Kanye West | Before They Were Famous | Epic Biography

Kanye West is undoubtedly one of the most influential
artists of his generation. From his genre defying bodies of work to his signature fashion
lines, there is no denying Mr. West’s creative impact on the world. Everything he has set
his mind to accomplish, Kanye has done. He originally wanted to be the biggest producer
in the world, he did that. Next, he wanted to be the biggest rapper in the world, he
did that too. He wanted to be one of the biggest names in the world of fashion, he checked
that off the list. But Kanye’s career has been one of the most polarizing journey’s
that we have ever seen. The name Kanye West has been synonymous with controversy basically
since he started out in the game. But one thing is for sure, whether you love him or
you hate him at the moment, you feel SOMETHING about him. And not many people have had an
impact on the world like Kanye West. What’s going on guys? It’s your boy Michael
McCrudden and in this video we are going to take you through the life and career of Kanye
West. From his early days spent in China with his mom, to the car accident that almost took
his life in Los Angeles, this is one of the most EPIC stories we’ve told for this channel,
and you’re going to want to stick around to hear the whole thing. If you liked that
intro and want us to do more of these videos, let us know by subscribing and sending this
to a friend who’s a fan of Kanye. We recently did an Epic on Tyler The Creator and one on
Lil Uzi so you can watch those after you’re finished with this one. Also be sure to let
us know who to cover next in the comments down below. Alright, let’s get into it. Kanye Omari West was born on June 8, 1977
in Atlanta, Georgia to Donda and Ray West. The two met at Spelman College in Atlanta,
where Ray was hired as a freelance photographer by the director of public relations, and Donda
was working in the public relations department, while studying for her Master’s degree at
Atlanta University. Ray West is a former Black Panther member and one of the first black
photo journalists at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He also holds two degrees. The two were married
three months after they started dating. At first, neither one of them wanted to have
children, but three years into their marriage, Donda said that she felt like the spirit of
God gave them Kanye. Although Kanye originally thought that his parents divorced when he
was three years old, he revealed in his David Letterman interview that the divorce may have
been finalized when he was three, but they were basically separated when Kanye was just
a baby. Ray was originally a great husband and father but once his photography business
started to grow, that became his first priority, and Donda decided that she didn’t want to
come second to his business. Him and his mother moved to Chicago together
when Kanye was just three years old. Donda was an English professor beginning her career
at Morris Brown College in Atlanta but later working at Chicago State University. She also
became the head of the English department there. Even though money was tight as a single
mom, she always managed to provide her son with a good life, buying a house on South
Shore Drive, where her and Kanye lived for 8 years. From a young age, Donda taught Kanye
that he should always speak his mind. Something that he has never shied away from. She said in her memoir: “There is no room for shyness. I raised him
that way, to think critically and analytically and not be afraid to voice what you feel.
I helped shape that. I think leaders are people who must do that.” Every summer though, Kanye would stay with
his father in the DC area, and like he says on the song Champion: “We were kind of like Will Smith and his
son, in the movies I ain’t talking bout the rich one.” And while he didn’t know what he did for
dough, he would always send him back to school with a new wardrobe! Kanye was an extremely
gifted child, especially artistically. He would make his own toys and draw elaborate
pictures when he was just three years old. His work with crayons was more impressive
than kids who were twice his age at the time. He would also experiment with colors, drawing
things like purple Bananas and blue Oranges, always wanting to be original and making art
based on how he feels. Ye was enrolled in Professional Playhouse Preschool before attending
preschool at his mom’s workplace. His teachers described a young Kanye as “academically
gifted” but said that socially, he was self-absorbed and didn’t work well with others. He attended
kindergarten at the Vanderpoet Magnet School in Chicago. When he was ten, Kanye and Donda
spent a year in China, after his mother was selected through a Fullbright Scholarship
program to be a foreign expert to the People’s Republic of China. Kanye was placed in the
third grade in China because of the language barrier, even though he would have been in
the fifth grade back home, but he had a private tutor from Zimbabwe to help him keep up with
the fifth grade curriculum for when he returned. Ye got along with his new classmates, but
