Kanye West Bio

Kanye West Bio

Kanye West is one of the most famous musicians and celebrities in the world. He began his career as a producer for major acts like Jay-Z and Common, then successfully transitioned into becoming one of the world’s best-selling artists. With major hits under his belt such as Heartless, Grave Digger, and Flashing Lights, Kanye has cemented himself as one of rap’s leading icons.

On top of all that, he’s also had a major impact on the fashion industry with his sneaker and clothing brand Yeezus. But, despite all his success, Kanye has also had to face plenty of rejection and personal hardships along the way. Here is a closer look at the life and career of Kanye West.

Kanye West Quick Facts

  • Full Name: Kanye Omari West
  • Birth Date: June 8th, 1977
  • Birth Place: Atlanta, GA
  • Nick Name: Ye, Yeezy
  • Nationality: American
  • Zodiac Sign: Gemini
  • Siblings: Hal Carmichael (stepbrother), Aliya Jones (step-sister)
  • Children: North West, Saint West, Psalm West, Chicago West
  • Partner / Spouse: Kim Kardashian (ex-wife)
  • Most Successful Songs / Albums: Gold Digger, Stronger, Heartless
  • Earnings: $143 million
  • Net Worth: $2 billion
  • Social Media: @kanyewest
  • Awards:
    • 22 Grammys
    • 9 Billboard Music Awards
    • 19 BET Hip Hop Awards
    • 5 MTV VMA’s
  • Last Updated: 4/18/2022

Kanye West Birthplace

Kanye West Birthplace

Kanye West was born on June 8th, 1977, in Atlanta, GA. After his parents divorced when he was three years old, he moved to Chicago, Illinois, where he spent most of his childhood with his mother. 

Kanye West Parents

Kanye was born to parents Ray and Donda West (nee Williams). Ray West was born on August 28th, 1949. He was an acclaimed photojournalist known for his work at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, where he photographed famous figures like Ronald Reagan and Maya Angelou. During the 60s and 70s, he was an active member of the Black Panther Party but left after his son was born to focus on his career. 

Ray married Kanye’s mother, Donda, in 1975, but the two split up in 1980 when Kanye was only three years old. Today, he lives in the Dominican Republic, where he runs the Good Water Foundation charity. 

Donda West was born on July 2nd, 1949, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. She was an educator who began her career in the early 70s at Morris Brown College in Atlanta. When she and Ray split up, she took a job at Chicago State University and became a professor and chair of their Department of English, Communications, Media, and Theater. 

On November 10th, 2007, Donda passed away at 58 due to complications following a cosmetic surgery procedure. She and Kanye were very close and in 2021, the rapper named his 10th studio album, Donda, in honor of his mother. 

Kanye West Early Life

Kanye spent most of his childhood living in Chicago. Early on, he and his mother lived in the South Shore neighborhood on the South Side before moving to the suburban Oak Lawn area, where he attended Polaris High. When he was ten years old, Kanye and his mother briefly moved to Nanjing, China, where Donda taught at the local university as a Fulbright scholar. 

The rapper showed a passion for the arts from a young age and began writing poetry and drawing when he was in elementary school. He began composing music in 7th grade and wrote his first rap, “Green Eggs and Ham” at thirteen. 

After graduating high school, Kanye attended Chicago’s Academy of Art on a scholarship but then transferred to Chicago State University, where he studied English. At age 20, he realized that his coursework was getting in the way of his passion and decided to drop out to focus on his music career. 

Kanye West Professional Career

Kanye West Professional Career

Kanye began his career as a producer in the mid-1990s. He mostly worked with local artists and formed a rap collective called the Go-Getters, which featured himself and GLC, Timmy G, Really Doe, and Arrowstar. In 1998, he signed to hip hop management and production company Hip Hop Since 1978 and started working with more established rappers and groups. 

