10 Years of Kanye West

February 17, 2014


In the past decade alone, we’ve seen Kanye West emerge into the realm of hip hop legends with a constant (sometimes scandalous) stream of creativity and undeniable genius. He’s released seven albums, each more unique and artistic than the next, upon which he has crafted a portfolio of musical feats that continue to influence the music world. As we’ve watched his musical offerings evolve, the world has been wowed by his other creative outlets; West’s seemingly insatiable interests have led him into entrepreneurial pursuits, film projects, and endeavors in the fashion industry.

In short, Kanye West – or, as some see him now, Yeezus – is one of the most successful music artists of our generation for good reason. Having collected dozens of awards and achieved immense record sales, the Chicago-bred artist is well-deserving of a TIME Magazine ‘100 most influential people in the world’ dubbing, in addition to his overall reputation as one of the most creative minds out there.

In celebration of the 10 years we’ve been given the privilege of spending in the company of West’s immense talents, here’s a look at 10 of his most remarkable achievements:


1. The College Dropout release, February 2004

Kanye West’s debut album was released, introducing the world to an up-and-comer from Chicago whose material would soon be certified triple platinum and thrust its owner into a hot spotlight preserved for only the top artists.


2. First Grammy Awards, February 2005

The College Dropout earned the newbie 10 Grammy nods, at which he won for Best Rap Album. “I wrote my Grammy speech four years ago, in my head, when I was taking the train from Newark to Baseline.” West said of the nominations.


3. Sophomore album Late Registration release, 2005

Spending over $2 million and months of dedication and tireless efforts, West released his follow-up record to the public, inspired by instrumental and string-heavy bands. He collaborated with film score composer Jon Brion to create an album that would sell over 2.3 million copies.


4. First controversies, 2004-2005

West got people talking when, snubbed for the award for Best New Artist, he stormed out of the American Music Awards in 2004. Just a year later at a Hurricane Katrina benefit he made a striking comment that “George Bush doesn’t care about black people”, making it clear that he wasn’t afraid to be controversial.


5. U2 tour, 2007

West embarked on a year-long world tour with U2. Entitled the Vertigo Tour, it was West’s first real chance to prove himself to audiences on a global scale, and left him inspired as to how to synthesize his music and the rap genre in general to better suit arena venues.


6. Graduation release, September 2007

Brimming with inspiration from the Vertigo Tour, West set to work to produce his next big hit. Introducing the smash single “Stronger” to the world and blowing music records out of the water, West proved once more that he was an artist to be taken seriously with Graduation, which debuted at number one on the Billboard charts.


7. 808s & Heartbreak release and infamous Taylor Swift snub, 2008-2009

November 2007 brought a shroud of depression upon West when his mother passed away during surgery. Influenced by this life event along with his broken engagement with Alexis Phifer, and yearning to express his emotions in a creative manner, West released 808s & Heartbreak. The record was deemed by music critics as profoundly innovative, and one of West’s best yet. The next year, controversy befell the singer once more, when he infamously interrupted Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech at the VMAs to proclaim that Beyonce’s video better deserved the award.


8. My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy release, November 2010

In further developing his musical style, West released My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy to the world, a smash hit with both critics and the general public. Grappling with issues involving his glittery world, the record brought “All of the Lights”, “Monster”, and “Runaway” to our radios and soon went platinum in the US.


9. Yeezus release, June 2013

This past summer brought his latest album to the table, another hit with critics. Yeezus is West’s sixth consecutive number one album, and inspired his headlining tour with Kendrick Lamar.


10. Relationship with Kim Kardashian and introduction to the world of baby North

Perhaps one of West’s most high-profile relationships happens to be his current one. The rapper began a relationship with reality superstar Kim Kardashian in April 2012. On June 15th, the couple brought baby North “Nori” West into the world, soon after which they announced their engagement.


It’s been one hell of a ride for Kanye West as he has built an empire out of virtually nothing, and he continues to expand his career every day. If the past ten years are any indication, the next decade is only bound to bring us more genius worthy of the Yeezus name.


-Shelley DeHekker


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