there was one incident where Donda recalls Kanye getting in trouble with his teacher.
All of the students had to have finger holes on their gloves in the Winter, but Kanye being
passionate about fashion even as a kid, well he refused to take off his gloves that had
no finger holes. The teacher sat him down and called Donda about his disobedience. Kanye learned that in China it was disrespectful
to look his superiors in the eyes when speaking to them. Kanye was also a good break-dancer
and would charge Chinese students money to watch him dance, which he would then spend
on street-food. Gotta respect the hustle. Eventually, Donda homeschooled Kanye for the
rest of their year in China. Outside of his schooling, he took Tai Chi lessons and private
art lessons twice a week. When he returned back home, Kanye was feeling
particularly inspired and began to work on one of his original dreams, which was to design
video games. That lead him to loving the sound creation for the scores of games. From there,
he began to work on music constantly, and Kanye spent all of his time practicing. The first song his mom remembers him writing
was called “Green Eggs and Ham,” probably inspired by Dr. Suess. His first recording
was at a basement studio in Chicago that charged $25 an hour. Kanye thought that at 13 years
old he would get signed and become a star. He even told his gym teacher that he wasn’t
coming to class because he was going to be signed. But that didn’t happen right away.
Donda also believed in Kanye and helped fund his dream. His dream was now to become a rapper,
so in order to have something to rap over, he would make his own beats. When Kanye was
14, he got his first sampling keyboard after saving up some money. He also started selling
his beats charging local artists $50 bucks per beat. Like he says on his song “Spaceship”
– he was doing 5 beats a day for three summers. Ye worked odd jobs just to save up enough
money to keep enhancing his home studio, and before long, he had his own mixer, turntables
and drum machine. Friends of his would come over to their home studio to work on music.
Those friends were a part of Kanye’s production company called Kon-Man productions. The group
included Mikkey Halsted, Rhymefest and GLC. It was a work colleague of Donda’s that
would help introduce Kanye to one of his most influential mentors. Donda worked with the
mother of a local producing legend. His name was No I.D. and he was working with Common
at the time. Donda convinced No ID’s mom to put in a
good word for her son, and before long, No I.D. was giving production lessons to a hungry
Kanye West. No ID taught Kanye about how to speed up his samples, leading to his later
signature production sound. Common even remembers Kanye challenging him to freestyle battles. So with new found skills, advice from his
mentor and inspiration from Common, Ye was ready for the next chapter of his musical
life. But school was put in second place to his musical career and Kanye’s former honor
roll grades started slipping. With some encouragement from his mother, he graduated from Polaris
School in the Spring of 1995. In an unlikely turn of events though, Ye decided
to attend Chicago State University where he was majoring in English. And if you know anything
about Kanye’s career, then you know what happened next. Kanye became a College Dropout and focused
solely on his music career. But before gaining any real success as a rapper, it was his producing
skills that landed him some major placements. After creating a signature sound flipping
soul samples, he began producing beats for local Chicago acts. He had a small apartment
in Chicago where he would stay inside and make beats from. He was selling enough beats
to keep the lights on and buy himself the occasional pair of Jordans. He also became
a ghost producer for a rapper named D-Dot, which was a big look for him at the time.
But his dream of becoming a rapper was never lost on him. He was a part of a rap group
called the Go-Getters. They were managed by John Monopoly, Don Crowley and Arrowstar under
the management firm called Hustle Period. The Go-Getters did a short promo run and released
an album called World Record Holders. But his production credits on big name albums are
what started gaining Mr. West some notoriety. He was featured as a producer on albums for
Foxy Brown and Goodie Mob. But of course, the biggest moments in his career came when
he began producing for artists on Roc-A-Fella Records. The next part of Kanye’s journey is based
on the story that he told in the outro of his song “Last Call.” According to Ye,
an A&R at Roc-A-Fella records named Hip-Hop wanted to use one of Kanye’s beats for their
artist Beanie Sigel (See-gle). Kanye would send him beats for his artists to use. Hip-Hop
was friends with No I.D. who advised him that if you want Kanye to send you more beats,
you’ve gotta pump his tires a bit about the way he raps. So Hip-Hop said he would
manage Kanye as a producer and as a rapper also. Finally, one day, Hip-Hop told Kanye
that he liked one of his beats so much that Jay Z might want to rap on it. That song ended
