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Intent on pursuing a solo career as a rapper, West released his debut album The College Dropout in 2004 to widespread critical and commercial success, and founded the record label GOOD Music.

He went on to experiment with a variety of musical genres on subsequent acclaimed studio albums, including Late Registration (2005), Graduation (2007), and the polarizing but influential 808s & Heartbreak (2008).

Jay-Z later admitted that Roc-A-Fella was initially reluctant to support West as a rapper, claiming that many saw him as a producer first and foremost, and that his background contrasted with that of his labelmates.

West's breakthrough came a year later on October 23, 2002, when, while driving home from a California recording studio after working late, he fell asleep at the wheel causing a head on crash with another car.

West was raised in a middle-class background, attending Polaris High School At the age of 10, West moved with his mother to Nanjing, China, where she was teaching at Nanjing University as part of an exchange program.

According to his mother, West was the only foreigner in his class, but settled in well and quickly picked up the language, although he has since forgotten most of it.

Though he had developed his rapping long before he began producing, it was often a challenge for West to be accepted as a rapper, and he struggled to attain a record deal.

Desperate to keep West from defecting to another label, then-label head Damon Dash reluctantly signed West to Roc-A-Fella Records.

Serving as an in-house producer for Roc-A-Fella Records, West produced records for other artists from the label, including Beanie Sigel, Freeway, and Cam'ron.is an American rapper, singer, songwriter, record producer, entrepreneur and fashion designer.Born in Atlanta and raised in Chicago, West first became known as a producer for Roc-A-Fella Records in the early 2000s, producing hit singles for recording artists such as Jay-Z, Ludacris and Alicia Keys.At age thirteen, West wrote a rap song called "Green Eggs and Ham" and persuaded his mother to pay for time in a recording studio. soon became West's mentor, and it was from him that West learned how to sample and program beats after he received his first sampler at age 15.Accompanying him to the studio and despite discovering it being "a little basement studio" where a microphone hung from the ceiling by a wire clothes hanger, West's mother nonetheless supported and encouraged him. D., with whom he quickly formed a close friendship. After graduating from high school, West received a scholarship to attend Chicago's American Academy of Art in 1997 and began taking painting classes, but shortly after transferred to Chicago State University to study English.

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He released his fifth album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy in 2010 to further rave reviews, and has since succeeded it with Yeezus (2013) and The Life of Pablo (2016), as well as full-length collaborations with Jay-Z and Kid Cudi.