Kanye West facts for kids
Quick facts for kids
West in April 2019
Kanye Omari West
June 8, 1977
Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.
(m. 2014; div. 2022)
|Origin||Chicago, Illinois, U.S.|
Ye (// yay; born Kanye Omari West // KAHN-yay; born June 8, 1977) is an American rapper, songwriter, record producer, and fashion designer. He is widely regarded as one of the most influential hip hop artists and producers and as one of the greatest musicians of his generation.
West was born on June 8, 1977, in Atlanta, Georgia. After his parents divorced when he was three years old, he moved with his mother to Chicago, Illinois. His father, Ray West, is a former Black Panther and was one of the first black photojournalists at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Ray later became a Christian counselor, and in 2006, opened the Good Water Store and Café in Lexington Park, Maryland, with startup capital from his son. West's mother, Donda C. West (née Williams), was a professor of English at Clark Atlanta University and the Chair of the English Department at Chicago State University before retiring to serve as his manager.
West was raised in a middle-class environment, attending Polaris School for Individual Education in suburban Oak Lawn, Illinois, after living in Chicago. At the age of 10, West moved with his mother to Nanjing, China, where she was teaching at Nanjing University as a Fulbright Scholar. According to his mother, West was the only foreigner in his class, but settled in well and quickly picked up the language, although he has since forgotten most of it. When asked about his grades in high school, West replied, "I got A's and B's."
West demonstrated an affinity for the arts at an early age; he began writing poetry when he was five years old. His mother recalled that she first took notice of West's passion for drawing and music when he was in the third grade. West started rapping in the third grade and began making musical compositions in the seventh grade, eventually selling them to other artists. At age thirteen, West wrote a rap song called "Green Eggs and Ham" (the title of a best-selling children's book by Dr. Seuss) and persuaded his mother to pay for time in a recording studio. Accompanying him to the studio and despite discovering that it was "a little basement studio" where a microphone hung from the ceiling by a wire clothes hanger, West's mother nonetheless supported and encouraged him. West crossed paths with producer/DJ No I.D., with whom he quickly formed a close friendship. No I.D. soon became West's mentor, and it was from him that West learned how to sample and program beats after he received his first sampler at age 15.
After graduating from high school, West received a scholarship to attend Chicago's American Academy of Art in 1997 and began taking painting classes. Shortly after, he transferred to Chicago State University to study English. He soon realized that his busy class schedule was detrimental to his musical work, and at 20 he dropped out of college to pursue his musical dreams. This greatly displeased his mother, who was also a professor at the university. She later commented, "It was drummed into my head that college is the ticket to a good life ... but some career goals don't require college. For Kanye to make an album called College Dropout it was more about having the guts to embrace who you are, rather than following the path society has carved out for you."
West initially gained recognition as a producer for Roc-A-Fella Records in the early 2000s, producing singles for several artists and developing the "chipmunk soul" sampling style.
West's breakthrough came a year later on October 23, 2002, when, while driving home from a California recording studio after working late, he fell asleep at the wheel causing a head-on crash with another car. The crash left him with a shattered jaw, which had to be wired shut in reconstructive surgery. The crash broke both legs of the other driver. The accident inspired West; two weeks after being admitted to the hospital, he recorded a song at the Record Plant Studios with his jaw still wired shut.
The composition, "Through the Wire", expressed West's experience after the accident, and helped lay the foundation for his debut album, as according to West "all the better artists have expressed what they were going through". West added that "the album was my medicine", as working on the record distracted him from the pain. "Through the Wire" was first available on West's "Get Well Soon ..." mixtape, released December 2002. At the same time, West announced that he was working on an album called The College Dropout, whose overall theme was to "make your own decisions. Don't let society tell you, 'This is what you have to do.'" He released his debut studio album, The College Dropout (2004), to critical and commercial success. He founded the record label GOOD Music later that year.
West explored diverse musical elements like orchestras, synthesizers, and autotune on the albums Late Registration (2005), Graduation (2007), and 808s & Heartbreak (2008). Drawing inspiration from maximalism and minimalism respectively, his fifth and sixth albums My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (2010) and Yeezus (2013) also received critical and commercial success. West further diversified his musical styles on The Life of Pablo (2016) and Ye (2018) and explored Christian and gospel music on Jesus Is King (2019). After multiple delays, his highly anticipated tenth album Donda (2021) was released to continued commercial success, but to mixed critical reception. He released its sequel Donda 2 (2022) a few months later, exclusively through a tie-in audio speaker service. West's discography also includes the two full-length collaborative albums Watch the Throne (2011) with Jay-Z and Kids See Ghosts (2018) with Kid Cudi.
