Kanye, Yeezy, Pablo, or Louis Vuitton Don—no matter what you call him, Mr. West has made sure that everyone knows his name. Since breaking out from the record producing business to begin his own solo career, rapper Kanye West has become one of the most prolific, though controversial, figures in music today’s industry. His 2004 album, The College Dropout, premiered at number 2 on the Billboard 200 chart and went on to win Grammy Awards for Best Rap Album and Best Rap Song for the single “Jesus Walks.” Since then, Yeezy has released a total of 8 studio albums, become one of the top 30 best-selling artists of all time, and amassed an incredible 21 Grammys, the most of any artist to debut in the 21st century. In 2012, 3 of his records—The College Dropout, Late Registration, and My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy—appeared on Rolling Stone’s updated list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. His unique blend of unconventional influences and heavy subject matter has been hailed as brilliant, while his conceptual live shows have attracted millions of fans from all across the world. Despite frequent controversies and rivalries with other public figures, Kanye West concerts continue to be one of the hottest tickets in town.
With an affinity for the arts that developed at a very early age, Kanye West became immersed in the hip hop scene while growing up in Chicago, writing raps as early as third grade. After graduating high school, Kanye enrolled in arts school but eventually dropped out to pursue music full-time. Though his career boomed in the early 2000s as a record producer for artists like Jay-Z, Ludacris, and Alicia Keys, Kanye struggled to be accepted as a recording artist in his own right. However, his big break came when his employer, Roc-A-Fella Records, hesitantly signed him in an attempt to keep him from going to work for a different label. Over the next 4 years, Kanye would work on songs for his debut album, ultimately producing 5 hit singles, including “All Falls Down” and “Slow Jamz.” Kanye was later credited with helping to change the face of hip hop as he diverged from the then-dominant style of gangsta rap and focused on themes of family, religion, racism, education, and materialism. Over the years, he’s continued to prove his innovation with records like the indie-esque Graduation, electro-infused 808 & Heartbreaks, and gospel-inspired Life of Pablo. Most recently, Kanye wrapped up the Saint Pablo Tour, which sold out an estimated 97 percent of available tickets. Keep your keys peeled for when Kanye hits the road yet again, as those tickets are sure to sell out just as fast.