Kanye West

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Kanye West

Kanye West is considered one of the most influential musicians/producers in modern history. The Chicago native got his start as a producer for Roc-A-Fella Records in the early 2000s, producing hit singles for artists such as Jay Z. West released his debut album, The College Dropout, in 2004 to widespread commercial and critical success and founded record label GOOD Music. He went on to explore a variety of different musical styles on subsequent albums that included the baroque-inflected Late Registration (2005), the arena-inspired Graduation (2007), and the starkly polarizing 808s & Heartbreak (2008). In 2010, he released his critically acclaimed fifth album, the maximalist My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, and the following year he collaborated with Jay Z on joint LP Watch the Throne (2011). West released his abrasive sixth album, Yeezus, to further critical praise in 2013. Following release delays and work on non-musical projects, such as his Adidas, “Yeezy” shoe line, West's seventh album, The Life of Pablo, was released in 2016.

On June 1, 2018, Ye was released with features from Kid Cudi, Francis and the Lights, Benny Blanco, among others. The album attempts to address the fluctuating state of Kanye’s mental health, with songs like “I Thought About Killing You” and “Ghost Town”, declaring “I put my hand on the stove, to see if I still bleed/ And nothing hurts anymore, I feel kinda free.” In addition to Ye, West collaborated on a slew of other projects from GOOD Music signees such as Pusha T, Teyana Taylor, and Nas in Jackson Hole. One week after the release of Ye, West dropped Kids See Ghost with collaborator Kid Cudi.

In August of 2018, West released single “XTCY,” a track originally billed for Ye. A month later, West and rapper Lil Pump released single “I Love It”. Over the next year, West repeatedly teased the release of albums Watch the Throne 2 and Yandhi but has postponed both indefinitely. 

In January 2019, West began orchestrating his weekly “Sunday Services”, performing gospel covers of his tracks among other traditional hymns such as Fred Hammonds “This is the Day” with choir group, The Samples. The invite-only performances originally took place in monochrome clothing, on his properties in California. However, on March 31, 2019, the first public service was aired at Coachella Music Festival on Easter. Prior to the rumored release of Kanye’s ninth album, Jesus Is King, West took his performances to locations such as Chicago and New York, releasing free, first-come-first-serve tickets. The only service not held on a Sunday took place on Friday, September 27, 2019 -- the day his album was originally scheduled to be released -- in Detroit, Michigan. The service was followed by a preview of his upcoming documentary, Jesus Is King: A Kanye West Experience. The album’s actual release is still unconfirmed, with claims by West stating he will only make gospel music from now on. 

As of 2017, West has won a total of 21 Grammys, placing eleventh on the list of most awarded artists of all time. He is sixth in the most Grammy nominations with a total of 68. In addition, every single one of West’s studio albums have gone platinum, as he holds the record for having the most consecutive studio albums to debut at No. 1 on the Billboard 200. He is also the second highest male artist of all time in single sales with over 50 million singles having been sold in the United States alone.

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