Celebrity Then And Now
Kanye West
Name: Kanye West
Birthdate: January 1, 1970
Famous Years: 2004 - Present
Currently Known For: "Ye"
Networth: $160 MillionFamous For: "The College Dropout," "Late Registration," "808s & Heartbreak"
Kanye West
Name Kanye West
Birthdate January 1, 1970
Famous Years 2004 - Present
Currently Known For "Ye"
Networth $160 Million
Famous For "The College Dropout," "Late Registration," "808s & Heartbreak"

Whether you love him or hate him, Kanye West is certainly one of the most influential rappers in the music genre’s history. West, who was born in Atlanta on June 8, 1977, is more associated with the city of Chicago, where he had grown up after turning three years old. It was there that West started to gain an interest in the arts, writing poetry almost as soon as he could.

Before he even became a teenager, West was starting to write his own music and started to record his music with the support of his mother. It was around this time that he had met with producer No I.D. that helped West hone his craft and he focused primarily on his music. West, who had been a good student in high school, struggled in college as he spent more of his attention on his passion.

West would end up dropping out of college so that he could have his full focus on music, but he wouldn’t end up in front of the microphone at first. Instead, West was more interested in producing, and was a master at sampling songs to use in his music. West got his start in the mid 1990s, though not many people would know his name at that time.

West was a producer for many different rap talents in Chicago, and his local success would land him some larger opportunities down the road. West had been producing for the likes of Foxy Brown and working with Jermaine Dupri when he landed the biggest break of his career when he earned a gig with Roc-A-Fella Records. That’s the label that rapper Jay-Z had started, and he had tasked West with helping to produce his record “The Blueprint”.

After achieving this breakthrough as a producer, West wanted to get involved with rapping himself. He had tried multiple times to become a rapper, but was struggling to find a label that would allow him to release his own record. In the midst of his rapping aspirations, West would become involved in a car accident in October 2002 when he fell asleep while driving and broke his jaw so badly that it had to be wired shut.

While that should’ve been the low point of West’s career, it actually ended up being a huge turning point. When he was still recovering from his injuries, West had written the song “Through the Wire” that would prove to be his first major hit. Initially, the song was released as part of a mixtape that gained steam, and was also included on the album “The College Dropout” that was released in February 2004.

People had become interested in West’s debut album thanks to the mixtape, which set up “The College Dropout” as one of the most successful rap albums in history. This album had several singles that would reach the top 10 in the charts, and earned West a Grammy Award for Best Rap Album. In terms of musical debuts, West couldn’t have done it much better.

West didn’t want to disappoint his fans with his follow-up album, so he took some time off and spent a lot of money to make sure that his sophomore album would be perfect. With that, he released “Late Registration” in 2005 that included the hits such as “Touch the Sky” and “Gold Digger”. At this point, West had demonstrated himself as one of the biggest names in rap music and seemingly everything that he touched was gold.

Through the years, West has become a polarizing figure, but even if he does have his detractors (even from his own fanbase), West is still a major figure in hip hop. “The College Dropout” would reach number two on the mainstream charts in 2004, and since then, all of West’s albums have reached the top. His most recent album was released in June 2018 entitled “Ye” that had just seven songs and lasted around 23 minutes.

Of course, these days West is known mostly for his personal life. West is one of the most followed celebrities on social media, often sharing his unique thoughts that have rubbed some people the wrong way. He’s also been in a relationship with reality star Kim Kardashian since early 2012. The couple has become one of the most followed by the media and fans, and their marriage in May 2014 was definitely headline news.

The 41 year old is still married to Kardashian, and the couple has three children together, with the most recent (Chicago West) being born via surrogacy in early 2018. It’s a massive whirlwind of publicity for West, who doesn’t always seem to like being in the spotlight. However, West knows that the mystique that follows him and his relationship with Kardashian only helps to amplify his celebrity.

West went on the record as saying that “I don’t have some type of romantic relationship with the public. I’m like, the anti-celebrity, and my music comes from a place of being anti...I’m going to be cliche for a minute and say that great art comes from pain. But also I’d say a bigger statement than that is: Great art comes from great artists.”

West has said that throughout his career, he doesn’t have any regrets at all, saying that “If anyone’s reading this waiting for some type of full-on, flat apology for anything, they should just stop reading right now.”