One of the world's best-selling music artists, with over 160 million records sold, West has won 22 Grammy Awards and 75 nominations, the joint tenth-most of all time, and the joint-most Grammy awards of any rapper along with Jay-Z. Among his other awards are the Billboard Artist Achievement Award, a joint-record three Brit Awards for Best International Male Solo Artist and the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award. Six of West's albums were included on Rolling Stone's 2020 500 Greatest Albums of All Time list with the same publication naming him one of the 100 Greatest Songwriters of All Time. He holds the joint record (with Bob Dylan) for most albums (4) topping the annual Pazz & Jop critic poll, and has the 5th most appearances on the Billboard Hot 100 (133 entries). Time named him one of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2005 and 2015. Forbes estimated his net worth at $400 million as of 2022, making him among the wealthiest musicians in the world.
West's outspoken views have received significant media coverage; he has been a frequent source of controversy due to his conduct on social media and at awards shows and public settings, as well as his comments on the music and fashion industries, U.S. politics, race, and slavery. His Christian faith, high-profile marriage to Kim Kardashian, and mental health have also been topics of media attention. As a fashion designer, he has collaborated with Nike, Louis Vuitton, Gap, and A.P.C. on clothing and footwear and led the Yeezy collaboration with Adidas. He is also the founder and head of the creative content company Donda and due to become the owner of the social media platform Parler.
In 2020, West launched an unsuccessful independent presidential campaign that primarily advocated for a consistent life ethic. In 2022, he faced backlash and lost a number of sponsors and partnerships—including his collaborations with Adidas, Gap, and Balenciaga—after making antisemitic statements.
West's musical career is defined by frequent stylistic shifts and different musical approaches. Over time, West has explored a variety of music genres encompassing soul, baroque-pop, stadium rock, electro, house-music, indie rock, synth-pop, progressive rock, industrial, punk and gospel.
West incorporates live instruments, manipulated vocal samples and dramatic arrangements to supplement his beats. His later musical works increasingly relied on the application of digital audio workstations and computerized synths, bass, and drums.
West also surveys and analyzes lyrical trends in the continuously evolving landscape of hip hop culture, often changing his approach to rhyming couplets for his songwriting and delivery. Lyrically, West's wordplay generally contains a proliferation of puns and inventive, multi-syllabic rhymes.
West admits his rapping ability is not as dexterous as peers Jay-Z, Eminem and Nas, so he compensates with the subject matter. He elaborates, "the songs offer melody and message. That's the main goal. I saw it as a simple math project: If I can rap 70 to 80 percent as good as the beats are, I'll be successful." West drew influence from mainstream rappers such as Mase and his Roc-A-Fella labelmates Jay-Z and Cam'ron in conjunction with underground hip hop artists like Mos Def, Talib Kweli and Dead Prez. Kanye stated that Dead Prez in particular helped him discover a style of making "raps with a message sound cool".
With his debut album, West managed to strike a balance between smart and savvy rap lyrical themes. As his songwriting injects pop melodies into raw hip hop beats, West's lyrics find him rapping about substantial issues in addition to amusing topics ranging from Jesus to weight loss in a way that resulted in widespread commercial appeal. They successfully struck a chord with both mainstream hip hop audience as well as its alternative sector. His rhymes have been described as funny, provocative and articulate, capable of seamlessly segueing from shrewd commentary to comical braggadocio to introspective sensitivity. West imparts that he's conscious of the circumstances of his surroundings and strives to speak in an inclusive manner so groups from different racial and gender backgrounds can comprehend his lyrics, saying he desired to sound "just as ill as Jadakiss and just as understandable as Will Smith".
Asked about his early musical inspirations in 2008, he named artists such as A Tribe Called Quest, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, George Michael, LL Cool J, Phil Collins and Madonna. Regarding the influence of A Tribe Called Quest producer Q-Tip, West stated, "Midnight Marauders, 'Electric Relaxation', Low End Theory—a lot of the melodies and the type of chords they would sample ... was what I was going for when I did The College Dropout. When I felt like I was at my highest level was when I was closest to a Tribe record. So, a record like 'Heard 'Em Say' was an accomplishment for me—to even have something that was close to what they did." Other musicians West has invoked as general inspirations include David Bowie, Miles Davis and Gil-Scott Heron.
