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Kanye West
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Kanye West

Kanye West is an American music producer and rapper from Chicago, Illinois.

Previously best known for producing hit singles for Alicia Keys, Jay-Z, and Ludacris, Kanye himself worked on a solo album for a long period of time, having the release pushed back time and time again. A tragic car crash in October 2002 left his jaw fractured in three places. With his mouth still wired shut and only weeks after having an encounter with death, Kanye West began recording "Through The Wire," reliving his near-fatal accident. "Through The Wire" would eventually become his lead single off The College Dropout in 2004, released on Roc-a-Fella Records. The album received almost universal acclaim for its balance of mainstream commercial appeal and conscious (at times verging on Afrocentric) lyrics.

The College Dropout reached #1 on Billboard magazine's Top R&B/Hip-Hop Album Chart, and reached #2 on the Billboard 200 - it has also peaked at #12 (so far) on the UK album chart, where it has spent several months in the Top 20 at the time of writing (18th July 2004). "Through The Wire" peaked at #15 on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart, and its successor "All Falls Down", which features R&B singer Syleena Johnson, peaked at #7. The third single from the album, the inspirational quasi-epic "Jesus Walks", is currently at #14 on the Hot 100, and still climbing; all three singles have made the Top 10 on the R&B/hip-hop charts as well as the Hot Rap Tracks survey. In the UK, "Through The Wire" peaked at #9 on the official singles sales chart, and "All Falls Down" at #10.