Jay-Z & Kanye
Kanye Omari West (pronounced /'k??nje?/; born June 8, 1977) is
an American rapper, singer, and record producer. West first rose
to fame as a producer for Roc-A-Fella Records, where he eventually
achieved recognition for his work on Jay-Z's album The Blueprint,
as well as hit singles for musical artists including Alicia Keys,
Ludacris, and Janet Jackson. His style of production originally used
pitched-up vocal samples from soul songs incorporated with his own
drums and instruments. However, subsequent productions saw him broadening
his musical palette and expressing influences encompassing '70s R&B,
baroque pop, trip hop, arena rock, folk, alternative, electronica,
synth-pop, and classical music.
West released his debut album The College Dropout in 2004, his second
album Late Registration in 2005, his third album Graduation in 2007,
his fourth album 808s & Heartbreak in 2008, and his fifth album
My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy in 2010. His five albums, all of
which have gone platinum, have received numerous awards, including
a cumulative twelve Grammys, and critical acclaim. All
have been very commercially successful, with "My Beautiful Dark
Twisted Fantasy becoming his fourth consecutive #1 album in the U.S.
upon release. West also runs his own record label GOOD Music,
home to artists such as John Legend, Common and Kid Cudi. West's
mascot and trademark is "Dropout Bear," a teddy bear which
has appeared on the covers of three of his five albums as well as
various single covers and music videos. About.com ranked Kanye
West #8 on their "Top 50 Hip-Hop Producers" list. On
May 16, 2008, Kanye West was crowned by MTV as the year's #1 "Hottest
MC in the Game." On 17 December 2010, Kanye West was voted
as the MTV Man of the Year by MTV.
Kanye West was born in Atlanta, Georgia, where he lived with
his parents. When he was three years old, his parents divorced, and
he and his mother moved to Chicago, Illinois. His father was
Ray West, a former Black Panther who was one of the first black photojournalists
at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and is now a Christian counselor.
West's mother, Dr. Donda West, was a Professor of English at Clark
Atlanta University, and the Chair of the English Department at Chicago
State University before retiring to serve as West's manager. He was
raised in a middle-class background, attending Polaris High School
in suburban Oak Lawn, Illinois after living in Chicago. When
asked about his grades in high school, West replied, "I got
A's and B's. And I'm not even frontin'".
West attended art classes at the American Academy of Art in Chicago,
and also enrolled at Chicago State University, but dropped out to
focus on his music career. While attending school, West produced
for local artists. He later gained fame by producing hit singles
for major hip hop/R&B artists, including Jay-Z, Talib Kweli,
Cam'ron, Paul Wall, Common, Mobb Deep, Jermaine Dupri, Scarface,
The Game, Alicia Keys, Janet Jackson, John Legend among others. He
also "ghost-produced" for his mentor Deric Angelettie,
according to his song "Last Call" and the credits of Nas' "Poppa
Was a Playa".
Early career (1996–2003)
Kanye West's first career productions came on Chicago rapper Grav's
1996 debut album Down to Earth. West produced eight tracks on the
album. While the album did not attract much attention and would be
the only album released by Grav, West would soon be producing for
higher profile artists. In 1998-1999 he produced for well known artists
such as Jermaine Dupri, Foxy Brown, Goodie Mob, and the group Harlem
West got his big break in the year 2000 however when he began to
produce for artists on Roc-a-Fella Records. He produced the well
received Jay-Z song "This Can't Be Life" off of the album
The Dynasty: Roc La Familia. West would later state that to create
the beat for "This Can't Be Life" he sped up the drum beat
from Dr. Dre's song "Xxplosive".
After producing for Jay-Z earlier, West’s sound was featured
heavily on Jay-Z's critically acclaimed album The Blueprint, released
on September 11, 2001. His work was featured on the lead single "Izzo
(H.O.V.A.)," "Heart of the City (Ain't No Love)" and
a diss track against Nas and Mobb Deep named "Takeover";
West has worked with Mobb Deep and Nas since the track's release.
