Ye ( YAY; born Kanye Omari West, June 8, 1977), commonly known by his former name Kanye West ( KAHN-yay), is an American rapper, record producer, and fashion designer. Born in Atlanta and raised in Chicago, West gained recognition as a producer for Roc-A-Fella Records in the early 2000s, producing singles for several popular artists and developing the "chipmunk soul" sampling style. Intent on pursuing a solo career as a rapper, West released his debut album, The College Dropout (2004), to critical and commercial success, and founded the record label GOOD Music.
West explored diverse musical elements such as orchestral arrangements, synthesizers, and autotune on the acclaimed albums Late Registration (2005), Graduation (2007), and 808s & Heartbreak (2008). Drawing inspiration from maximalism and minimalism respectively, his fifth album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (2010) and sixth album Yeezus (2013) were also released to critical and commercial successes. West also diversified musical styles on The Life of Pablo (2016) and Ye (2018), and explored Christian and gospel music on Jesus Is King (2019). After a series of delays, West's highly anticipated tenth album, Donda, was released in 2021. West's discography also includes the full-length collaborative albums Watch the Throne (2011) with Jay-Z and Kids See Ghosts (2018) with Kid Cudi.
West's outspoken views and life outside of music have received significant media coverage. He has been a frequent source of controversy for his conduct at award shows, on social media, and in other public settings—his comments on the music and fashion industries, U.S. politics, race, and slavery have been generally polarized. His Christian faith and marriage to Kim Kardashian has also been sources of media attention. West is frequently lauded as one of hip hop's greatest artists, with his music also being recognized among the world's highest-selling and most acclaimed. As a fashion designer, he has collaborated with Nike, Louis Vuitton, The Gap, and A.P.C. on clothing and footwear, and leads the Yeezy collaboration with Adidas. In 2020, he launched an unsuccesful independent presidential campaign that primarily advocated for a consistent life ethic. He is the founder and head of the creative content company DONDA.
West is one of the world's best-selling music artists, with more than 160 million records sold worldwide. He has won a total of 22 Grammy Awards, making him one of the most awarded artists of all time, and second most awarded rapper. Among his other awards are the Billboard Artist Achievement Award, a joint-record three Brit Awards for Best International Male Solo Artist and the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award. Six of his albums were included on Rolling Stone's 2020 500 Greatest Albums of All Time list; the same publication named him one of the 100 Greatest Songwriters of All Time. West is the tied holder for the most albums (four) topping the annual Pazz & Jop critic poll, a distinction he shares with Bob Dylan. To date, West has the 5th most appearances on the Billboard Hot 100, amassing 133 chart entries. Time magazine named him one of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2005 and 2015.