Kanye West performs at The Museum of Modern Art's annual Party in the Garden benefit, New York City, May 10, 2011
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36 Strange Facts About Kanye West

Kanye West is a wildly popular American songwriter and musician who has given us some of the biggest hits in recent history. He is known for his music, creativity, fashion sense, and his eccentric behavior. Whether you love him or hate him, he has definitely made a big impact in the music and fashion industries. 

There’s more to the man than meets the eye, however. Here are 36 interesting Kanye West facts. 

1. Full Name and Meaning

Kanye’s full name is Kanye Omari West. His name translates to “the only one” in Swahili.

Kanye has many nicknames and often goes by the names Yeezy, Ye, and Yeezus. 

2. He’s a Smaller Guy

Kanye West is 5′ 8″ tall, but this doesn’t make his music less amazing! 

Kanye and Billy Dec
Billy Dec and Kanye West at a show in 2007.

3. Kanye Lived in China

Kanye moved to Nanjing, China with his mom, Donda West, for a short time when he was 10 years old after she accepted a teaching job there. He learned Mandarin while he was there, but he no longer remembers how to speak it. 

4. Kanye Got an Early Start

The iconic musical artist began writing poetry at the young age of five and started rapping by the time he was in third grade. By the time he was 13, he had recorded his first rap song, a fresh take on the famous Dr. Suess poem, “Green Eggs and Ham.”

5. He is a College Dropout

Kanye does not hide the fact that he is a college dropout, saying that he embraced who he was rather than trying to be something that he is not.

After being awarded a scholarship to study at Chicago’s American Academy of Art for one year, he then transferred to Chicago State University to earn a degree in English but he didn’t make it to graduation, dropping out to pursue his music career with dreams of becoming a rapper. 

6. King of the Odd Job

After Kanye dropped out of college to pursue his music career, he was forced to take on odd jobs to make ends meet.

During this time, he worked as a telemarketer for the retailer Montgomery Ward, selling insurance to their credit card holders.

He also once considered becoming a porn star before he broke into the music industry. 

7. Purchased an Aquarium with His First Big Check

After earning his first big paycheck following the success of The College Dropout album, Kanye rewarded himself by purchasing a large 18-century aquarium.

The aquarium was filled with 30 koi fish and a gold fountain sitting on a marble base.

8. Kanye is a Workaholic

Kanye does not let anything slow him down when it comes to making music. Despite almost dying in a car accident after falling asleep at the wheel in 2002, Kanye recorded the song “Through the Wire” while still in the hospital with his jaw wired shut.

Kanye West Recording
Kanye West in his recording studio in 2008.

9. Charitable Giving Involvement

Together with his late mother, Kanye created the Kanye West Foundation in 2003, focusing on music education.

While the foundation closed in 2011, Kanye has been active in various other charities, including World Water Day, Hurricane Katrina Relief, and more.

10. Kanye has been in Jail

Kanye has been arrested three times, with all of the incidents happening as a result of altercations with the paparazzi.

While he received probation, mandatory anger management counseling, and community service requirements, he did not have to serve jail time as a result of these arrests.

11. Kanye Considered Suicide

Kanye has not made his struggle with mental health a secret. He has even admitted that he has had suicidal thoughts in the past while struggling with depression, bipolar disorder, and paranoia.

It was these struggles that led him to write his best-selling song of all time, Stronger. This song would top the Billboard Hot 100 charts and go on to become a number one single listened to around the world. 

12. Kanye Sponsored a Race Car

Wanting to try something different, Kanye once sponsored a race car in the Formula BMW World Finals. The race happened in November of 2006 in Valencia, Spain.

13. Kanye Ran a Travel Company

Not everything that Kanye touches turns to gold. In 2008, Kanye launched an online travel company, Kanye Travel Ventures, that failed shortly after.

14. Kanye’s Mother Suffered an Untimely Death

Kanye’s mother, Donda, passed away after undergoing cosmetic surgery. The official coroner’s report said that she died of heart disease while also suffering various post-operative complications after her plastic surgery procedure.

15. Kanye is Proud of His Meaningful Tattoos

Kanye is known for having many tattoos, however, he is most proud of their special meanings.

For example, the Roman numerals on his wrists represent the birth date of his daughter North and the birth date of his mother.