West was formatively mentored by Chicago producer No I.D., who introduced him to record production in the early 1990s, allowing a teenage West to sit in on recording sessions. West has cited Wu-Tang Clan producer and leader RZA as a prominent influence on his style. He stated, "Me and my friends talk about this all the time ... We think Wu-Tang had one of the biggest impacts as far as a movement. From slang to style of dress, skits, the samples. Similar to the [production] style I use, RZA has been doing that." On his behalf, RZA has responded favorably to comparisons between him and West. He said, "All good. Kanye West, I got super respect for Kanye. He came up to me about a year or two ago. He gave me mad praising and blessings. He had a lot to say about things I did. ... It's like when I met Isaac Hayes."
West's early sound was largely influenced by 1990s hip hop music, particularly that of the East Coast. Despite hailing from Chicago, West expressed a preference for New York artists, tailoring both his lyricism and fashion sense after rappers such as Raekwon and Nas. He recalled, "I used to love people like Wu-Tang Clan, Biggie, and Nas—people that sold records. I liked Common okay, you know, since he was from Chicago, but I wanted to dress like Nas." Regarding production, according to No I.D., who mentored him from age 14, West "made Puffy-style poppish beats."
Sharing similar sentiments, West's close friend and collaborator singer-songwriter and musician John Legend once described him as "the singsongy rapper/producer with the overtly pop sensibility." West also claims that he used to make beats reminiscent of Timbaland and DJ Premier. Alongside DJ Premier, the soulful nature of his early production bears an influence of Prince Paul, while the slightly off-kilter drum-machine beats he crafted for tracks reflect J Dilla. While speaking on the late producer, West praised Dilla's ability concerning drums. He asserted, "That man was a genius. Whatever he could do to tweak that MPC the way he worked. He worked it in a different type of way."
West subsequently developed a hip hop production style driven by melodic and rhythmic hooks derived from samples of classic soul records. He would take cues from the traditional sounds of early 1990s New York City hip hop, with an emphasis on infectious looped samples and dense drums or percussion, and channel the aesthetic through contemporary record production while polishing it to a pop sheen.
Early in his career, West made clear his interest in fashion and desire to work in the clothing design industry. In September 2005, West announced that he would release his Pastelle Clothing line in spring 2006, claiming "Now that I have a Grammy under my belt and Late Registration is finished, I am ready to launch my clothing line next spring." The line was developed over the following four years—with multiple pieces teased by West himself—before the line was ultimately cancelled in 2009. January 2007 saw the release of West's first sneaker collaborations, a special-edition Bapesta from A Bathing Ape. Unlike subsequent co-branded releases in which West created an entirely new silhouette from the ground up, this joint venture utilized an existing model. The design featured the "Dropout Bear" mascot from The College Dropout, on the heel, as well as using the brown, orange, and tan color scheme that appeared on the cover of the aformentiated album.
In 2009, West collaborated with Nike to release his own shoe, the Air Yeezys, with a second version released in 2012. He became the first non-athlete to be given a shoe deal with Nike. In January 2009, he introduced his first shoe line designed for Louis Vuitton during Paris Fashion Week. The line was released in summer 2009. West has additionally designed shoewear for Italian shoemaker Giuseppe Zanotti. In fall 2009, West moved to Rome and did an internship at Italian fashion brand Fendi where he gave ideas for the men's collection. In March 2011, West collaborated with M/M Paris for a series of silk scarves featuring artwork from My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.
On October 1, 2011, Kanye West premiered his women's fashion label, DW Kanye West at Paris Fashion Week. He received support from DSquared2 duo Dean and Dan Caten, Olivier Theyskens, Jeremy Scott, Azzedine Alaïa, and the Olsen twins, who were also in attendance during his show. His debut fashion show received mixed-to-negative reviews, ranging from reserved observations by Style.com to excoriating commentary in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, the International Herald Tribune, Elle UK, The Daily Telegraph, Harper's Bazaar and many others. On March 6, 2012, West premiered a second fashion line at Paris Fashion Week. The line's reception was markedly improved from the previous presentation, with a number of critics heralding West for his "much improved" sophomore effort.
