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A lot of times, when we have a favorite musician or artist, we don’t necessarily learn a ton about their private lives, their political views, or their personal opinions. However, some celebrities refuse to be ignored. One of them is Kanye West, who currently goes by the moniker Ye. No corner of the internet is safe from his thoughts, no matter how misguided they are.
There was as a time people loved anything and everything Kanye West, from his music to his relationship with Kim Kardashian, to how well he took take of his children. But lately, the internet has turned against him, and for good reason. Keep reading to learn more about him and his life before his most recent antics.
On December 1, 2022, reported that Kanye West is no longer a billionaire and probably never will be again. Following his most recent offenses, in which he revealed himself to be a Holocaust denier and Nazi sympathizer, his estimated net worth plummeted from $1 billion to $500 million. As more of his business partnerships fall apart in the aftermath, his net worth will continue to decrease. Celebrity Net Worth does not believe it will be possible for Kanye to enter billionaire territory ever again.
Kanye Omari West was born on June 8, 1977, in Atlanta, Georgia. His parents divorced when he was three years old, and he moved with his mother, Donda, to Chicago, Illinois. She served as chair of the English Department at Chicago State University before retiring and serving as his manager. West and his mother lived in China for a short while when he was around ten years old, as his mother was teaching at Nanjing University as a Fulbright Scholar.
West’s mother noted that he began writing poetry when he was about five years old. He started rapping in the third grade and composing music by the time he was in the seventh grade selling his compositions to other artists. In 1997, after finishing high school, he received a scholarship to the American Academy of Art but transferred to Chicago State University to study English. He dropped out at the age of 20 to pursue his music career and called his debut album The College Dropout.
West began his career as a producer in the mid-1990s, most frequently ghost-producing for Deric “D-Dot” Angelettie. While associated with D-Dot, he could not release a solo album, as his style was too distinctive. In 2000, he began producing for artists signed to Roc-A-Fella, most notably revitalizing Jay-Z’s career with his contributions to 2001’s album, The Blueprint.
He finally released The College Dropout in 2004, reaching number 2 on the Billboard 200. The album was certified triple platinum in the United States and garnered West 10 Grammy nominations, including Album of the Year, and Best Rap Album, which it won. He released another two albums, Graduation and 808s and Heartbreak, both of which were critically acclaimed.
West lost his mother in November 2007 when she died of complications following cosmetic surgery. He and then-fiancée Alexis Phifer ended their long-term relationship shortly afterward. Following the 2009 VMA incident (more on that later), West took a brief break from music and threw himself into fashion, only to end up recording yet another album during that time.
He began dating reality TV star and businesswoman Kim Kardashian in April 2012. They became engaged in October 2013 and married in Florence, Italy, in May 2014. While continuing his stellar music career, he began collaborating with Adidas on his clothing line, Yeezy, in 2015, premiering the second season at New York Fashion Week that September. Kardashian and West share four children: North, Saint, Chicago, and Psalm. Citing irreconcilable differences, Kardashian filed for divorce, and the divorce was finalized in November 2022.
Much of Kanye’s career in the last five years or so has been overshadowed by several controversies, and at the time of writing this article, the list only continues to grow.
West’s first highly-publicized controversial incident occurred in 2009 when, at the MTV Video Music Awards, he took the microphone from Taylor Swift as she was accepting an award to declare that Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)” was “one of the best videos of all time”. Shockingly, this was not the first time he stole the mic from someone, having done so in 2006 when he lost the Best Video Award at the MTV Europe Music Awards. He crashed the stage as the winners were accepting the award to argue that he should have won instead. He defended Beyoncé yet again when she lost the Grammy for Album of the Year in 2015 to Beck. Kanye walked onto the stage and walked off, later clarifying that “Beck needs to respect artistry, he should have given his award to Beyoncé.”
In September 2013, he performed at the wedding of Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s grandson, which angered human rights activists as Kazakhstan has one of the poorest human rights records in the world.
The rapper and producer have a history of sharing his thoughts where they’re not needed, like when he tweeted implying that actor and comedian Bill Cosby was innocent after more than 50 women accused him of sexual assault.
In May 2018, West caused (another) controversy when, during an appearance on TMZ, he said, “When you hear about slavery for 400 years … for 400 years? That sounds like a choice. You were there for 400 years and it’s all of y’all. It’s like we’re mentally imprisoned.” In 2020, West unsuccessfully campaigned for the US Presidency.
During his Yeezy SZN 9 fashion show in Paris in October 2022, he wore a shirt that said, “WHITE LIVES MATTER,” a white supremacist slogan coined to counteract Black Lives Matter protests against police brutality in the United States. October 2022 was a busy month for Mr. West, insinuating via Instagram that the rapper Puff Daddy is controlled by Jews only days later. When Instagram locked his account, he returned to Twitter after about two years of silence to say he was “going death con 3” [sic] on Jewish people, subsequently causing his Twitter account to be temporarily locked. Following further antisemitic comments, the neo-Nazi Goyim Defense League protested in Los Angeles with banners reading, “Kanye was right about the Jews.” On October 27, CNN reported that anonymous sources had come forward to report that West had a “disturbing history of admiring Hitler,” having read the Hitler’s antisemitic manifesto Mein Kampf and wanting to name his 2018 album after him. In response, West lost several collaborations and sponsorships, including those with Vogue, Adidas, Balenciaga, and Gap.
In November 2022, former US President Donald Trump invited West to dinner at his home, Mar-a-Lago, in Florida. Other guests included Nick Fuentes, a known Holocaust denier and white nationalist. Additionally, he announced that he would be running for the US Presidency (again) in 2024. It doesn’t end there, though. On December 1, 2022, Kanye gave an interview with the far-right conspiracy website InfoWars, during which he praised Adolf Hitler, said, “I love Jewish people, but I also love Nazis,” and said that is a Nazi himself. He also stated that the Holocaust did not kill six million Jews.
While there is no doubt that Kanye West is an incredibly talented artist, there are some situations where one can’t – and shouldn’t – separate the art from the artist, and this is absolutely one of them. A lot of people try to find it in themselves to forgive their favorite celebrities when they’ve gone down the rabbit hole, but we think it’s safe to say Mr. West is too far gone to justify anything that he has to say. We’ll keep you posted on any news, but we’re sort of hoping there isn’t any, given what we’ve come to expect from this rapper-turned-conspiracy theorist. What are your thoughts on Kanye? Do you think he really believes what he says he does? Let us know in the comments!