueprint was his biggest claim to fame. In addition to producing, West was shopping his demo CD around in an effort to convince labels that his musical ability was not just behind the boards.
West finally got a chance to show his stuff when Dame Dash signed him to Roc-A-Fella Records in the early 2000s. He recorded his debut album, The College Dropout, while recovering from a near-fatal car accident, a moment in his life that marked a turning point for the budding MC. The College Dropout was released in February 2004 to rave reviews (XXL gave the record a perfect XXL rating), impressive record sales and 10 Grammy nominations.
Since then, it's been up from there. Over the years in the spotlight, 'Ye has notched six platinum-selling solo albums and garnered 21 Grammys. Thanks to his musical genius, his ambitious business ventures in the worlds of film and fashion and his outspoken personality, West has become one of hip-hop's most popular, and some might say infamous and polarizing, public figures.
In 2015, Kanye West released his first installment of his Adidas clothing line, announced he had a second baby on the way with wife Kim Kardashian-West and was named one of Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People. West surprised everyone in February 2016 with a very unusual album rollout to his seventh studio LP, The Life of Pablo. None the less, 'Ye created beautiful chaos with songs like "Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 1," "Ultralight Beam," "Fade" and "Famous."
Throughout 2017 and 2018, Kanye's legendary status proved to impenetrable as his fans continued wanting more from the Chicago rapper despite his controversial antics. It was at some point that year that he ventured to the hills of Wyoming to start making new music. It was out of these sessions that he produced the entirety of Pusha-T's Daytona album and recorded and produced his Ye album. More than 20 years into his career, Pablo continues showing why he is the musical force to be reckoned with.
Happy Birthday, Yeezy!
See Photos of Kanye West's Different Looks Over the Years