On December 3, 2013, Adidas officially confirmed a new shoe collaboration deal with West. After months of anticipation and rumors, West confirmed the release of the Adidas Yeezy Boosts. In 2015, West unveiled his Yeezy Season clothing line, premiering Season 1 in collaboration with Adidas early in the year. The line received positive critical reviews, with Vogue observing "a protective toughness, a body-conscious severity that made the clothes more than a simple accessory." The release of the Yeezy Boosts and the full Adidas collaboration was showcased in New York City on February 12, 2015, with free streaming to 50 cinemas in 13 countries around the world.
An initial release of the Adidas Yeezy Boosts was limited to 9000 pairs to be available only in New York City via the Adidas smartphone app; the Adidas Yeezy Boosts were sold out within 10 minutes. The shoes released worldwide on February 28, 2015, were limited to select boutique stores and the Adidas UK stores. He followed with Season 2 later that year at New York Fashion Week. On February 11, West premiered his Yeezy Season 3 clothing line at Madison Square Garden in conjunction with the previewing of his album The Life of Pablo. In June 2016, Adidas announced a new long-term contract with Kanye West that extended the Yeezy line to a number of stores, planning to sell sports performance products like basketball, football, and soccer.
In February 2017, West unveiled the Yeezy Season 5 collection to favorable responses from critics. In May 2017, West, alongside wife Kim Kardashian, launched a clothing line for children titled "Kids Supply". A second collection was released in July 2017. In February, West tweeted "Yeezy is no longer a fashion company we should be referred to as apparel or clothing or simply YEEZY."
West's Yeezy shoe line is considered one of the most influential sneaker brands in the world. Tim'm T. West has expressed how West's "creative flair for fashion parallels his musical risk-taking." Another source, comparing West to an orisha, identified how his ability to undertake a multitude of projects has eroded traditional categories for creative output.
In January 2018, a series of influencers posed as Kim Kardashian clones on Instagram advertising Yeezy Season 6. This stunt questioned whether West needed or cared to engage with the fashion industry. Whether or not it was a playful ode to his wife or a comment on consumerism through social media. The stunt schemed to upend the top-down nature of the fashion industry, the models ranged from influencers to Paris Hilton, all in platinum blonde, wearing Yeezy season 6.
In May 2021, West signed a 10-year deal, linking Yeezy with GAP. The collection is being led by 25-year-old Nigerian-British designer Mowalola Ogunlesi. The first piece from the collection was released in June 2021, a blue, seamless, down jacket and it was very well received, selling out almost instantly.
In September 2022, West announced that he was ending his deal with GAP. According to his lawyer, Nicholas Gravante, West is considering opening up Yeezy retail stores.
West founded the record label and production company GOOD Music in 2004, in conjunction with Sony BMG, shortly after releasing his debut album, The College Dropout. West, alongside then-unknown Ohio singer John Legend and fellow Chicago rapper Common were the label's inaugural artists. The label houses artists including West, Big Sean, Pusha T, Teyana Taylor, Yasiin Bey / Mos Def, D'banj and John Legend, and producers including Hudson Mohawke, Q-Tip, Travis Scott, No I.D., Jeff Bhasker, and S1. GOOD Music has released ten albums certified gold or higher by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). In November 2015, West appointed Pusha T the new president of GOOD Music.
In August 2008, West revealed plans to open 10 Fatburger restaurants in the Chicago area; the first was set to open in September 2008 in Orland Park. The second followed in January 2009, while a third location is yet to be revealed, although the process is being finalized. His company, KW Foods LLC, bought the rights to the chain in Chicago. Ultimately, in 2009, only two locations actually opened. In February 2011, West shut down the Fatburger located in Orland Park. Later that year, the remaining Beverly location also was shuttered.
On January 5, 2012, West announced his establishment of the creative content company DONDA, named after his late mother Donda West. In his announcement, West proclaimed that the company would "pick up where Steve Jobs left off"; DONDA would operate as "a design company which will galvanize amazing thinkers in a creative space to bounce their dreams and ideas" with the "goal to make products and experiences that people want and can afford." West is notoriously secretive about the company's operations, maintaining neither an official website nor a social media presence. In stating DONDA's creative philosophy, West articulated the need to "put creatives in a room together with like minds" in order to "simplify and aesthetically improve everything we see, taste, touch, and feel." Contemporary critics have noted the consistent minimalistic aesthetic exhibited throughout DONDA creative projects.