up becoming “This Can’t Be Life.” He met Jay Z at the studio after he recorded
the song and Kanye rapped for Jay that day, but nothing came from it at the time. So even after having a beat on Jay Z’s project,
Kanye was still living in his small apartment without much else happening for him musically.
One of the artists from his production company got signed, but Kanye’s label behind. At
the same time, Kanye got evicted from his apartment as he was unable to pay the rent.
So Donda and Kanye moved to Newark, New Jersey with all of Ye’s recording equipment. The
first beat he made in his new apartment was “Heart of The City.” Kanye was playing
beats for Beanie at a studio session, but he had already finished his album and wasn’t
looking for any more beats. Then Jay Z walked in and heard Heart of The City. So he played
another beat and another one and Jay was impressed. Those beats ended up being
some of Jay’s biggest songs on his album The Blueprint. And from there, Kanye the Producer
was ON. But his career as a rapper still had a long way to go. Kanye continued to produce for Jay Z and other
major artists. After leaving some artists including Ludacris, at around 3am while driving
in his rented Lexus, Kanye was cut off and ran head-on into traffic. He collided with
another car just a couple blocks away from the W hotel. On October, 23rd of 2002, MTV
reported that Kanye West had been injured in a car accident in LA. In an interview, when speaking on the night
he said: “When I had my accident, I was working on
Beanie Sigel, Black Eyed Peas and Peedi Crack, and let’s just say that those tracks were
not my best work. If I would have passed that night, that would have been the end of
my legacy. Now when I go into the studio, I act like this could possibly be my last
day.” Kanye had to have reconstructive surgery on
his face and his jaw was wired shut. With no health insurance, he was paying for everything
out of pocket. But that accident would also serve as inspiration for one of Kanye’s
most important songs. Kanye wrote and rapped his song “Through The Wire” just weeks
after the accident, and he rapped the whole thing with his jaw wired shut. The song later
became the first single off of his debut album. After finally convincing some label reps that
he was more than just a producer, he had a deal with Capital on the table. But Capital
backed out. Eventually, Kanye West signed with Roc-A-Fella records and released his
debut album “The College Dropout.” The second single off the album was “Slow
Jamz” which featured Twista and Jaimie Foxx. That song became all three musicians number
one hit. But at first, Jaimie Foxx wasn’t so sure about this Kanye guy. He told a story
in an interview with The Cruz Show about how the song came about: Kanye told Jaimie that he had a song for him
to get on. And keep in mind, at this point, Kanye was only still known as a producer for
Jay’s work. Jaimie sung the part, but Kanye wasn’t feeling
it: So Jaimie forgot about the song and forgot
about Kanye and thought nothing more of it. He went on to do a bad movie. His words, not
mine, and then. And as for The College Dropout, the album
ended up winning the Grammy award for best Rap album. Kanye’s career after that, is one of the
most impressive and impactful runs in music history. And while we could do a separate
video for each of his classic albums and moments to come, we will give a brief story of how
he went from convincing people he was a rapper, to becoming one of the biggest artists alive. With notoriety and hit records to his name,
people finally began giving West the respect he always knew he deserved. And now, he had
earned it. So beginning to work on his follow-up effort, Kanye invested 2 million dollars of
his own money into the album called “Late Registration.” He hired a full string orchestra
and incorporated live instrumentation into his work. And although he went into debt to
produce the album, he made it all back with the record selling over 2.3 million units
within its first year of release. But what would Kanye’s career be without
controversy? Just a few days after the release of Late Registration, Kanye got on national
television and to Mike Meyers surprise, told the world that George Bush doesn’t care
about black people: Kanye kept his mother’s advice close to
his heart and never shied away from speaking his mind. But his music continued to speak
much louder than any controversy surrounding his name could. West came back with another
classic album “Graduation” two years later. After touring with U2, he was inspired by
the way they controlled a crowd with their hits. So Kanye made it his goal to create
stadium anthems that were more melodic than his previous work. With songs like “Can’t
Tell Me Nothing” and “Stronger,” he reached his goal. During the albums promotional
run, Kanye and 50 Cent began a public feud. Whether it was simply for publicity or real
beef is for another video, but either way, Kanye outsold 50 Cent and simultaneously shifted
the direction of rap music. He sold 957,000 albums first week while 50’s album Curtis
