Artist picture of Kanye West

Kanye West

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Making his name as producer for Lil' Kim, Janet Jackson and, most notably, Jay-Z's Blueprint album, Kanye West's middle-class upbringing made him different to most gangsta rappers. Debut album The College Dropout (2004) mixed towering beats and funky hooks with social conscience while singles Jesus Walks and All Falls Down showcased a strutting flamboyance. Never far from controversy, he spoke out against homophobia and misogyny and was so outraged by the government's reaction to Hurricane Katrina, he declared live on TV that "George Bush doesn't care about black people". Chart-topping second album Late Registration (2007) won mass acclaim and worldwide hits Gold Digger and Touch The Sky before the more introspective Graduation (2007). West's next album 808s and Heartbreak (2008) featured contributions from Mr Hudson, Lil Wayne and Kid Cudi but he caused outrage again when he stormed the stage during Taylor Swift's acceptance speech at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards, even earning a ticking off from President Obama. Artist biography compiled by BDS/West 10. All rights reserved

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