Kanye West is a hip-hop artist, songwriter, producer and fashion designer. He is known for presenting a different look to the hip-hop world that is known for its gangster style of music. He is, however, no less outspoken or flamboyant. He has found himself involved with controversies in shows and ceremonies. Still, his dapper look and different fashion sense have attracted a lot of attention from the media. More importantly perhaps, he also attracted the attention of celebrity Kim Kardashian, with whom he has a daughter.
4 Not a Gangster Background
West was born in Atlanta, but moved to Chicago when he was just three years old after his parents divorced. His father, Ray West, was a former member of the Black Panther Party that fought for racial equality in the late 60's and 70's. Ray eventually became one of the pioneer black photojournalists at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and eventually became a Christian counselor. His mother is Dr. Donda West, a professor of English at the Clark Atlanta University and who also became the chairperson of the English Department of the Chicago State University. She also taught in Nanjing University in China, bringing along her son who was able to learn the Chinese language.
West got into hip-hop when he was 13, writing a rap song called “Green Eggs and Ham.” He soon got under the tutelage of DJ No I.D., the godfather of the Chicago hip-hop scene. Later on, his love for music forced West to drop out of Chicago State University, where he was majoring in English.
3 Journey to Music
West started developing beats for local artists, and he became known for his style of speeding up vocal samples of classic soul records. He got his big break when he started producing for Roc-A-Fella Records, including the landmark Jay Z album called The Blueprint. West also wrote songs for artists like Ludacris, Alicia Keys and Janet Jackson.
He could not get any record deals, however, because of his middle class background that contrasted sharply with the gangster image of the rap music scene. In 2002, he was involved in a car accident that required reconstructive surgery. His experience in the accident served as his inspiration in crafting new songs that finally got him accepted in the hip-hop genre.
He has so far released seven studio and collaboration albums, namely:
The College Dropout, 2004
Late Registration, 2005
808s & Heartbreak, 2008
My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, 2010
Watch the Throne, with Jay Z, 2011
His albums have received both critical acclaim and commercial success. The records Late Registration and My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy are considered as two of the greatest albums of all time.
His hard work has paid off, with 21 Grammy Awards out of 51 nominations. He is already ranked fifth for most nominations, sixth for most awards by a solo male artist, and eighth for most awards ever.
2 Controversial Moments
West has had several incidents that resulted in controversies. He walked out of the 2004 American Music Awards after losing to Gretchen Wilson the award for Best New Artist. He went up on the stage during the 2006 MTV Europe Awards to argue that he should have won Best Video. He played the race card during the 2007 MTV Video Music Awards after the opening number was given to Britney Spears instead of him. He also called out then-President George Bush after the Hurricane Katrina disaster in New Orleans, when he said during a benefit show that, “Bush doesn’t care about black people.”
However, none of that was as bad as what happened at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards. He cut off Taylor Swift during her acceptance speech for Best Female Video, as he argued that Beyonce Knowles should have gotten the award.
1 The Yeezus Tour
In 2013, West released his sixth studio album called Yeezus. The album got great reviews from critics, who praised the record’s different sound. Some even went as far as saying that it is probably the best album from West so far.
The album went straight to number one on the Billboard albums chart. It was certified gold after just two months by the RIAA. It also went on to top the chart in 30 other counties, including Australia and the United Kingdom.
To further support the album, West announced that he would go on his first solo tour in five years. Kendrick Lamar will open for him in 18 of the 27 shows.
The tour is expected to generate substantial revenue for West. His last tour was in 2008. Called the Glow in the Dark tour, it featured 61 shows and grossed more than $30 million. Will his new Yeezus tour beat out profits from his last tour? With 27 shows compared to the previous 61, it has yet to be determined whether this tour will bring in a higher revenue.
The concert dates of the Yeezus tour are as follows:
19 October – Seattle, Washington, Key Arena
20 October – Vancouver, British Columbia, Pepsi Live at Rogers Arena
22 October – San Jose, California, SAP Center
23 October – Oakland, California, Oracle Arena
25 October – Las Vegas, Nevada, MGM Grand Garden Arena
26 October – Los Angeles, California, Staples Center
28 October – Los Angeles, California, Staples Center
1 November – Salt Lake City, Utah, Energy Solutions Arena
3 November – Denver, Colorado, Pepsi Center
5 November – Minneapolis, Minnesota, Target Center
7 November – Chicago, Illinois, United Center
9 November – Chicago, Illinois, United Center
10 November – Detroit, Michigan, The Palace of Auburn Hills
12 November – Toronto, Ontario, Air Canada Centre
13 November – Toronto, Ontario, Air Canada Centre
14 November – Montreal, Quebec, Bell Centre
16 November – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Wells Fargo Center
17 November – Boston, Massachusetts, TD Garden
19 November – Brooklyn, New York, Barclays Center
20 November – Brooklyn, New York, Barclays Center
21 November – Washington, D.C., Verizon Center
23 November – New York, New York, Madison Square Garden
24 November – New York, New York, Madison Square Garden
29 November – Tampa, Florida, Tampa Bay Times Forum
1 December – Atlanta, Georgia, Philips Arena
6 December – Dallas, Texas, American Airlines Center
7 December – Houston, Texas, Toyota Center
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