After meeting great commercial success and critical acclaim for
his productions on The Blueprint, West became a sought after producer
in the hip-hop industry, even before he became known as a rapper
and solo artist. In the years 2002-2003 he would produce for artists
such as Nas, Scarface, Talib Kweli, Mos Def, T.I., Ludacris, DMX,
and Monica. He also continued producing for Roc-a-Fella Records artists
and contribued four tracks to Jay-Z's follow up album to The Blueprint,
The Blueprint²: The Gift & the Curse.
After great successes as a producer, West now looked to pursue a
career as a rapper and solo artist, but struggled to find a way to
get a record deal. Chris Anokute, then A&R at Def Jam, said that
when West regularly dropped by the office to pick up his producer
checks he would play demos of solo material to Anokute in his cubicle
and bemoan the fact that no one was taking him seriously as a rapper.
Jay-Z admitted that Roc-A-Fella was initially reluctant to support
West as a rapper, claiming that he saw him as a producer first and
foremost. Multiple record companies felt he was not as marketable
as rappers who portray the "street image" prominent in
hip hop culture. Beginning his career as a rapper, Kanye West
rapped a verse on Jay-Z's The Blueprint²: The Gift & the
Curse, an album he produced for, from the same label he was signed
to as a rapper.
The College Dropout (2004)
On October 23, 2002, West was involved in a near fatal car crash
while driving home from the recording studio. The crash provided
inspiration for West's first single, "Through the Wire".
West's faith is apparent in many of his songs, such as "Jesus
Walks", which became a staple at his benefit performances, such
as the Live 8 concert. These songs were featured on West's debut
album, The College Dropout, which was released on Roc-A-Fella Records
in February 2004, and went on to receive critical acclaim. The album
also defined the style for which West would become known, including
wordplay and sampling. The album was eventually certified triple
platinum. Guest appearances included Jay-Z, Ludacris, GLC, Consequence,
Talib Kweli, Mos Def, Common, and Syleena Johnson. The album also
featured the singles, "All Falls Down" and "The New
Workout Plan", as well as Twista's number one single, "Slow
Jamz". During 2003 West also co-produced songs for British
singer Javine Hylton, even appearing in the music video to Real Things
playing the love interest of Javine.
West was involved in a financial dispute over Royce Da 5'9"'s
song "Heartbeat", produced by West and released on Build & Destroy:
The Lost Sessions. West maintains that Royce never paid for the beat,
but recorded to it and released it; hearing him on the beat, the
original customers decided not to buy it from West. After the disagreement,
West vowed to never work with Royce again. Other Kanye West-produced
hit singles during the period The College Dropout was released included "I
Changed My Mind" by Keyshia Cole, "Overnight Celebrity" by
Twista and "Talk About Our Love" by Brandy.
Late Registration (2005)
West and Jamie Foxx performing "Gold Digger" at the Democratic
Convention in Denver, Colorado
Taking a more eclectic route, West collaborated with American film
score composer Jon Brion to construct his second album, Late Registration,
which was released on August 30, 2005. Like its predecessor,
the sophomore effort garnered universal acclaim from music critics.
Late Registration topped countless critic polls and was revered as
the best album of the year by numerous publications, including USA
Today, Spin, and Time. Rolling Stone awarded the album the
highest position on their end of the year record list and hailed
it as a "sweepingly generous, absurdly virtuosic hip-hop classic."
The record earned the number one spot on the Village Voice's Pazz & Jop
critics' poll of 2005 for the second consecutive year. Late Registration
was also a commercial success, selling over 860,000 copies in its
first week alone and topping the Billboard 200. Grossing over
2.3 million units sold in the United States alone by year's end,
Late Registration was considered by industry observers as the sole
majorly successful album release of the fall of 2005, a season that
was plagued by steadily declining CD sales. The sophomore album
earned eight Grammy Award nominations including Album of the Year
and Record of the Year for the song "Gold Digger".
The album is certified triple platinum.
On August 22, 2005, the MTV special All Eyes On Kanye West aired,
in which West spoke out against homophobia in hip-hop. He claimed
that hip-hop has always been about "speaking your mind and about
breaking down barriers, but everyone in hip-hop discriminates against
gay people." He then reflected on a personal experience.
