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Kanye West - Biography

The Ye rapper, songwriter and fashion designer was born in 1977

Kanye West smiling wearing sunglasses
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Early life

Born Kanye Omari West in Georgia on June 8, 1977, the rapper now known as Ye was writing poetry from the age five before moving on to rap and music making when he was in seventh grade. At 13, Kanye begged his mother, a college professor, to pay for some time in a recording studio, and mid-way though his later English degree at Chicago State University, he dropped out to focus on his growing music career full time. 

Growing success and controversy

Kanye began producing music for local rap artists, and in 2000 he joined Jay-Z's Roc-A-Fella Records, moving on to produce for stars including Beyoncé and Ludacris. But Kanye's true passion was rapping, and in 2002 he signed to Roc-A-Fella Records and began recording his own tracks. After experiencing a near-fatal car crash after which he had to have his jaw wired shut, Through the Wire became his first breakthrough single, soon followed by the album, The College Dropout which sold over 3 million copies and won the Best Rap Album Grammy. Another 20+ would follow. 

Yeezy, as fans call him, has since created a multi-million dollar empire, including fashion collections and his own record label, GOOD Music. But the rapper has also courted much controversy. At the 2009 MTV Music Video Awards, Kanye outraged fans when he interrupted Taylor Swift's acceptance speech to declare that Beyoncé should have won the award. In late-2022, the rapper was universally criticized and dropped from the majority of his brand collaborations after making a series of antisemitic remarks and identifying himself a Nazi. 

Personal life

Off-stage and away from his behavior, much focus has also been given to the rapper's relationship with reality television superstar Kim Kardashian. The pair began dating in April 2012, and the following December, Kanye announced Kim was pregnant during one of his concerts. A few months after she gave birth to their daughter North, known as Nori. In October 2013, Kanye proposed, hiring an entire stadium and orchestra. Kim and Ye married in May 2014. They went on to welcome three more children: Saint, born 2015; Chicago, born via surrogate in 2018; and Psalm, born via surrogate in 2019; then announced their divorce in 2021. It was finalized in November 2022.

For the latest news on Kanye and his family, click here. For more on the Kardashians, see here.

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