Why Is Kanye West Famous?

Have you heard? Kanye West has released new music. West gets so much attention as Kim Kardashian’s husband, it’s easy to forget that he was famous well before he met the famous reality star.

In fact, not only was the rapper famous before he met Kim Kardashian, Kanye West was a household name before Keeping Up With the Kardashians even hit the air. Yes, Kanye West has been around that long. So, just how did Kanye West become famous?

Starting out

Kanye West arrives at the Met Gala
Kanye West | Gilbert Carrasquillo/GC Images

West has always had a love for music. The singer has spent his life working to get to where he is today. Kanye West was born June 8, 1977. It was obvious that he had a knack for rhymes when he wrote his first poem at just five years old.

After graduating college, West was accepted to the American Academy of Art in Chicago. 

It wasn’t long before the rapper was meeting people who shared his same interests. He dropped out of college and moved to New York to pursue music full time. West got his big break in the early 2000s when he began working for Roc-A-Fella Records, producing music for the likes of Jay-Z.

Kanye West’s first hit

It was clear that producing wasn’t enough for the future superstar. West wanted to create music of his own. In 2004, the rapper released his first album, College Dropout. The album became a massive success and sold nearly half a million copies in the first week alone.

College Dropout went on to reach number two on the Billboard 200 and win two Grammys, including one for Best Rap Album. 

After College Dropout, West’s star exploded. During his career, he has been nominated for a Grammy 69 times and has won 21.

Just recently, Forbes named him the highest-paid hip hop artist of 2019. West brought in an estimated $150 million, nearly doubling the earnings of the second-highest paid artist on the list, Jay Z. 

The Yeezy brand

While music made the rapper famous, it’s fashion that has made him one of the richest men in Hollywood. In 2009, West teamed up with Nike to start selling Yeezy brand athletic shoes.

West says that the first shoe he remembers is a pair of Jordans. Now, in 2019, the Yeezy brand generates approximately $1.5 billion in sales a year.

West told Forbes: “I am a product guy at my core. To make products that make people feel an immense amount of joy and solve issues and problems in their life, that’s the problem-solving that I love to do.”

Kanye West’s latest music

Kanye West recently released his latest album, about a year after he had originally promised. The album is somewhat of a departure from his previous work, focusing more on gospel music. The move is not surprising, given the popularity of his Sunday Service

The album has received mixed reviews so far. One fan wrote, “I just wanna spend a day or more with Kanye west and learn …. what a man 🙏,” while gospel rapper Lecrae praised West, tweeting, “Regardless of how you feel about #KanyeWest the content is refreshing to hear. God will get His glory. And #JesusIsKing.”

But it wasn’t all positive. Comedian Michael Rapaport joked, “Kanye’s new record SISTER ACT 2 is straight wackiness. So he has the same amount of dope shit and wack shit now. Greatest Living Con Artist of All Time.” 

Regardless of what side you fall on in terms of his latest music, there’s no question that Kanye West has made a successful career.

And while his Yeezy’s may be what brings in the money, there’s no question West will always be regarded as one of the most influential hip hop artists of all time.