He said that he had a "turning point" when he realized
one of his cousins was gay. He said regarding this experience: "This
is my cousin. I love him and I've been discriminating against gays." He
drew comparison between African Americans' struggle for civil rights
and today's gay rights movement. The following year, in an interview
with Entertainment Weekly, West further expounded his experiences
with and views on the relationship between the black and gay communities.
In September 2005, West announced that he would release his Pastelle
Clothing line in spring 2006: "Now that I have a Grammy
under my belt and Late Registration is finished, I am ready to launch
my clothing line next spring." The current status of this project
is unknown. In that year, West produced the hit singles "Go" by
Common and "Dreams" by The Game.
West performing at a concert in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
In 2007, it was announced that West would be starring in a series
directed by Larry Charles. He has been working on the pilot episode
for the past two years with Larry Charles and Rick Rubin. He also
had this to say on January 14: "I wouldn't do something as cliché as
a reality show. At least give me the credit for being more creative
than that. It's a situational half-hour comedy. It's fictional, and
loosely based on my life. " West also collaborated with
Japanese hip-hop group Teriyaki Boyz to produce the single "I
Still Love H.E.R.," a reference to Common's 1994 single "I
Used to Love H.E.R.". Further to this, during a radio appearance
in early 2007, West, like many of his peers, recorded an impromptu
freestyle to the popular song "Throw Some D's." The song
that to all other rappers was about automobile rims, was used by
West to comically refer to D-cup breasts. Because of the unexpected
success of the song, West went on to make a video for the freestyle,
in which he is seen playing his 'Old Ass Cousin'.
West was also featured in a new song called "Classic (Better
Than I've Ever Been)". It was believed to be a single for, Graduation,
because he is featured on the track, but Nike quickly explained that
it was for the Nike Air Force 1's anniversary. It was meant only
to be an exclusive track for the company.
On March 25, 2007, he and his father Ray West supported World Water
Day by having a "Walk for Water" rally. After a two-year
break, West has returned to being a fashion columnist in lifestyle
magazine Complex. On July 7, 2007, West performed with The Police
and John Mayer at the American leg of Live Earth. West hosted
the August 17 edition of British comedy- variety show The Friday
In July 2007, West changed the release date of Graduation, his third
album, from September 18, 2007, to the same release date as 50 Cent's
album Curtis, September 11, 2007. 50 Cent later claimed that
if Graduation were to sell more records than Curtis, he would stop
releasing solo albums. However, 50 Cent would later dispel his comments.
The album has been certified double platinum. Guest appearances included
T-Pain, Mos Def, and Lil Wayne.
When I heard that thing about the debate, I thought that was the
stupidest thing. When my albums drops and 50's album drops, you're
gonna get a lot of good music at the same time. ”
On August 26, 2007, West appeared as himself on the HBO television
show Entourage which he used as a platform to premier his new single "Good
Life" during the end credits. On September 9, 2007, West performed
at the 2007 MTV Video Music Awards, losing in every category he was
nominated for; he gave an angry speech immediately afterward. (see "Controversies" section)
Following the MTV stint, West was nominated in eight Grammy Award
categories for the 50th annual Grammy Awards. He won four of
them, including Best Rap Album for Graduation and Best Rap Solo
Performance for "Stronger" from Graduation. During the
four-hour televised Grammy Awards ceremony, West also performed two
songs: "Stronger" (with Daft Punk) and "Hey Mama" (in
honor of his recently deceased mother).
Glow in the Dark Tour, 808s & Heartbreak (2008–09)
West performing at the United Center in Chicago
West kicked off the Glow In The Dark Tour in Seattle at the Key
Arena on April 16. The tour was originally scheduled to end in June
in Cincinnati but was extended into August. Over the course of the
tour West was joined by a varying group of opening acts, including
Lupe Fiasco, Rihanna, N.E.R.D., DJ Craze, and Gnarls Barkley. On
June 15, West was scheduled to perform a late night set at the Bonnaroo
Music Festival. His performance started almost two hours late and
ran for half of its alloted time, angering many fans in the audience.
