Ye ( YAY; born June 8, 1977), commonly known by his birth name Kanye West ( kahn-YAY), is an American rapper, record producer, and fashion designer. Born in Atlanta and raised in Chicago. He's been influential in 21st century development of hip hop, pop & popular music in general and regarded as one of the most influential musicians of all time. He gained recognition as a producer for Roc-A-Fella Records in the early 2000s, producing singles for several artists and developing the "chipmunk soul" sampling style. Intent on pursuing a solo career as a rapper, he released his debut studio 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 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 success. West further diversified his 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, his highly anticipated tenth album Donda (2021) was released to mixed critical reception. 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 on social media, at award shows, and in public settings, and his comments on the music and fashion industries, U.S. politics, race, and slavery. His Christian faith, mental health, and marriage to Kim Kardashian have also been sources of further media attention. 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 unsuccessful independent presidential campaign that primarily advocated for a consistent life ethic. He is the founder and head of the creative content company DONDA.
One of the world's best-selling music artists, with over 160 million records sold, West has won 22 Grammy Awards, the joint tenth-most of all time. He is frequently lauded as one of hip hop's greatest artists, with his music among the most critically acclaimed. 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 with the same publication naming him one of the 100 Greatest Songwriters of All Time. He holds the joint record (with Bob Dylan) for most albums (4) topping the annual Pazz & Jop critic poll, and has the 5th most appearances on the Billboard Hot 100 (133 entries). Time magazine named him one of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2005 and 2015. Forbes estimates his net worth at $1.8 billion as of 2021, making him a billionaire.