The controversies that Kanye West has given us over the past decades are just some of his many contributions to pop culture. Arguably his most notable contributions consist of his extensive music catalog featuring hits like “Golddigger,” “Good Life,” and “Heartless.”
Kanye West got his first music production credits back in 1996 producing songs for a fellow Chicago rapper, Grav's debut album long before many of us had heard of the Chicago rapper's name.
But it wouldn't be much longer until we begin to hear Kanye West's name and work all over the radio waves. In 2000, West began to work heavily with Roc-A-Fella Records producing hit songs for their roster including Jay-Z. Four years later Kanye West finally got his chance to show the world his raw talent with his triple platinum selling debut The College Dropout.
West didn't waste any time flexing his entrepreneurial wings by launching his G.O.O.D. Music label in 2004 along with his solo debut. The first album released on G.O.O.D. Music was the debut of West's College Dropout collaborator John Legend. Legend's album Get Lifted debuted at Number 4 on the US Billboard 200 also earning him and G.O.O.D. Music a certified double platinum album.
West went on to expand G.O.O.D. Music's roster to over a dozen acts by 2016, including the likes of Tribe Called Quest legend, Q-tip, Rapper Tyga, and Big Sean along with numerous others who continue to make a splash in the industry with their releases.
Although music was a natural selection for West as his first business venture, he decided to step out of his comfort zone. In 2007, his restaurant company KW Foods, Inc. struck up a deal with the fast-food chain Fatburger for the rights to open up to 10 locations of the restaurant in Chicago. By 2009 KW Foods opened 2 of those 10 sites for approximately 2 years. Both locations closed by the end of 2011.
West halted his restauranteur ambitions to focus more on his creative ventures by forming DONDA which he named after his late mother Donda West in 2012. West took to Twitter to make his announcement tweeting "I want to put creatives in a room together with like minds that are all waaaay doper than me." West describes DONDA as "a design company which will galvanize amazing thinkers in a creative space to bounce their dreams and ideas."
Unbeknownst to some, DONDA has been at the helm of plenty of West's projects including stage design for his 2013 Yeezus tour, The video for his 2013 single "Bound 2" featuring his wife Kim Kardashian-West as well as the marketing campaign for the roll out of the Kanye West and Adidas collaboration Season One in 2015.
West didn't slow down much in 2015 joining the ranks of Beyoncé, Coldplay, Jay-Z and numerous other popular acts as equity owners in the streaming service Tidal. In 2016 West found his 7th studio album Life of Pablo at the center of a controversy, spawning a class action lawsuit for $5 million dollars. The suit claimed West mislead consumers to sign up for Tidal to stream his album tweeting: "My album will never never never be on Apple. And it will never be for sale ...You can only get it on Tidal," in February of 2016. That statement turned out not to be true when just over a month later in March, Life of Pablo was available not only on Apple Music but other streaming services like Spotify as well.
By July of 2016 West had changed his tune ultimately pleading with Apple to purchase Tidal tweeting "Apple give Jay his check for Tidal now and stop trying to act like you, Steve." In October of 2016 West blamed the Tidal/Apple beef as to why he was missing from Drake's number one album Views and he also stated that there would never be a follow up to him and Jay-Z's Watch the Throne project.
There is no telling what the future of West and Tidal's relationship will be, but beyond the controversies and headlines, Kanye West have delighted us with, there is no denying the business savvy of the man some call Yeezus himself.