West later wrote an outraged entry on his blog, blaming the festival
organizers as well as Pearl Jam's preceding set, which ran longer
On September 7, West debuted a new song "Love Lockdown" at
the 2008 MTV Video Music Awards. "Love Lockdown" features
no rapping and only singing using an auto-tune device. This song
appears on West's fourth studio album, 808s & Heartbreak. The
new album was expected to be released on December 16, but West announced
on his blog on September 24, 2008, that he had finished the album
and would be releasing it sometime in November, earlier than previously
scheduled. In early October, West made a surprise appearance at a
T.I. concert in Los Angeles, where he stated that 808s & Heartbreak
was scheduled to be released on November 25, though it was actually
released on the 24th, and that the second single is "Heartless".
The album was another number one album for West, even though the
first week numbers fell well short of Graduation with 450,145 sold.
West performing in 2008
Along with Alicia Keys, Rihanna, Taylor Swift, Leona Lewis, and
others, West performed at the American Music Awards ceremony on November
23. That same night he won two AMA awards, including Favorite
Rap/Hip-Hop Album for Graduation and Favorite Rap/Hip-Hop Male Artist.
West performed at the Democratic National Convention in Denver in
August 2008, along with Wyclef Jean and N.E.R.D. in support of Barack
Obama. On January 20, 2009, Kanye West performed at the Youth Inaugural
Ball hosted by MTV for Obama's inauguration.
On February 17, 2009, West was named one of Top 10 Most Stylish
Men in America by GQ. The next day, February 18, 2009, West won
International Male Solo Artist at The Brit Awards 2009. West was
not in attendance but accepted his award with a video speech, saying "Barack
is the 'Best Interracial Male' but I'm proud to be the Best International
Male in the world.
In April 2009, Kanye West recorded a song called "Hurricane" with
30 Seconds to Mars to appear on their album This Is War, but was
not released due to legal issues with both record companies. The
song was eventually released on the deluxe version of This Is War,
titled "Hurricane 2.0".
My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, Watch the Throne (2010–present)
Main article: My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
In May 2010, West made an animated television guest appearance on
Fox's animated television series The Cleveland Show (a spin-off of
Family Guy) as the voice behind "Kenny West", a rival of
Cleveland Brown's son. In his first episode he performed in a
rap battle with Cleveland's son. The producers stated working with
West was a very good experience and a reason they chose him was because
they knew he was a fan of Family Guy. Kenny West re-appeared
in the season 2 premiere of The Cleveland Show.
West spent the first half of 2010 in Honolulu, Hawaii, working on
his new album with the working title "Good Ass Job", later
named My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, released on November 22,
2010. West has cited Maya Angelou, Gil Scott-Heron and Nina Simone
as his musical inspirations for this album. Outside production is
said to come from RZA, Q-Tip, Pete Rock, and DJ Premier.
West also had Justin Vernon flown into his studio on Oahu after seemingly
expressing interest in sampling one of Bon Iver's songs; Vernon proceeded
to feature on a number of new tracks, including "Lost In The
World," which features Vernon's vocal line from Woods.
On May 28, the Dwele-assisted first single from the album, entitled "Power",
leaked to the Internet. On June 30, the track was officially released
via iTunes. The upcoming music video was quoted as being "apocalyptic,
in a very personal way" by the director Marco Brambilla.
On September 12, 2010, West performed a new song, "Runaway" featuring
Pusha T, at the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards. Shortly after the
performance, Kanye revealed he was working on a 35 minute short film
based around the song. The movie is said to be influenced by film
noir and concerns a fallen phoenix whom Kanye falls in love with.
The short film debuted consecutively on VH1, MTV, and BET on October
Watch The Throne, an upcoming collaborative studio album by West
and Jay-Z, is scheduled to be released by Def Jam Recordings
in 2011. It has been under production since August 2010 as part of
West's GOOD Friday initiative of releasing new songs every Friday
between August 20 and Christmas 2010. West said through a recent
interview with MTV that the album is "going to be very dark
and sexy, like couture hip hop. He appeared at the Macy's
Thanksgiving Day Parade, performing the track "Lost in the World" from
My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. On January 6, 2011, Kanye
announced via Twitter that the first official single from Watch the
Throne would be a song called "H.A.M" produced by Lex Luger.