sold a still impressive 651k. But while Kanye was at the height of his success
and popularity, he lost the most important person in his life, his mother, Donda West.
Many cite this as the moment that Kanye changed forever. She passed away from complications
in Surgery in November of 2007. Kanye performed an iconic tribute rendition of his song “Hey
Mamma” at the Grammy’s that year with Mamma shaved onto his hair. And around the same time, Kanye and his longtime
girlfriend Alexis Phifer ended their engagement. While in Milan, Kanye had proposed to Alexis
and the two were set to get married. Phifer earned a degree from Los Angeles’ Fashion
Institute of Design & Merchandising and worked as a dress designer. But unfortunately, things
didn’t work out. Kanye was going through the hardest period of his life losing the
two most important women he had. To channel the pain and heartache, he shifted
his direction musically and released the album “808’s and Heartbreak” tapping T-Pain’s
signature auto-tune style for a more melodic sound. The sound of this album once again
completely shifted the direction of hip-hop, paving the way for much of the sound we hear
today. But it was clear that West hadn’t dealt
with all of the pain and trauma from his losses, as he was spotted drinking from a big bottle
of Hennessy the at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards with his new girlfriend Amber Rose.
It was that night that would shift the public perception of Kanye for a long time. After
Taylor Swift won the award for “Best Female Video” over Beyoncé, Kanye took the stand,
once again not holding back his thoughts. It was after that incident that Kanye decided
to take a step back from the spotlight. Kanye found solace in Hawaii where he had a private
studio, basketball court and creative hub. He would invite creatives from around the
world to visit him and contribute to what would become critically acclaimed as one of
the greatest albums of all time, “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.” Leading up to its
release, Kanye eased himself back into the mainstream by releasing one new single each
week under the “Good Friday” series. And with that, Kanye was back like he never left. In 2012, Kanye began dating Kim Kardashian
and the two have been inseparable ever since. In 2013, they had their first child North
and in 2014, the two got married. The two have since had 3 more children together. Kim
has transformed herself into one of the most influential people in the world and is now
a lawyer who has freed 17 inmates within 90 days. But again, that’s for another video. But it was after the release of Twisted Fantasy
that he began to focus more of his time and efforts into fashion. While he released the
massive collab album “Watch The Throne” with Jay Z as well as the compilation album
“Cruel Summer” with his Good Music labelmates, it was his fashion aspirations that seemed
to be on his mind most. He released his first signature shoe with Nike called the “Yeezy
1’s” later making a historic move to Adidas, who gave him the freedom to create his own
fashion line. The Yeezy shoes have become one of the most saught after sneaker lines
in the history of kicks and go for insanely high resale prices online. Kanye released
Yeezy season 1 and by 2016, he was able to release his season 3 collection in Madison
Square Garden, coinciding with the release of his album “The Life of Pablo.” But Kanye’s controversies continued to bring
his name into the spotlight for the wrong reasons. During his Life of Pablo tour, Kanye
went on stage in a manic state calling out everyone from Drake to Jay Z, and revealing
his support for Donald Trump, before cancelling the rest of his tour dates and checking into
a psychiatric facility. He returned to the public eye in 2018 by releasing
a series of tweets that had the whole word looking at his 140 characters. But he caused
a large up rise from social media when he posted a picture posing in a “Make America
Great Again” hat. Then, on the same day that he released a nearly 2-hour long conversation
with Charlamagne Tha God where he appeared to be level headed, he went to TMZ and now
infamously claimed that Slavery was a choice. Kanye went to Wyoming where he produced a
series of 7-track albums including Pusha T’s Grammy-nominated “Daytona” and his solo
album “Ye.” Kanye admitted to struggling with Bi-Polar disease, writing on the album
cover “I hate being bipolar, it’s awesome.” And he recently spoke with David Letterman
about the struggles that come along with mental illness. As of today, Kanye has a beautiful family
with his wife Kim Kardashian, a successful clothing line that sells out instantly upon
release, and one of the greatest legacies in music, ever. What will his next move be?
Well, we’ll have to wait and see, because this is Before They Were Famous. All we can
say is that whatever it is, we know it will be undeniably Kanye. That was a long one… If you liked this EPIC
video be sure to subscribe and share it with a friend and let us know who to cover next.
As always, I’m Michael McCrudden and I’ll see you in the next video.

