The Undeniable Influence of Kanye West
Kanye Omari West, an icon of hip-hop, pop culture, fashion and music in general. Kanye Omari West, a person belittled against and a person subjected to a life of racism and hate. Born on June 8th, 1977, Donda West, West’s mother, always knew he was destined for greatness, but did she know her son would turn out to be the Kanye West, a man lacking the respect he deserves for transforming a big part of the music we listen to on this very day? West came onto the scene in the late nineties but didn’t release The College Dropout until 2004, an album that took everybody by surprise. Kanye West changed the gangster filled rap genre by releasing his positive, soulful debut album, changing the way rappers dress, and paving the way for a whole new style of introspective lyrics and soul-inspired rap production in the mainstream.
When West first showed up (late 90s and early 2000s), the world was a different place. Fans of the genre were most likely listening to gangster-rap, artists like: Jay Z, Notorious B.I.G, 50 Cent, Tupac, Ice Cube, Eazy E, N.W.A, Wu-Tang, Nate Dogg, Dr. Dre, and Snoop Dogg (Best Gangsta Rappers), the kind of music that dominated mainstream rap at the time. Rappers and fans of rap were mostly in a gangster-influenced mind state. West was foreign to the idea of being a “thug” or a “gangster”. West grew up in an average house while his mom made good money working as a professor in the English department at Chicago State University. He was well educated and attracted to more preppy fashions- sport coats, polo shirts, and sunglasses, quite the contrary to what other rappers were wearing in those times. Like many rappers, West wrote about his daily experiences, experiences majorly opposite from the gangster rappers dominating the genre in those days considering he lived in a nicer area than most (Lynne, Douglas). When West released his debut album, The College Dropout, people were shocked and inspired, no one yet had made music with such introspective lyrics battling so many different topics in the mainstream rap yet. West may not be the first to do it, but he was the first to have it popularized and get people to really listen to what he was saying. The College Dropout was quite the surprise because before he was a rapper, West was a producer, producing beats for acts such as Jay Z, The Game, and many other gangster rap affiliated artists (The 10 Best Songs Produced By Kanye West). Fans thought West was just another gangster rapper coming out with an album, but the truth is, he had so much more to offer. Kanye’s use of soulful, positive production surprised listeners across the world. The album sold 441,000 copies the first week and an eventual result of over 4 million copies worldwide making it a multi-platinum selling record (Kanye West).
West didn’t just surprise people with his new style of music, he also shocked his fans by bringing a whole new trend of fashion to the hip-hop industry....