On March 30, 2015, it was announced that West is a co-owner, with various other music artists, in the music streaming service Tidal. The service specialises in lossless audio and high definition music videos. Jay-Z acquired the parent company of Tidal, Aspiro, in the first quarter of 2015. Sixteen artist stakeholders including Jay-Z, Rihanna, Beyoncé, Madonna, Chris Martin, Nicki Minaj co-own Tidal, with the majority owning a 3% equity stake. The idea of having an all artist owned streaming service was created by those involved to adapt to the increased demand for streaming within the current music industry, and to rival other streaming services such as Spotify, which have been criticised for their low payout of royalties. "The challenge is to get everyone to respect music again, to recognize its value", stated Jay-Z on the release of Tidal.
On June 6, 2016, West announced the Yeezy Season 2 Zine. The Adidas Yeezy Boost 750 sneakers were released to retailers the following week, on June 11. They are high-top shoes with a glow in the dark sole. In an interview with Vogue, he stated that there will be Yeezy stores, with the first located in California.
In an interview with Fader in September 2018, West announced that he was considering plans of opening an automobile factory in Chicago with the focus of developing a flying car with the help of Tesla alums.
On October 17, 2022, it was announced that West had entered into a purchase agreement to acquire the alt-tech microblogging service, Parler. The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2022.
West, alongside his mother, founded the "Kanye West Foundation" in Chicago in 2003, tasked with a mission to battle dropout and illiteracy rates, while partnering with community organizations to provide underprivileged youth access to music education. In 2007, West and the Foundation partnered with Strong American Schools as part of their "Ed in '08" campaign. As spokesman for the campaign, West appeared in a series of PSAs for the organization, and hosted an inaugural benefit concert in August of that year.
In 2008, following the death of West's mother, the foundation was rechristened "The Dr. Donda West Foundation". The foundation ceased operations in 2011. Kanye West and friend, Rhymefest, also founded "Donda's House, Inc." Got Bars is the Donda's House signature music/lyric composition and performance program. Participants are selected through an application and audition process. Got Bars is a free music writing program with the goal of helping at-risk Chicago youth. It is aimed at students between 15 and 24, and includes lessons on how to write and record music. Their curriculum is based on the teaching philosophy and pedagogy of Dr. Donda West with a focus on collaborative and experiential learning.
West has additionally appeared and participated in many fundraisers, benefit concerts, and has done community work for Hurricane Katrina relief, the Kanye West Foundation, the Millions More Movement, 100 Black Men of America, a Live Earth concert benefit, World Water Day rally and march, Nike runs, a Hurricane Sandy benefit concert, and an MTV special helping young Iraq War veterans who struggle through debt and PTSD a second chance after returning home.
In January 2019, West donated $10 million towards the completion of the Roden Crater by American artist James Turrell. In June 2020, in the wake of the murder of George Floyd and the following protests, he donated $2 million between the family of Floyd and other victims of police brutality, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor. The donation funded legal fees for Arbery and Taylor's families, as well as establishing a 529 plan to fully cover college tuition for Floyd's daughter.
Acting and filmmaking
West made cameo appearances as himself in the films State Property 2 (2005) and The Love Guru (2008), and in an episode of the television show Entourage in 2007. West provided the voice for "Kenny West", a rapper, in the animated sitcom The Cleveland Show. In 2009, he starred in the Spike Jonze-directed short film We Were Once a Fairytale (2009), playing himself acting belligerently in a nightclub. West wrote, directed, and starred in the musical short film Runaway (2010), which heavily features music from My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. The film depicts a relationship between a man, played by West, and a half-woman, half-phoenix creature.
In 2012, West wrote and directed another short film, titled Cruel Summer, which premiered at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival in a custom pyramid-shaped screening pavilion featuring seven screens constructed for the film. The film was inspired by the compilation album of the same name. West made a cameo appearance in the comedy Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues (2013) as a MTV News representative in the film's fight scene. In September 2018, West announced starting of film production company named Half Beast, LLC.
In 2022, Kanye made a cameo at the end of McDonald's 30 second TV ad during Super Bowl LVI, an event with over 200 million viewers, which he also publicly attended.
