Kanye West is one of the most influential and controversial figures in the music industry. He has won 22 Grammy Awards, sold over 140 million records worldwide, and created some of the most acclaimed albums of all time. He has also ventured into fashion, politics, and religion, often sparking controversy and criticism. But how did he become the rapper, producer, and designer we know today? Here is a look Kanye West before and after fame.
Kanye West Before Fame
Kanye West was born on June 8, 1977, in Atlanta, Georgia, to Ray West, a former Black Panther and photojournalist, and Donda West, a college professor. His parents divorced when he was three years old, and he moved with his mother to Chicago, Illinois. He started writing poetry at the age of five, and rap songs at the age of 13. He was a gifted student, but he dropped out of college at the age of 20 to pursue his passion for music.
West grew up in a humble way and belonged to a middle-class background. He did his schooling at Polaris High School and completed one year of art school at Chicago State University. He shifted to Nanjing, China at the age of ten when his mother was asked to teach at Nanjing University as part of an exchange program.
West began his career as a producer, making beats for local artists and eventually landing a deal with Roc-A-Fella Records, where he worked with Jay-Z, Ludacris, Alicia Keys, and others. He also aspired to be a rapper, but he faced rejection and ridicule for his middle-class background and unconventional style. He was involved in a near-fatal car accident in 2002, which inspired him to write his breakthrough single, “Through the Wire”, with his jaw wired shut.
West rose to prominence as a Roc-A-Fella Records producer in the early 2000s, producing singles for a variety of artists and pioneering the “chipmunk soul” sampling style. He released his debut studio album, The College Dropout, in 2004, which received critical acclaim and commercial success, to pursue a solo career as a rapper.
Kanye West After Fame
West released his debut album, The College Dropout, in 2004, which received critical acclaim and commercial success. He followed it with Late Registration in 2005, Graduation in 2007, and 808s & Heartbreak in 2008, each showcasing his musical evolution and experimentation. He also established himself as a fashion icon, launching his own clothing line and collaborating with brands like Nike, Adidas, and Louis Vuitton.
West faced personal and professional challenges in the late 2000s and early 2010s, such as the death of his mother, his infamous interruption of Taylor Swift at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards, and his public backlash for his outspoken opinions and behavior. He responded with his magnum opus, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, in 2010, which was hailed as one of the best albums of all time. He also formed a musical partnership with Jay-Z, releasing the collaborative album Watch the Throne in 2011.
West continued to push the boundaries of music and culture with his subsequent albums, Yeezus in 2013, The Life of Pablo in 2016, Ye in 2018, and Jesus Is King in 2019, which reflected his artistic vision, personal struggles, and spiritual journey. He also expanded his influence in the fashion industry, launching his Yeezy brand and becoming a billionaire. Kanye married reality TV star Kim Kardashian in 2014, and they have four children together. He also ran for president of the United States in 2020, but he received less than 0.1% of the vote.
West was married to Celebrity Kim Kardashian but later divorced her in 2022. he is said to be married to Australian Architect Bianca Censori who worked with Kanye for his Yeezy brand. He is also working on his eleventh studio album, named after his late mother, which he has previewed at several listening events. He has also changed his legal name to Ye, which he says represents “being, existence, and the most commonly used word in the Bible.”
Net Worth and Wealth
West is one of the richest rappers in the world, with a net worth of $400 million as of December 2023. His wealth comes mainly from his music sales, his Yeezy brand, and his investments in real estate, art, and stocks. He owns several properties, including a ranch in Wyoming, a mansion in Los Angeles, and a penthouse in New York. He also has a collection of luxury cars, jewelry, and artwork.
West’s net worth has fluctuated over the years, depending on his business deals, his spending habits, and his legal disputes. In 2016, he claimed to be $53 million in debt and asked Mark Zuckerberg for a $1 billion investment. In 2020, he was declared a billionaire by Forbes, with a net worth of $1.3 billion6. However, in 2021, he lost his lucrative deal with Adidas and Gap after making antisemitic comments, which reduced his net worth to $400 million. He also has to pay alimony and child support to Kardashian, who filed for divorce in February 2021.
West is known for his extravagant lifestyle and his philanthropic efforts. He has donated millions of dollars to various causes, such as education, health, social justice, and disaster relief.
West is undoubtedly one of the most influential and controversial artists of his generation, and he shows no signs of slowing down. He has transformed himself from a struggling producer to a global superstar, and he has left his mark on music, fashion, and culture. He is Kanye West, before and after fame.