As controversial as Kanye West is, we forget how much he’s accomplished at a relatively young age. While maybe his own manic descriptions of his artistry are overblown to some, others agree he continually lives up to his self-declared greatness. You can’t argue he’s managed to merge sometimes avant-garde artistry with the mainstream, leading to a massive fortune.
Being married to Kim Kardashian seems to have kept him sane (for the most part), though are they in the same age range? There is a slight age difference, but not a big one.
You might think West is younger than he really is. Take a look at what he’s accomplished before turning middle age.
Kanye West has been in the music industry for 23 years
West has been around longer than you may remember. He wasn’t immediately out front with a microphone, though. The late 1990s had him producing work for other Hip-Hop artists, including many local ones in the Chicago area where he grew up.
He did form a local Hip-Hop group called The Go-Getters, despite not finding national success. The stamp of producer was placed on West, something defining him for a while longer until proving himself as an artist in his own right.
It didn’t take long for him to move up to an important role as a music producer in 2000. Working for Roc-A-Fella Records had him producing albums for some of the most important rap artists of the time, including Jay-Z.
Producing Jay-Z’s ‘The Blueprint’
Before even turning 24, Kanye West was credited for saving the career of Jay-Z who was looking for a comeback at the turn of the 21st century. West created many of the innovative beats you heard on Jay-Z’s The Blueprint, and it kicked off a valuable artistic relationship between the two. However, it’s also been a volatile at times.
On the other hand, Jay-Z denies they’ve had any beef and still considers West like a brother. Because West clearly saved Jay-Z’s career, there’s an indebtedness there that will probably endure beyond petty feuds.
West wanted to step away from the isolated producer role by his mid-20s and become a rap star on his own. There was reluctance from producers because he didn’t fit the gangsta rap persona so many of his contemporaries developed from the streets.
Finally setting his own artistic path by age 27
Yes, that dreaded age of 27 is always a scary one for music superstars. While this is usually reserved for rock stars, Kanye West turned into one within the Hip-Hop world.
Once he turned 27, he’d already released his debut album (The College Dropout) and charted numerous singles. This album also won Best Rap Album at the 2005 Grammy Awards.
His rap songs brought daring elements compared to anything else out there. A good example was the song Jesus Walks, which managed to cross the divides on Hip-Hop and a faith-based message.
Since then, we’ve seen the continued successes and controversies. The real question is whether West will keep rapping into old age.
Middle-age rap might be just as marketable
Some might find it hard to calculate Kanye West will be 42 this June 8. After numerous experimental rap albums, a nervous breakdown, and a misdiagnosis of being bipolar, West continues to be one of the most compelling artists of the Millennial generation.
While you can argue his more recent albums sell due to controversy than content, we have to wonder whether the public will soon embrace older artists as rap artists.
With Kim Kardashian by his side, they only have a three-year age difference (she’s 38). In another decade, it’ll be interesting to see what West’s raps sound like to a quickly aging public who still keep up with the Kardashians.