The song was released on January 11, 2011. On January 23, 2011,
Kanye revealed via his twitter account that he will be releasing
a new album in summer 2011.
Kanye West and designer Alexis Phifer ended their 18-month engagement
in 2008. The couple had been dating on and off since 2002, with West
eventually proposing in August 2006. According to a friend, the couple's
relationship had been straining, significantly influenced by the
sheer amount of time and attention West was dedicating to his current
concert tour. "It's always sad when things like this end, and
we remain friends," Phifer told People.
West was also in a high profile on/off relationship with Amber Rose
from 2008 until the summer of 2010.
On November 10, 2007, West's mother, Donda West, died of complications
from cosmetic surgery involving abdominoplasty and breast augmentation.
TMZ reported that Beverly Hills physician Andre Aboolian had advised
Donda West not to have surgery because of a health condition that
placed her at risk for a heart attack. Aboolian referred her
to another internist. Donda never met with the doctor recommended
by Aboolian and had the procedures performed by a third doctor, Jan
Donda West in August 2007
Adams sent condolences to Donda West's family but declined to publicly
discuss the procedure because of confidentiality. He had previously
been under scrutiny by the medical board. Adams appeared
on Larry King Live on November 20, 2007 but left before speaking.
Two days later, he appeared again, with his attorney, stating he
was there to "defend himself." He said that the recently
released autopsy results "spoke for themselves". The
final coroner's report January 10, 2008 concluded that Donda West
died of "coronary artery disease and multiple post-operative
factors due to or as a consequence of liposuction and mammoplasty."
The funeral and burial for Donda West was held in Oklahoma City
on November 20, 2007. West held his first concert following the
funeral at The O2 in London on November 22. He dedicated a performance
of "Hey Mama", as well as a cover of Journey's "Don't
Stop Believin'", to his mother, and did so on all other dates
of his Glow in the Dark tour.
At a December 2008 press conference in New Zealand, West spoke about
his mother's death for the first time. "It was like losing an
arm and a leg and trying to walk through that," he told reporters.
California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger passed the "Donda
West Law," a legislation which makes it mandatory for patients
to provide medical clearance for elective cosmetic surgery.
Musical style and influences
West working in the studio with his mentor No I.D. (left)
At the start of his career, Kanye West's production style often
used pitched-up vocal samples, usually from soul songs, with his
own drums and instruments. His first major release featuring
his trademark vocal sampling style was "This Can't Be Life",
a track from Jay-Z’s The Dynasty: Roc La Familia. West said
he sped up the drum beat of Dr. Dre's "Xxplosive" to use
as a replacement for his drums on "This Can't Be Life".
West has said that Wu-Tang Clan producer RZA influenced him in his
style, and has said on numerous occasions that Wu-Tang rappers
Ghostface Killah and Ol' Dirty Bastard were some of his all-time
favorites, "Wu-Tang? Me and my friends talk about this all the
time... We think Wu-Tang had one of the biggest impacts as far as
a movement. From slang to style of dress, skits, the samples. Similar
to the [production] style I use, RZA has been doing that."
RZA himself has spoken quite positively of the comparisons, stating
in an interview for Rolling Stone, "All good. I got super respect
for Kanye. He came up to me about a year or two ago. He gave me mad
praising and blessings... For people to say Wu-Tang inspire Kanye,
Kanye is one of the biggest artists in the world. That goes back
to what we say: 'Wu-Tang is forever.' Kanye is going to inspire people
to be like him." After hearing his work on The Blueprint,
RZA claimed that a torch-passing had occurred between him and West,
saying, "The shoes gotta be filled. If you ain't gonna do it,
somebody else is gonna do it. That's how I feel about rap today."
West accompanied by an eleven-piece chamber orchestra
While his use of sampling has lessened over time, West's production
continues to feature distinctive and intricate string arrangements.