West expressed interest in starting an architecture firm in May 2013, saying "I want to do product, I am a product person, not just clothing but water bottle design, architecture ... I make music but I shouldn't be limited to one place of creativity" and then later in November 2013, delivering a manifesto on his architectural goals during a visit to Harvard Graduate School of Design. In May 2018, West announced he was starting an architecture firm which will act as an arm of his already successful Yeezy fashion label. West announced the decision on his Twitter account, tweeting "we're starting a Yeezy architecture arm called Yeezy home. We're looking for architects and industrial designers who want to make the world better."
In June 2018, the first Yeezy Home collaboration was announced by designer Jalil Peraza, teasing an affordable concrete prefabricated home as part of a social housing project.
In April 2012, West began dating reality television star Kim Kardashian, with whom he had already been long-time friends. West and Kardashian became engaged in October 2013, and married at Fort di Belvedere in Florence on May 24, 2014.
Their private ceremony was subject to widespread mainstream coverage, with which West took issue. They have four children: North West (born June 2013), Saint West (born December 2015), Chicago West (born via surrogate in January 2018), and Psalm West (born via surrogate in May 2019).
In April 2015, West and Kardashian traveled to Jerusalem to have North baptized in the Armenian Apostolic Church at the Cathedral of St. James. Their other children were all baptized at Etchmiadzin Cathedral, the mother church of the Armenian Church, on October 7, 2019. The couple's high-profile status and respective careers have resulted in their relationship becoming subject to heavy media coverage; The New York Times referred to their marriage as "a historic blizzard of celebrity".
In September 2018, West announced that he would be permanently moving back to Chicago to establish his Yeezy company headquarters there. This did not actually occur, and West instead went on to purchase two ranches near Cody, Wyoming, where he recorded his eighth solo studio album, Ye. Kardashian resides with their children in a home that the now-divorced couple owns in California, whereas West moved into a home across the street to continue to be near their children. In fall 2021, West began the process of selling his Wyoming ranch.
In July, West wrote on Twitter that he had been attempting to divorce Kardashian. He also wrote that the Kardashian family was attempting "to lock [him] up".
In January 2021, CNN reported that the couple were discussing divorce. A month later, Kardashian filed for divorce. In April, both West and Kardashian cited "irreconcilable differences" and agreed to joint custody of their four children. They also agreed that they did not need spousal support from each other. On several occasions in 2021, West said that he would rather stay with Kardashian than divorce. Kardashian was declared legally single on March 2, 2022.
West is among the most critically acclaimed popular music artists of the 21st century, earning praise from music critics, fans, industry peers, and wider cultural figures. AllMusic editor Jason Birchmeier writes of his impact, "As his career progressed throughout the early 21st century, West shattered certain stereotypes about rappers, becoming a superstar on his own terms without adapting his appearance, his rhetoric, or his music to fit any one musical mold."
Billboard senior editor Alex Gale declared West "absolutely one of the best, and you could make the argument for the best artist of the 21st century." Sharing similar sentiments, Complex called West the twenty-first century's "most important artist of any art form, of any genre."
Hip-hop artists and groups like Drake, Nicki Minaj, Travis Scott, Lil Uzi Vert, Juice WRLD, Chance the Rapper, Brockhampton, Vic Mensa and Casey Veggies have acknowledged being influenced directly by West. He has also been cited as a direct influence by artists and musical groups outside of hip-hop.
West's success in the fashion industry has led to him being recognized as an influential popular culture figure.
Awards and achievements
West has won a variety of awards. These include: a Webby Award for Artist of the Year, an Accessories Council Excellence Award for being a stylemaker, International Man of the Year at the GQ Awards, a Clio Award for The Life of Pablo Album Experience, and an honour by The Recording Academy. West is one of eight acts to have won the Billboard Artist Achievement Award. He has won the Brit Award for Best International Male Solo Artist a joint-record three times, in addition to being one of three artists to have won the award in consecutive years. In 2011, he became the first artist to win Best Male Hip-Hop Artist at the BET Awards three times, he is the male artist with the most wins for Video of the Year at the ceremony, and the only person to have been awarded the Visionary Award at The BET Honors.
West has received the most nominations for Best Hip-Hop Video at the MTV Video Music Awards (nine), along with the second-most nominations for Best Male Video (seven). In 2015, he became the third rap act to win the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award. West has won 22 Grammys, he has the second most wins (21) and nominations (68) for a rapper (both behind Jay-Z). He has been the most nominated act at five ceremonies, and won the most Grammys by a male artist, and fourth most overall in the 2000s decade. In 2008, West became the first solo artist to have his first three albums receive nominations for Album of the Year. Only Eminem (six times) has won Best Rap Album more times than West (four times); additionally, West and Eminem are the only acts to have won the award in multiple successive years. West has the most wins and nominations for Best Rap Song.