In the early 2000’s he began working with artists on Roc-a-Fella Records and contributed a significant amount of production to Jay-Z’s 2001 album The Blueprint. This is where he first started to gain critical and commercial success and worked as an in-house producer at the label. 

He always had dreams of becoming a rapper but struggled to be taken seriously as an artist. He eventually caught a break and was signed by Roc-a-Fella co-founder Dame Dash, who only offered him an artist deal to keep him on the label as a producer. 

In 2002, Kanye was in a severe car accident while driving home from the studio late at night and shattered his jaw. He had to have his jaw wired, almost crushing his rap dreams. But he didn’t let that stop him and instead recorded his breakout hit Through the Wire while still recovering. The success of that single made his label decide to take him more seriously as an artist and put more energy into the album he was working on. 

His debut album, the College Dropout, was released in February 2004 and debuted at number 2 on the Billboard chart. This was the first in a trilogy of College inspired albums Kanye released, including Late Registration in 2005 and Graduation in 2007. These albums cemented Kanye as a superstar and allowed him to reach the status of an A-list celebrity. 

Then in 2007, tragedy struck, and Kanye lost his mother Donda, due to complications following cosmetic surgery. Her death had a major impact on the rapper and took his life and career in an entirely new direction. 

He returned the following year with a new album called 808’s and Heartbreak, which was distinct for its heavy use of autotune soaked melodies and the Roland TR-808 drum machine. Although it received mixed reviews at the time, the album has had a significant influence on a younger generation of rappers and did a lot to usher in a new sound of hip hop and R&B music. 

Following his controversial speech at the 2009 VMA’s (see below), he took a break from music to focus on building a fashion brand. But he soon returned to recording after moving to Hawaii and recruiting some of his close friends and music’s biggest names to begin work on his next album. 

My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy was released in 2010 to major critical acclaim. He then teamed up with his mentor Jay-Z for the collaborative album Watch the Throne the following year, producing some of his highest-charting singles. 

In 2013, Kanye dropped the album Yeezus, which was a stark departure from Watch the Throne and MBDTW. The album was quite controversial, and to this day, fans and critics remain divided over its aggression and angst. 

After that, Kanye took another break from music to work on his Yeezy fashion line in partnership with Adidas. His first line of sneakers dropped in February 2015 to positive reviews. 

He returned to music the following year, dropping his long-anticipated Life of Pablo album in February 2016. It was during his Saint Pablo tour in promotion of the project, that he began displaying erratic behavior and ranting on stage, leading the rapper to be hospitalized for sleep deprivation and severe hydration. 

After that, he took a hiatus from social media and public appearances. He returned to music in 2018 after a series of recording sessions at his home in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The result was a series of 7-song albums, dubbed the “Wyoming albums”, which included projects by Nas, Teyana Taylor, Pusha T, Kids See Ghosts (his group with Kid Cudi), and his own solo album Ye. 

Not long after the release of the Wyoming albums, Kanye announced that he was no longer making secular music and was instead working on a Gospel album. In 2019, he started his weekly Sunday Service, a gospel group that performed orchestral versions of his songs. He then released his ninth studio album, Jesus is King, in 2019 to mixed reviews from fans and critics. 

In the summer of 2021, Kanye announced that he had taken up temporary residence in the Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta, where he was finishing working on his 10th studio album Donda. He hosted multiple high-profile listening parties at the stadium before eventually releasing the album on August 29th to widespread critical acclaim. He also announced a sequel to the album called Donda 2, which was released exclusively for West’s own Stem player on February 23rd, 2022.  

Kanye West Video [YouTube embed w/top concerts, records, highlight reels, etc..]

Kanye West Family

Kanye West was married to Kim Kardashian from May 24th, 2014, through March 2nd, 2022. They have four children together, North, Saint, Psalm, and Chicago West. 

Kanye West Dating and Relationship History

Kanye has had many high-profile relationships. 

The rapper dated designer Alexis Phifer from 2002 to 2008 and even proposed to her in 2008. But after an 18-month engagement, they called off the relationship not long after his mother Donda, passed away. 

