You’d think you already knew everything about the controversial star who isn’t afraid to say what’s on his mind, but it seems Mr. West has a few skeletons hiding in his closet.
We know the obvious – he’s had major global music success, he was married to Kim Kardashian, and well, I think we’re all aware of his infamous rants and raves – but what does Ye prefer to keep under wraps in front of his millions of fans?
To find out some crazy facts about Kanye West, continue reading below…
1. His Dad Was a Black Panther
He dedicated a few lyrics to his pops on The Life of Pablo, but we’re sure you’re one of the many to wonder about Kanye’s father. Ray West was a black panther in the ’60s and ’70s before becoming one of the first black photojournalists at the Atlanta-Journal Constitution.
According to Kanye, “My father was a paparazzo himself. My father was a medical illustrator, a Black Panther, a Christian marriage counselor.” With such a strong role model in his life – it makes sense that Kanye has passionate views and wants to share them with the world.
2. Kanye Lived in China
Ye had quite an interesting upbringing. Born in Atlanta, Kanye later lived on his own with his mom in Chicago, after his parents divorced at the age of three due to “financial issues”.
His mother Donda, who passed away in 2007, was an English University professor and they moved to China for a year while she was a visiting professor there. Kanye was 10 at the time and apparently quickly picked up the language, although he has since forgotten most of it.
3. His Mother’s Death Initiated a Law
Kanye’s late mother Donda West sadly died in 2007 at the age of just 58 from coronary artery disease and several post-operative factors after her liposuction and mammoplasty procedures. Following her unfortunate death, Kanye decided to launch the “Donda West Law” , which was signed and approved by California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
This legislation makes it mandatory for patients undergoing cosmetic surgery to have medical clearance through a physical examination before any operation. Good on Kanye!
4. Kanye’s a College Drop Out
Kanye bagged himself a scholarship at Chicago’s American Academy of Art for a year, then transferred to Chicago State for a degree in English. He eventually dropped out and went on to produce his very first album, The College Dropout which was mostly about having the guts to embrace who you are rather than following the path that society has imprinted for you.
5. He Had a Normal Job Before Making it Big
Before Yeezy became one of the top-selling male artists, he worked a number of jobs which included telemarketing and insurance sales. “I was way better than most of the people there,” he once told Playboy. “I could sit around and draw pictures, basically do other [things] while I was reading the teleprompter.” He truly is a man of many talents…
6. Kanye Changed his Legal Name
This isn’t the most outrageous thing Kanye has done, but it’s certainly one of his most surprising. Indeed, the rapper decided to legally change his name in 2021 from “Kanye Omari West” to simply “Ye”.
The artist cited “personal reasons” for doing so, although he did reveal the inspiration for the name back in 2018, “I believe ‘ye’ is the most commonly used word in the Bible. In the Bible it means you. So, I’m you. I’m us. It’s us. It went from being Kanye, which means the only one, to just Ye.”
7. Michael Jackson Admired Ye’s Style
Indeed. MJ was a super-fan of Kanye and had serious style envy for the rapper. In fact, the legend himself apparently called Kanye to ask about the jacket that he wore in his Stronger music video.
Turns out, Yeezy also had the same admiration for the King of Pop (who doesn’t?). He revealed in an interview with Zane Lowe that, “For me, as Kanye West, I would not be Kanye West if it wasn’t for Michael Jackson…”
8. Kanye Produced Jay-Z’s Tracks Before Stardom
Kanye got his big break in 2000 by becoming a producer for artists on Roc-A-Fella Records. He was super influential on Jay-Z’s album, The Blueprint where he produced five of the 13 tracks on there – more than any other producer. This is where Jay noticed the talent Kanye has and the bromance began.
9. No One Cared for His Music at First
It’s taken a lot for Kanye to get to where he is now. Despite his success as a producer, clearly, Kanye’s true aspiration was to be a rapper. As revealed in his Jeen-Yuhs documentary, Ye’s hit song All Falls Down was given the cold shoulder when he first played it for Roc-A-Fella Records. In fact, a couple of people even laughed at some of Kanye’s lyrics.
“Roc-A-fella just wouldn’t take him seriously as a rapper,” filmmaker Coodie Simmons said. “It’s like they only looked at him like a producer. Dame might’ve said he was going to sign him, but there was never a deal on the table. It felt like he just wanted to keep Kanye around to make beats for his artists.”
10. He Recorded a Song with his Jaw Wired Shut
This Kanye fact might just blow your mind! After falling asleep at the wheel in 2002, Kanye was involved in a near-fatal car crash which left him with a shattered jaw. Bed-ridden in hospital, with the notorious rapper going out of his mind, he had an electronic drum machine delivered to the hospital so he could work on his music.
He even recorded a song with his jaw still wired shut. Through the Wire in particular, detailed Ye’s experience after the accident.
11. He Hates the Paparazzi “More than Nazis”
He’s known to get involved in various celebrity feuds, but did you know that Kanye also often fights with the paps? With numerous encounters with the photographers, Kanye literally despises them. He even went as far as to say “he hates them more than Nazis” in one of his records. When he was grilled about this by a journalist, his lawyer was quick to shut down the conversation and walk away from the interview.
Kanye has faced charges in the past of battery and attempted grand theft in connection with an LAX attack, where a photog claimed the rapper injured him. Well, there’s no denying that – the Yeezus rapper was photographed wrestling the man to the ground. Insane.
