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Kanye West is a complete visionary who has shifted the course of pop culture time and time again, first as a producer and then as a rapper and fashion mogul.
Kanye was born in a middle class household in Chicago and was a creative from an early age, often writing poetry and becoming part of the city’s hip hop scene at a young age. He briefly attended college but dropped out when it became detrimental to the creation of his music.
He began producing beats for local artists, developing a signature style that utilized sped-up soul samples and before long he received his first big break when he became an in-house producer for Roc A Fella Records and was responsible for the now classic Jay Z Album ‘The Blueprint’.
Despite his production success, Kanye had maintained a desire to make it as a rapper but due to his unconventional style and background had struggled to secure a deal. Dame Dash reluctantly signed Kanye to Roc A Fella however Kanye was involved in a car accident which he was lucky to survive. With his jaw still wired shut, Kanye channeled his emotions into ‘through The Wire’, a single which would appear on his debut album ‘The College Dropout’ in 2004. The album is considered one of the most important Hip Hop debuts and had a lasting effect on the genre.
With each subsequent album Kanye changed up his sound and broken new ground. On 2008’s ‘808 and Hearrtbreaks’ for example, he embraced auto-tune singing and, although many were unsure at the time, it influenced the future sound of Hip Hop and Rnb (laying the framework for the likes of Drake to become huge stars). In 2013 he stunned fans again with the jarring ‘Yeezus’, which, with its industrial minimalism, shocked the genre to its core and won praise from critics in the process.