On this day in Hip Hop history, we celebrate the birth of one of this generation’s most influential pop culture icons. Since his debut, Kanye West‘s music, style, and opinion has continuously shaped this generation’s view on Hip Hop culture. Over the past five years he has risen to be one of the most spoken about public figures in media, spanning all genres of journalism while continuing to see increase in music and merchandise sales. From his debut platinum-selling College Dropout to his streaming-only hit album The Life of Pablo, West has consistently delivered genre-shifting waves with each project.
Born in Chicago, West made his way from small time record producer to multi-platinum selling mogul. Since the beginning of his career West has had his hand in some of the most popular records of the decade. Following his 2000 break signing with Roc-A-Fella Records, West produced in large part what is said to be JAY Z‘s best album The Blueprint, released on September 11, 2001. The success of the project instantly shot West up into the rank of the era’s best beat makers and he became an in-house producer for the label, working with artists like Cam’ron, Beanie Sigel and Freeway.
Although his success as a producer was compounding exponentially, West’s attempts at being a rapper were all but fruitful. After going through trials and tribulations trying to get signed by Capitol, former Roc-A-Fella label head Damon Dash signed West to keep him from signing on to any other label. That following year, after a near fatal car accident, West released his critically acclaimed, Grammy Award winning debut album College Dropout, and the rest is history.
Since his debut West has released eight award winning albums, collaborated on clothes with the likes of Louis Vuitton, APC, Adidas and more, directed films, and has begun building an empire with his DONDA project which he proclaims will “pick up where Steve Jobs left off.”
From the success of his latest album and merchandise collection, West’s future is looking nothing but bright going into the second half of 2016. He has so far announced the release of two albums this year, Turbo Grafx 16 and Cruel Winter from the whole G.O.O.D. Music camp, as well as Yeezy Season 4, the latest installment of his Adidas collaboration, in the works to hit stores this coming year. As long as all goes as planned, there’s no reason Kanye West shouldn’t have the strongest 2016 in rap music. Only time will tell what is to come for the career of one of music’s most outspoken icons.
From everyone here at The Source Magazine, Happy Birthday Kanye West! May this year bring only more success to your name.