Hate him or love him, Kanye has become the epitome of 21st century fame and musical genius. He’s made a name for himself as a producer, rapper, fashion icon, fashion designer, and scandalous spokesman. From his breakout track, Jesus Walks, to his marriage to Kim K – every move Kanye makes hits the news. And yet, there are plenty of facts about Mr. West that are still difficult to wrap your head around.
1. His Rap Career was Sparked by a Car Accident
It wasn’t until Kanye demoed Through the Wire that people began to acknowledge and respect his talent as a lyricist and rapper. Before that, Kanye made numerous failed attempts at featuring on other rappers’ tracks, but was constantly pushed aside and labeled as a producer of beats, not a rapper.
2. Kanye was Totally Serious About Running for President
Kanye 2020! If the host of a scandalous business TV show can become the President of the United States there’s no reason Kanye can’t! He’s outspoken about issues of race, inequality, and how difficult it is to be him. He is obviously on the Liberal and Democratic side of the political spectrum. He grew up in Chicago (notorious for its largely ineffective city government), so he knows the importance of well executed top-down policies. What’s more – the White House would have fire music playing in it 24/7.
3. Kanye has a Real Eye for Visuals
Kanye knows what he wants and he’s great at getting it. When the time comes to create stellar visuals at his shows, his frequent collaborator, Vanessa Beecroft, helps him bring his vision to life. She has staged his 808s & Heartbreak tour, his Yeezy Season 1 (and two and three) fashion shows, as well as his latest tour – Saint Pablo.
4. Seriously, He has an Eye for Visuals
When he released his magnum opus, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, Kanye made his first foray into film. Alongside his album, he released a visual short-film companion – Runaway. It featured demo-versions of some of the album’s most memorable tracks backed by some of the most aesthetically pleasing visuals the hip-hop industry has ever seen. Even if you are not a fan of Kanye’s music, the short film is worth your time!
5. Kanye is Beyoncé’s Biggest Fan
Kanye was her fan before it was cool. From his infamous interruption of Taylor Swift’s VMA acceptance speech to his infamous interruption of Beck’s Grammy acceptance speech – Kanye is always putting himself on the line for Queen Bey.
6. Kanye is a Collaboration Mastermind
Like his collaborations with Vanessa Beecroft, Kanye can always find the best producers, rappers, and artists that can help him turn his vision into reality. While he’s been criticized for not writing all of his own lyrics or producing all of his own songs, Kanye’s eye (and ear) for quality art is undeniable. You never know where the surprises will come from, as Kanye feels equally comfortable sampling Nina Simone and Daft Punk. You never know what to expect.
7. Featuring on a Kanye Track is a Recipe for Fame
Let’s just take a break and list all the people who Kanye West has made famous: Desiigner, Kid Cudi, Chief Kief, Pusha-T, Big Sean, Taylor Swift ;) , and… This list could go on forever. Kanye’s productions and collaborations have launched numerous careers. Chance the Rapper said it best when rapping, “I made Sunday Candy I’m never going to hell. I met Kanye West I’m never going to fail.”
8. He Mixed “Stronger” 50 Times Before Releasing
Kanye’s 2007 hit Stronger launched his career into the pop mainstream across the entire world. The song features a hit single by Daft Punk and motivational lyrics that make it a constant entry in every “Hip-Hop Workout” playlist. However, being a musical perfectionist with an ear for true quality, it took Kanye 50 (!!!) different tries until he finally landed on a mix that he was truly happy with.
9. Kanye is a Big Deal at the Grammys
Even though he constantly threatens to not show up, Kanye is actually a pretty big deal at the Grammys. He is 11th on the list of “Most Grammys Won” list, 8th amongst men, and 5th in the list of “Most Grammy Nominations”. He has more Grammys than Bruce Springsteen, Taylor Swift, Adele, and even Paul McCartney.
10. He was a Telemarketer
“Hi, my name is Kanye and I’d like to offer you this revolutionary pr–”
Can you imagine if Kanye West dialed your phone and tried to sell you something? But that’s what he did before his production career took off. He was a telemarketer. Say what you will about the job, I’m sure it taught him the importance of perseverance and how to make a convincing case for a product or idea in the shortest amount of time possible.