Kanye Omari West (born June 8, 1977) is an American rapper, singer, and record producer from Chicago, Illinois. West first rose to fame as a producer for Roc-A-Fella Records, where he eventually achieved recognition for his work on Jay-Z's album “The Blueprint,” as well as hit singles for musical artists including Alicia Keys, Ludacris, and Janet Jackson. His style of production originally used pitched-up vocal samples from soul songs incorporated with his own drums and instruments. However, subsequent productions saw him broadening his musical palette and expressing influences encompassing '70s R&B, baroque pop, trip hop, arena rock, folk, alternative, electronica, synth-pop, and classical music.
West's debut album, “The College Dropout,” was released in February 2004 and it produced four singles, including the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Top 10 single "All Falls Down" and the Grammy Award winner "Jesus Walks." The album reached #2 in the U.S., and was certified double platinum by the RIAA.
West's second album, 2005’s “Late Registration,” debuted at #1 on the US Billboard 200 Albums chart, and the U.S. Rap Albums Chart. “Late Registration” produced the #1 single "Gold Digger," featuring Jamie Foxx, and the award-winning singles "Touch the Sky," with rapper Lupe Fiasco, and "Diamonds from Sierra Leone," with rapper Jay-Z. The critically acclaimed album has gained five multi-platinum certifications, including triple platinum from the RIAA.
West's third album, 2007’s “Graduation,” held the U.S. #1 spot for over a month, also reaching #1 in the U.K. It spawned two Grammy Award-winning singles, the #1 hit "Stronger" and the Top 10 single "Good Life" featuring T-Pain.
West's fourth album went in a new direction, with West mostly singing rather than rapping. The album, 2008’s “808s & Heartbreak,” was a third consecutive #1 for West. It spawned two Top 3 singles, "Love Lockdown" and "Heartless," which topped the U.S. airplay charts for three straight weeks.
He released “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy,” his fifth studio album, in 2010. The album debuted at #1 on the U.S. Billboard 200 Albums chart, his fourth consecutive release to do so. It achieved respectable international charting and produced three singles that attained chart success, including U.S. Billboard Hot 100 hits "Power," "Monster," "Runaway" and "All of the Lights." The album has been certified platinum by the RIAA.