In 2008, Kanye entered a relationship with famous fashion model Amber Rose. The two dated for about two years and split up in 2010. 

Kanye West Professional Career

In 2012, Kanye began dating his future wife, Kim Kardashian, after she broke things off with her second husband, Kris Humphries. In December of that year, they announced that they were expecting a child together and later tied the knot in 2014. During their six-year marriage, they had three more children together. But, they eventually split up and filed for divorce in February 2021. 

Since breaking up with Kim, Kanye has had several girlfriends, including brief flings with model Irina Shayk and actress Julia Fox.  

Controversies or Scandals

In 2004, Kanye appeared on NBCUniversal’s Concert for Hurricane Relief for the victims of Hurricane Katrina, where he famously told the world that current president George W. Bush “doesn’t care about black people.” 

In 2009, Kanye interrupted Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech at the MTV Video Music Awards after winning the best female video award. He went on stage and grabbed the microphone from her, claiming that Beyonce’s video for Single Ladies (which was nominated for the same award) was one of the best all-time videos and deserved to win instead. The incident was a major controversy, and Kanye was criticized by many public figures, including then-President Obama.      

In 2018, Kanye caused a scandal after appearing on TMZ and claiming that slavery was a choice. He later apologized for his statements on slavery and said that the comment was out of context, but it still caused a major controversy. 

On July 4th, 2020, Kanye announced that he was officially running for president of the United States as a third-party candidate. This announcement had a mixed reaction from fans who were confused about the rapper’s sudden foray into politics. His presidential run culminated in a campaign rally in Charleston, North Carolina, where he criticized Harriet Tubman and cried while admitting that his wife almost aborted his unborn daughter North. The rally was met with concern and confusion from fans, who were worried about the rapper’s mental health.

Net Worth and Career Earnings

Kanye has amassed a fortune of over $2 billion throughout his career. Surprisingly, most of his wealth did not come from music but from his multi-year deal with Adidas for his sneaker brand, Yeezy, which is valued at approximately $1.5 billion. 

how does kanye earn his money

He also owns over $100 million worth of real estate in Los Angeles and Wyoming, containing $9.3 million worth of artwork, $7.6 million in jewelry, $5 million in vehicles, $3.4 million in furniture, and $1 million in livestock. 

He also makes several million per year off his music and his publishing rights are estimated to be worth about $90 million. He has a stake in multiple successful businesses, including his ex-wife’s shapewear company, Skims. 

Real Estate & Residence History

Kanye West owns a real estate portfolio of approximately $100 million. Possibly the most famous is the massive ranch properties he owns in Wyoming. Monster Lake Ranch is a sprawling 4,000-acre property full of preserved, natural land and features a fishing lake and go-kart track. About an hour away near the town of Greybull is his second property, Bighorn Mountain Ranch, which he purchased for $14.5 million in November 2019. 

Then, there is the family residence in Calabasas, California, which has been featured on Keeping Up with the Kardashians. After the divorce, Kanye also purchased a small ranch nearby, where he hosts his weekly Sunday Service. Plus, he also recently purchased a $4.5 million mid-century mansion in Hidden Hills, California, directly across the street from the residence of his ex-wife Kim Kardashian. 

In addition to these properties, Kanye also recently acquired a private bunker in Malibu for $57.3 million and a bachelor pad in Antwerp, Belgium.  

Discography & Full Credits

  • 2004 – College Dropout
  • 2005 – Late Registration
  • 2006 – Late Orchestration: Live at Abbey Road Studios
  • 2007 – Graduation
  • 2008 – 808’s and Heartbreak
  • 2010 – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
  • 2011 – Watch the Throne
  • 2013 – Yeezus
  • 2016 – The Life of Pablo
  • 2018 – Ye
  • 2018 – Kids See Ghosts
  • 2019 – Jesus is King
  • 2021- Donda
  • 2022 – Donda 2 


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