Kanye West

Kanye West has a long-lasting career of being a producer-rapper extraordinaire. In the 1990s, the journey started when West racked up beat credits for local acts like Grav. After a one-album stint as a rapper and producer with a group called The Go Getters, the Atlanta-born, Chicago-raised musician's buzz grew in the 2000s after making beats for artists like Jay-Z (“Izzo (H.O.V.A.))”, Talib Kweli (“Get By”) and Scarface (“Guess Who’s Back?”).

After establishing himself as a tastemaker, largely credited to his success in making chipmunk soul samples prominent on a mainstream level, record labels started calling. A deal with Capitol Records was snatched off of the offering table, leading to him signing with Roc-A-Fella Records, whom he was already working with as an in-house producer.

A car accident in 2002 shattered his jaw, leading to the creation of “Through the Wire” and launching Ye’s career as a solo act. The Billboard Hot 100 top 25 hit was the lead single to his debut album College Dropout (2004). Yeezy’s success from the multiplatinum-selling project was far from temporary. The rest of the decade was certified by coveted releases like Late Registration (2005), Graduation (2007), the Auto-Tune-laden 808s & Heartbreaks (2008).

Around that time, Kanye also launched his G.O.O.D. Music imprint, signing artists like the Clipse's Pusha-T, Big Sean and Kid Cudi, who all make appearances on Ye’s arguable magnum opus My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (2010). Ye spent the next decade dropping efforts like Yeezus (2013), and walking in his shoes as a music executive and fashion icon, as his Yeezy brand was also hot in the streets. In those two decades and through the release of nine solo albums and two collaborations (one with Hov and one with Cudi), Ye walked into the 2020s with 21 Grammys, dozens of album and song platinum plaques, and nearly 100 appearances on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

Twenty-twenty-one outputs like Donda show that Ye hasn’t lost a step in terms of his production prowess and unparalleled rhyme schemes. Though he’s been the center of much controversy, related to his ex-wife Kim Kardashian, his affiliation with Donald Trump or his presidency candidacy, he’ll always be regarded by many as of the most talented entertainers across any genre.

  • Selected Discography: Graduation (2007), 808s & Heartbreak (2008), My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (2010), “Stronger” (2007), “Power” (2010), “N****as in Paris” with Jay-Z (2011)
  • Related Artists: Travis Scott, Drake, Kid Cudi
  • Read More: Most Impactful Producers in Hip-Hop

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