Kanye Omari West (born June 8, 1977 in Atlanta, Georgia) is a Grammy award winning rapper, producer, author, designer and singer.
He began making beats and rapping in the early 90s in Chicago, IL, United States when he formed the rap group Go Getters with Chicago natives GLC and Really Doe. He later gained nationwide popularity in New York when he began producing tracks for artists such as Jay-Z, Twista, Mase, Talib Kweli and Alicia Keys.
West’s style of production often utilizes pitched-up vocal samples, usually from soul songs, with his own drums and instruments. The first major label song he produced was The Truth by Beanie Sigel, and his first major release featuring his trademark vocal sampling style was This Can’t Be Life, a track from Jay-Z’s The Dynasty: Roc La Familia. West said he sped up the drum beat of Dr. Dre’s Xxplosive to use as a replacement for his drums on This Can’t Be Life.
West has said that Wu-Tang Clan producer RZA influenced him in his style, and has said on numerous occasions that Wu-Tang rappers Ghostface Killah and Ol’ Dirty Bastard were some of his all-time favorites. Said by Kanye West: “Wu-Tang? Me and my friends talk about this all the time… We think Wu-Tang had one of the biggest impacts as far as a movement. From slang to style of dress, skits, the samples. Similar to the style I use, RZA has been doing that.”