12. Kanye’s Dance Went Viral
If you happened to miss Kanye’s strange little boogie during his performance at the foundation Louis Vuitton event in Paris in 2015, here’s a little preview. His robotic dance moves sent internet fans into a frenzy with people all over the world bashing his less than coordinated “body pop”.
The rapper’s funny but strange robot-dance even became an internet phenomenon! It’s best to leave the dancing to Breezy and focus on your lyrics, Ye!
13. He Once Considered Suicide
Kanye has admitted in the past that he once considered suicide. In 2018, he revealed in an interview with The New York Times:
“Oh yeah, I’ve thought about killing myself all the time. It’s always a option and [expletive]…Like Louis C.K. said: I flip through the manual. I weigh all the options. I’m just having this epiphany now, ’cause I didn’t do it, but I did think it all the way through. But if I didn’t think it all the way through, then it’s actually maybe more of a chance of it happening.”
14. He’s Open about Mental Health Struggles
It’s no secret that Kanye has struggled with his mental health. He was even hospitalized in 2016 after suffering from “temporary psychosis”, paranoia and depression. In 2019, Kanye also admitted that he suffers with bipolar disorder.
The rapper apparently suffers a serious bout with his bipolar disorder “usually once a year”, states TMZ, and according to Vogue, “experiences manic episodes, which typically include paranoia”. Ye is not medicated for the condition.
15. Kanye’s Feuded With Taylor Swift Since 2009
You’re probably already aware of Kanye’s very public feud with Taylor Swift. It all started when Kanye interrupted her acceptance speech at the MTV VMAs in 2009 stating that Beyonce deserved the award for ‘Best Female Video’, instead.
Further drama revolved around his single, Famous where he rapped, “I feel like me and Taylor might still have s*x. why? I made that b***h famous!” Taylor denied approving such a misogynistic comment and the drama escalated, with Kim even stepping in to defend her husband.
It doesn’t look like Kanye’s feud with Taylor is due to end anytime soon.
16. He Had a Travel Company and Burger Joint
Through his official website in 2008, the workaholic launched an online travel company called “Kanye Travel Ventures” (KTV). He also dabbled in the food chain opening burger joints called ‘Fat Burger’ in Chicago that very same year. He opened a second before running into some financial problems and so he closed them down in 2011.
In years to come though, Kanye moved on to more successful business ventures including his collaborations with Nike, Louis Vuitton and his Yeezy partnership with Adidas. He is also the founder and head of the creative content company Donda.
17. Kanye is Officially a Billionaire
It’s not surprising that Ye sits on this amount of wealth – a whopping net worth of $1.8 billion to be exact. The artist was declared a “billionaire” by Forbes in 2021 after immersing into plenty of business ventures including music, fashion, architecture, technology and film. His Yeezy sneaker empire in particular finished 2019 with revenue of $1.3 billion alone!
18. He Wanted to Be a Pornstar
Nothing seems to amaze us when it comes to the Louis Vuitton Don. He’s a rapper, songwriter, record producer, fashion designer, artist, ‘genius’ and visionary…what else could possibly be missing from Kanye’s resume? Hmm, a porn star maybe?
The billionaire admitted that the thought of being a male porn star once crossed his mind. Telling The Sun in 2007, he said, “That career choice popped into my head once or twice. Which guy doesn’t want that? Just sometimes in their life. This was my mentality before I was engaged [to former fiance Alexis Phifer].”
19. Kanye’s Always Loved Kim Kardashian
There have been a few famous ladies in Kanye’s life, but it seemed he always had a secret thing for Kim the whole time. The lyrical genius was engaged to fashion designer, Alexis Phifer before his crazy relationship with model Amber Rose, but all along he had his eyes set on Kim.
“I just knew I wanted her to be my girl for a long time,” Kanye told Ryan Seacrest. “I remember I saw a picture of her and Paris Hilton, and I remember telling my boy, ‘Have you seen that girl Kim Kar-dijon?’”
Too bad the power couple‘s relationship crumbled down. After six years of marriage, Kimye got a divorce, citing “irreconcilable differences” as the cause, but the rapper has been trying to win her back ever since.
20. His First Big Purchase Was an Aquarium
Here’s some interesting trivia about Kanye. Now we know what was on his wish-list before rising to fame! Following The College Drop-Out‘s success; the fashion mogul rewarded himself with an 18th-century aquarium – filled with 30 koi fish and a cherub-shaped gold fountain on a marble base in the center.
21. He Broke Down on Stage in Paris
Kanye truly struggled with his mother’s death and broke down mid-performance in Paris whilst rapping the song Hey Mama which was written about the most important person in his life. He really isn’t afraid to wear his heart on his sleeve and show who he truly is.
22. Kanye Wants to Be the Next President of the USA
Kanye is known for his “out-there” ideas, but this one shocked us all. While speaking at the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards in August 2015, Kanye finished his 13-minute monologue by revealing, “As you probably could’ve guessed by this moment, I have decided in 2020 to run for president.”
Yeah, you read that right. In what was one of Kanye’s craziest moments, he decided to change career path and run for president in 2020. Who knew he had such high political ambitions? Turns out, his presidential run didn’t work out, but he did earn 0.04% of the votes during the election…
As crazy and outrageous as they are, these Kanye West facts will make you love the high-on-talent rapper a little bit more. He doesn’t shy away from who he is and puts it all out there for us to see.
Want more on Kanye? Have a look at his craziest quotes – they promise to make you laugh…or cry.