100 thoughts on “Kanye West | Before They Were Famous | Epic Biography

  1. I really like how thorough you've gotten with your biographies. So many just make it seem like the artist decided to become a rapper/singer/actor/etc and then suddenly got signed and huge.

    Here you show how much Yeezy hustled and grinded to get where he is

  2. Can’t wait for this Jesus is King album! I went to Sunday service in Detroit and just did a video about the album listening party that happened in Detroit

  3. If I had this man’s confidence then I would be fucking all the Victoria Secret Angels all night every night

  4. He said “ Slavery is a choice “ he seems to be forgetting what skin color he has. Now I’m not being a racist here as I love black peoples. But this guy is just brainless

  5. He took the “I don’t know what he did for dough, but he always sent me back to school with a new wardrobe” right out of champion

  6. From Ye we have: Kid Cudi,Designer,Travis Scott,Big Sean and Pusha T. Whether you love him or you hate him,you gatta put respect on his name.👏💣

  7. U gotta appreciate mccrudden's skill … he tells the story as if he was there😮😮

  8. Pickleboy has been saying because there is no audio of him and the dad lying to you that essentially you're making up the lie. I know this isn't true, you know this isn't true, but he's manipulating people into thinking it's the truth by lying to them and we all know that effects your business negatively.

  9. This video inadvertently shows one of the greatest things about Kanye’s songs and it’s his realness. Through listening to his songs you also learn the story of Kanye West and how he went from college dropout to big time producer to all star rapper and even to fashion in his later projects, his life lives in his music, and it’s honestly outstanding. At times the host is able to simply use lyrics to go into depth of Kanye’s history, it’s soo dope!!

  10. I have watch every episode on this channel .. I must say keep it up big man booooom 👏

  11. I’m kinda scared that something bad is going to happen on my birthday because there is a lot of bad things that has happened on the 23/10/07

  12. Yo you have to do all the comedy podcasters like bobby lee, joey diaz, theo von, chris delia ….
    Better get to it! 😉

  13. She helped fund his “dream”. Then he turns around and sacrifices her. Don’t even reply to this if you have a different opinion lmao don’t wanna here it. Wake up cause all these celebs are satanists.

  14. This men is so good when I played tennis with one of my best friend we chose one celebrity he choose Rafael Nadal and I CHHOOSSE KAAAANNYYYE FREAKIN WWWEEESSTTT

  15. Theory that When he was in the car crash , he died and Jesus brought him back to life and now he is a GOD

  16. I loved this video!! I love Kanye, he is so inspirational . Literally the greatest of all time

  17. every statement from here sounds like a question you know the answer to but unsure of…
    not my taste

  18. Can you do pro skateboarder nyjah Houston because we haven’t see to many “main stream skaters” on this Channel

  19. Kanye hate George Bush but love Trump. That is your brain on drugs, any questions?

  20. The Fact that Kanye's whole Legend is him getting distracted while making video games

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