This characteristic arose from him listening to the English trip
hop group Portishead, whose 1998 live album Roseland NYC Live, with
the New York Philharmonic Orchestra inspired him to incorporate string
sections into his hip hop production. Though he was unable to
afford live instruments beyond violin riffs provided by Israeli violinist
Miri Ben-Ari around the time of his debut album, its subsequent commercial
success allowed him to hire his very own eleven-piece string orchestra.
For a time, West stood as the sole current pop star to tour with
a string section.
West has stated on several occasions that outside of work, he favors
listening to rock music over hip-hop. He cites Franz Ferdinand, Red
Hot Chili Peppers, and The Killers as some of his favorite musical
groups. Additionally, on Graduation, West drew inspiration from arena
rock bands such as U2, The Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin for melody
and chord progression. Both a fan and supporter of indie culture,
West uses his official website to promote obscure indie rock bands,
posting up music videos and mp3s on a daily basis. This musical
affinity is mutual, as West has collaborated with indie artists such
as Santigold, Peter Bjorn and John and Lykke Li while his songs have
gone on to be covered countless times by myriad rock bands.
In August 2008, West revealed plans to open 10 Fatburger restaurants
in the Chicago area; the first was set to open in September 2008
in Orland Park. The second followed in January 2009, while a third
location is yet to be revealed, although the process is being finalized.
His company, KW Foods LLC, bought the rights to the chain in Chicago.
Additionally, West planned to launch his fashion career, and applied
for internships with major European fashion houses. He is due
to release his own clothing line called Past Tell in 2009. He also
collaborated with Nike to release his own shoe, Air Yeezys.
On January 22, 2009, during Paris Fashion Week, West introduced
his first shoe line designed for Louis Vuitton. The line was released
in summer 2009.
West started the "Kanye West Foundation" in Chicago in
2003. On August 24, 2007, West hosted the inaugural benefit concert
to launch the foundation's partnership with Strong American Schools.
It is focused on helping Latino and African American children stay
in school and to get a proper education through grade school, high
school, and college. The foundation also helps children to stay in
high school by finding a path through music. West has contributed
over $500,000 to his foundation. The foundation has also been called
the "Donda West Foundation".
Kanye West has appeared and participated in many fundraisers, benefit
concerts, and has done community work for Hurricane Katrina relief,
the Kanye West Foundation, the Millions More Movement, 100 Black
Men of America, a Live Earth concert benefit, World Water Day rally
and march, Nike runs, and a MTV special helping young Iraq War veterans
who struggle through debt and PTSD a second chance after returning
West has had several controversies throughout his career. On September
2, 2005, during a benefit concert for Hurricane Katrina relief on
NBC, A Concert for Hurricane Relief, West was a featured speaker.
When West was presenting alongside actor Mike Myers, he deviated
from the prepared script. Myers spoke next and continued to read
the script. Once it was West's turn to speak again, he said "George
Bush doesn't care about black people." At this point, telethon
producer Rick Kaplan cut off the microphone and then cut away to
Chris Tucker, who was unaware of the cut for a few seconds. Still,
West's comment reached much of the United States. Bush stated
in an interview that the comment was "one of the most disgusting
moments” of his presidency.
In January 2006, West again sparked controversy when he appeared
on the cover of Rolling Stone in the image of Jesus wearing a crown
Later in 2006, West had his first of a number of incidents involving
music award events. After the 2006 Grammy nominations were released,
West said he would "really have a problem" if he did not
win the Album of the Year, saying, "I don't care what I do,
I don't care how much I stunt — you can never take away from
the amount of work I put into it. I don't want to hear all of that
politically correct stuff." On November 2, 2006, when his "Touch
the Sky" failed to win Best Video at the MTV Europe Music Awards,
West went onto the stage as the award was being presented to Justice
and Simian for "We Are Your Friends" and argued that he
should have won the award instead. Hundreds of news outlets
worldwide criticized the outburst. On November 7, 2006, West apologized
for this outburst publicly during his performance as support act
for U2 for their Vertigo concert in Brisbane. He later spoofed
the incident in the season premiere of Saturday Night Live. On September
9, 2007, West suggested that his race had to do with his being overlooked
for opening the 2007 MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs) in favor of Britney
Spears; he claimed, "Maybe my skin’s not right."
