Though his upbringing was untraditional for a rapper, Kanye West rose to fame as a hip-hop star in the mid-2000s. Raised by a single parent who was a Fullbright Scholar and Chair of the English Department at Chicago State University, Kanye grew up in an upper-middle-class area of Chicago.
Kanye was already a noted producer, but his middle-class background and preppy dress made him seem out of place for the hip-hop scene, which was dominated by gangsta personalities. A near fatal car accident became the catalyst for Kanye to prove he was also a rapper—one with talent and attitude. He began collecting awards for his music, and headlines for his arrogance.
With an ear for crazy rhyme schemes and hitmaking beats, and a knack for expressing topics that audiences can relate to, Kanye was determined to change the face of hip-hop and make history.