West is one of the best-selling digital artists of all time. He is the 7th highest certified artist in the US by digital singles (69 million). He had the most RIAA digital song certifications by a male artist in the 2000s (19), and was the fourth best-selling digital songs artist of the 2000s in the US. In Spotify's first ten years from 2008 to 2018, West was the sixth most streamed artist, and the fourth fastest artist to reach one billion streams. West has the joint-most consecutive studio album to debut at number one on the Billboard 200 (9).
Between August 2005 and June 2008, West had the two highest first week album sales in the US, and was the only act to sell more than 800,000 in an opening week. Graduation and Watch the Throne, both broke US first week digital and iTunes albums sales. West has the joint-fifth most number-one singles in New Zealand (six), and the third most number one singles on the Hot Rap Songs chart (nine). He has the third-most top-ten singles in the UK by a rapper (20), and the joint-second most platinum singles in the UK by a rapper (eight). West is one of seven acts to have 100+ Billboard Hot 100 entries.
West's albums have received numerous accolades. All of West's first six solo studio albums were included on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time (2020), with My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (17) being the highest ranking 21st century album. Entertainment Weekly named The College Dropout the best album of the 2000s decade, Complex named Graduation as the best album released between 2002 and 2012, 808s & Heartbreak was named by Rolling Stone as one of the 40 most groundbreaking albums of all time, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy was named by numerous publications as the best album of the 2010s decade and one of the greatest albums of all time, Yeezus was the most critically acclaimed album of 2013, and The Life of Pablo was the first album to top the Billboard 200, go platinum in the US, and go gold in the UK, via streaming alone.
West's singles have also obtained adulation and prestige. "Heartless" was amongst the top-ten best-selling singles worldwide in 2009, "Stronger" is one of the most downloaded songs of all time on iTunes, and "Gold Digger" was the ninth biggest Hot 100 song of the 2000s.
West is regarded as one of the greatest hip-hop producers of all time. He made the most appearance on Complex's "Best Producers of every year since 1979" list (five). On Billboard's 2000s decade-end charts, West was third on the list of top producers. West has made more appearances (four) than any other act on The Guardian's "The Best Albums of the 21st Century" list, having topped the annual Pazz & Jop critic poll the joint-most times (four albums). In 2009, he became the first non-athlete to have a shoe deal with Nike. In 2014, NME named him the third most influential artist in music. In 2015, West became the second-ever rapper to headline Glastonbury Festival.
In 2021, Kanye won Best Contemporary Christian Music Album at 2021 Grammys. He was named Songwriter of the Year at the 2021 BMI Trailblazers of Gospel Music Awards.
- The College Dropout (2004)
- Late Registration (2005)
- Graduation (2007)
- 808s & Heartbreak (2008)
- My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (2010)
- Yeezus (2013)
- The Life of Pablo (2016)
- Ye (2018)
- Jesus Is King (2019)
- Donda (2021)
- Donda 2 (2022)
- Watch the Throne (2011) (with Jay-Z)
- Cruel Summer (2012) (with GOOD Music)
- Kids See Ghosts (2018) (with Kid Cudi, as Kids See Ghosts)
- The College Dropout Video Anthology (2004)
- Late Orchestration (2006)
- VH1 Storytellers (2010)
- Runaway (2010)
- Jesus Is King (2019)
- Jeen-Yuhs (2022)
- School Spirit Tour (2004)
- Touch the Sky Tour (2005–06)
- Glow in the Dark Tour (2008)
- Watch the Throne Tour (with Jay-Z) (2011–2012)
- The Yeezus Tour (2013–2014)
- Saint Pablo Tour (2016)
- Truth Tour (with Usher) (2004)
- Vertigo Tour (with U2) (2005–2006)
- A Bigger Bang (with The Rolling Stones) (2006)
- Raising Kanye: Life Lessons from the Mother of a Hip-Hop Superstar (2007)
- Thank You and You're Welcome (2009)
- Through the Wire: Lyrics & Illuminations (2009)
- Glow in the Dark (2009)
In Spanish: Kanye West para niños
- Album era
- Black conservatism in the United States
- List of people with bipolar disorder
- List of Christian hip hop artists
Kanye West Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.