West was performing at the event; that night, he lost all 5 awards
that he was nominated for, including Best Male Artist and Video of
the Year. After the show, he was visibly upset that he had lost at
the VMAs two years in a row, stating that he would not come back
to MTV ever again. He also appeared on several radio stations saying
that when he made the song "Stronger" that it was his dream
to open the VMAs with it. He has also stated that Spears has not
had a hit in a long period of time and that MTV exploited her for
On September 13, 2009, during the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards while
Taylor Swift was accepting her award for Best Female Video for "You
Belong with Me", West went on stage and grabbed the microphone
to proclaim that Beyoncé's video for "Single Ladies (Put
a Ring on It)", nominated for the same award, was "one
of the best videos of all time". He was subsequently removed
from the remainder of the show for his actions. When
Beyoncé later won the award for Best Video of the Year for "Single
Ladies (Put a Ring on It)", she called Swift up on stage so
that she could finish her acceptance speech. West was criticized
by various celebrities for the outburst,
and by President Barack Obama, who called West a "jackass" in
an off the record comment. In addition,
West's VMA disruption sparked a large influx of Internet photo memes
with blogs, forums and "tweets" with the "Let you
finish" photo-jokes. He posted two apologies for the outburst
on his personal blog; one on the night of the incident and the other
the same day he appeared on The Jay Leno Show, on September 14, 2009,
where he apologized again. After Swift appeared on The
View two days after the outburst, partly to discuss the matter, West
called her to apologize personally. Swift said she accepted his apology.
In September 2010, West wrote a series of apologetic tweets addressed
to Swift including "Beyonce didn't need that. MTV didn't need
that and Taylor and her family friends and fans definitely didn't
want or need that" and concluding with "I'm sorry Taylor." West
also revealed he had written a song for Swift and if she did not
accept the song, he would perform it himself. However, on November
8, 2010, in an interview with a Minnesota radio station, West seemed
to recant a bit of his past apologies by attempting to describe the
act at the 2009 awards show as "selfless" and downgrade
the perception of disrespect it created.
In December 2006, Robert "Evel" Knievel sued West for
trademark infringement in West's video for "Touch the Sky." Knievel
took issue with a "sexually-charged video" in which West
takes on the persona of "Evel Kanyevel" and attempts flying
a rocket over a canyon. The suit filed in federal court claims infringement
on his trademarked name and likeness. Knievel also claims the "vulgar
and offensive" images depicted in the video damage his reputation.
The suit seeks damages and to stop distribution of the video.
West's attorneys argued that the music video amounted to satire and
therefore was covered under the First Amendment. Just days before
his death in November 2007, Knievel amicably settled the suit after
being paid a visit from West, saying, "I thought he was a wonderful
guy and quite a gentleman."
On September 11, 2008, West and his road manager/bodyguard Don Crowley
were arrested at Los Angeles International Airport and booked on
charges of felony vandalism after an altercation with the paparazzi
in which West and Crowley broke the photographers' cameras.
West was later released from the Los Angeles Police Department's
Pacific Division station in Culver City on $20,000 bail bond. On
September 26, 2008 the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office
said it would not file felony counts against West over the incident.
Instead the case file was forwarded to the city attorney's office,
which charged West with one count of misdemeanor vandalism, one count
of grand theft and one count of battery and his manager with three
counts of each on March 18, 2009. West's and Crowley's arraignment
was delayed from an original date of April 14, 2009. West was
arrested again on November 14, 2008 at a hotel near Gateshead after
another scuffle involving a photographer outside a nightclub in Newcastle
Upon Tyne. He was later released "with no further action",
according to a police spokesperson.
Main articles: Kanye West discography and Kanye West production discography
* The College Dropout (2004)
* Late Registration (2005)
* Graduation (2007)
* 808s & Heartbreak (2008)
* My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (2010)
* Sixth studio album (2011) 
* Late Orchestration (2006)
* VH1 Storytellers: Kanye West (2010)
* Watch The Throne (2011) (with Jay-Z)