Kanye Omari West is an American recording artist, record producer, film director and fashion designer from Chicago, Illinois.
West first gained prominence as a producer for Roc-A-Fella Records; here he achieved recognition for his work on Jay-Z's 2001 album The Blueprint, as well as hit singles for musical artists including Alicia Keys, Ludacris, and Janet Jackson. His style of production originally used high-pitched vocal samples from soul songs incorporated with his own drums and instruments. Later productions saw him broadening his musical palette and expressing influences encompassing '70s R&B, baroque pop, trip hop, arena rock, folk, alternative, electronica, synthpop, and classical music.
West released his debut album The College Dropout in 2004; his second album Late Registration followed in 2005. Later albums include Graduation in 2007, 808s & Heartbreak in 2008, and My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy in 2010. West released a collaborative album, Watch the Throne with Jay-Z in 2011, which is the duo's first collaborative album.
His five solo albums, all of which have gone platinum, have received numerous awards and critical acclaim. All of albums have been commercially successful, with My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy becoming his fourth consecutive No. 1 album in the U.S. upon release. West has had six songs exceed 3 million in digital sales as of December 2012, with "Gold Digger" selling 3,086,000, "Stronger" selling 4,402,000, "Heartless" selling 3,742,000, "E.T." selling over 4,000,000, "Love Lockdown" selling over 3,000,000, and "Niggas in Paris" selling over 3,000,000, placing him third in overall digital sales of the past decade. He has sold over 30 million digital songs in the United States making him one of the best-selling digital artists of all-time. He is also one of the most awarded artists of all-time.