Kanye Omari West first rose to fame as a producer for Roc-A-Fella Records, where he eventually achieved recognition for his work on the Jay-Z album The Blueprint, as well as hit singles for musical artists including Alicia Keys, Ludacris, and Janet Jackson.
His style of production uses pitched-up vocal samples from soul songs incorporated with his own drums and instruments, mixing ’70s R&B, baroque pop, trip hop, arena rock, folk, alternative, electronica, synth-pop, and classical music.
His five solo albums, all of which have gone platinum, have received numerous awards and critical acclaim. As of 2012, West has won a total of eighteen Grammy Awards, making him one of the most awarded artists of all time. All albums have been very commercially successful, with “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” becoming his fourth consecutive No.1 album in the U.S. upon release.
West has had 5 songs exceed 3 million in digital sales as of July 2011, with “Gold Digger” selling 3,086,000, “Stronger” selling 4,402,000, “Heartless” selling 3,742,000, “E.T.” selling over 4,000,000 and “Love Lockdown” selling over 3,000,000 placing him third in overall digital sales of the past decade.
He has sold over 25 million digital songs in the United States placing him second for solo male artists on the list and sixth overall for best selling digital artists.
West also runs his own record label GOOD Music, home to artists such as John Legend, Common and Kid Cudi. West’s mascot and trademark is “Dropout Bear”, a teddy bear which has appeared on the covers of three of his five albums as well as various single covers and music videos.
About.com ranked Kanye West No.8 on their “Top 50 Hip-Hop Producers” list. On May 16, 2008, Kanye West was crowned by MTV as the year’s No.1 “Hottest MC in the Game”.
On December 17, 2010, Kanye West was voted as the MTV Man of the Year by MTV. Billboard ranked Kanye West No. 3 on their list of Top 10 Producers of the decade. West has also been included in the Time 100 list of the most influential people in the world as well as being listed in a number of Forbes’ annual lists.
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