While Kanye West
himself may argue he was destined to become the greatest rapper of all time, he didn't reach the level he's now comfortably poised at without a precarious blend of hard work, sacrifice, and the unrelenting support of his mother. The multitalented musician, born in Atlanta on June 8, 1977, has since risen to prominence as one of hip-hop's largest and most critically acclaimed names, coming light years away from dropping out of college to produce for Jay-Z
and polish his own material after hours. His 2004 debut, The College Dropout, went on to sell over 2.6 million copies, winning Best Rap Album at the 2005 Grammys, further enabling West to soak up the spotlight he craved since a young boy growing up in Chicago. With six solo albums, his joint offering with Jay-Z called Watch The Throne, and 21 Grammys all under his belt, the legendary producer-turned-rapper has since branched out to develop his own successful fashion line, tour the world with his reputed live performances, lend his talents to countless others, and help cultivate the careers of other rising artists through his own G.O.O.D. Music imprint. Although at times his controversial and outspoken opinions overshadow his impressive accomplishments, West's distinctive personality and impassioned drive helps add to his allure, resulting in his topping several lists celebrating him as one of the most influential creatives in the world. Musically, with each release, West experiments with a variety of styles, both in his rapping and in his production, allowing him to continue safeguarding his legacy as someone unapologetically dedicated to breaking boundaries and pushing hip-hop culture forward.