Kanye West is an American singer, record producer, fashion designer, and rapper, his initial fame linked to his producer activities at Roc-A-Fella Records. "The College Dropout" was his 2004 debut album. More recent solo album releases include "808s & Heartbreak" (4th album) and "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy" (5th album).
All five of West's solo albums went platinum, and as of 2011 he has 14 Grammy Awards to his credit. Five of Kanye West's songs exceeded 3 million in sales (digital) by mid 2011 and included "Stronger," "ET," "Gold Digger," and "Love Lockdown." GOOD music is West's own record label and called home by artists like Kid Cudi, Common, and John Legend. West made Time's 100 List of most influential people and was voted MTV Man of the Year in 2010.
Kanye was born in Atlanta and his parents got divorced when Kanye was three. His dad, Ray West, was among the first black photo journalists with the Atlanta Journal Constitution. His mother Donda West was an English professor at Clark Atlanta. She moved to Chicago and became English Department Chair at Chicago State University prior to retiring to become West's manager.
West's company KW Foods bought the Fatburger chain rights in Chicago and in 2008 he began to open new locations. He also introduced his first shoe line in 2009 for Louis Vuitton. His engagement to Alex Phifer ended in 2008 after 18 months, and he had a relationship with Amber Rose from 2008 until mid 2010. The 2007 death of West's mother prompted Arnold Schwarzenegger to pass the "Donda West Law" which makes it mandatory for patients to have medical clearance before elective cosmetic surgery can be performed. His mother died as a result of complications that occurred after breast augmentation and cosmetic surgery that involved abdominoplasty.
Controversial stage issues surrounding West include his going on the stage while the winner was accepting their award for Best Video (Justice and Simian) at the MTV Music Awards Europe and arguing he should have won instead, instigating criticism of his actions worldwide. Another outburst occurred at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards when Taylor Swift was accepting her Best Female Video award. He stormed the stage, grabbed the microphone, and argued Beyonce should have won instead. President Obama referred to West as a "jackass" for his behavior. Later when Beyonce won the Best Video of the Year Award, she called Swift back up onto the stage to finish her rudely interrupted acceptance speech.