Kanye West Stronger
Kanye performing his song Stronger in 2008

16. Kanye’s Dad Was a Man of Many Talents

Kanye was understandably proud of his late father, Ray West. Not only was he one of the first black photojournalists at the famed Atlanta Journal-Constitution newspaper, but he was also a Black Panther, a Christian marriage counselor, and a medical illustrator.

17. Kanye is a Perfectionist

Kanye will not release a song until he deems it to be perfect. He spent days working on his hit song “Stronger,” mixing it 50 different ways with eight separate engineers before arriving at the final product.

18. He Took the Photo Himself for an Album Cover

The cover for the album “ye” is actually a picture that Kanye took himself using his personal iPhone.

He snapped the iconic shot when traveling in Jackson Hole, Wyoming on the way to a listening party for the new album.

19. Kanye Considers Chicago His Hometown

Although he was born in Atlanta, Kanye considers Chicago to be his hometown. The Windy City is a prominent theme in many of his songs.

20. Kanye Paid to be on the Cover of 9 Magazines

In order to promote his new Yeezy Adidas tennis shoes, Kanye went big and bought out nine magazine covers. Included in this list of covers for the publicity stunt was The New York Post.

21. Kanye was Sued by Evil Knievel

The iconic daredevil Evil Knievel was not happy about the character in West’s video for the song “Touch the Sky,” claiming that the characterization was too close to the real daredevil.

The case never went to court because Kanye and Knievel settled the dispute on their own just a few days before Knievel passed away of pulmonary disease.

22. Kanye is a Trump Supporter

In recent years, Kanye has been more politically active. He even met with and openly supported Donald Trump in a video, which SNL then created a live satire skit making fun of the interaction.

In Kanye’s meeting with Trump, cameras flash by dozens of media photographers as he went on a several-minute-long rant about many things from how Adidas made him a billionaire, to saying he is Chicago gang leader, Larry Hoover in an alternate universe.

Kanye also fights to help save people who are unjustly incarcerated.

Kanye and Trump
Kanye at the White House Oval Office supporting Donald Trump in October 2018.

23. Kanye West Ran for President

Kanye ran for president in 2020. He didn’t win.

24. Kanye West’s Net Worth

Kanye has been quite successful in his career and currently has a net worth of 1.3 billion dollars. 

25. Kanye has won 21 Grammys

Although music award shows now give him a bad taste in his mouth after his infamous incident at the VMA awards, during which he interrupted Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech, they have been quite good to him. In fact, he has won 21 Grammy Awards, some of which are for Best Rap Song and Best Rap Performance. It’s clear that other people value his contributions to the music industry.

26. Kanye has a House in Wyoming

Kanye’s creativity takes him to a number of different places. It has now taken him to a large estate in Wyoming. It’s a beautiful area with a large connection to nature. Many people go to nature for inspiration, and Kanye is no different.

27. Kanye West has a Big…you know what

Kanye has always been one to speak his mind. Every now and then, he says something that we don’t need or want to know.

He once stated that he had a larger, um, member than the lead singer of the band Franz Ferdinand. The biggest question here is how he figured that out.

Kanye West Cochella
Kanye West performing at Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival on April 30, 2006, in Indio, California.

28. He Didn’t like the South Park Episode about him

Kanye might not be able to take a joke at his expense. He was not pleased with the South Park episode that depicted him and Kim Kardashian in a less than pleasant light. He said that it “hurt his feelings”.

The entire episode is Kanye denying and trying to prove that he’s not gay fish. Comedian, Bill Hader helped write the episode.

29. Kanye Sold a Plain, White T-Shirt for $120.

It’s no secret that Kanye enjoys fashion. He even created his own fashion line which Michael Jackson wore items of. However, he might think some of his designs are worth more than they really are.

A plain white tee shirt sold for a whopping $120. It, unsurprisingly, did not sell well. His other items, however, have been quite popular. He is becoming known for his fashion sense, so much so that even famed fashion designer Louis Vuitton has considered hiring Kanye as a creative director in his company.

30. Dr. Kanye West?

Kanye was given an honorary doctorate from the Art Institute of Chicago for his contributions to the music world. This is ironic since he is a college dropout.

31. Kanye is Christian

In 2019, Kanye decided he would be a Christian artist after releasing his album Jesus is King. This isn’t anything new, however, as Kanye has always been a Christian rapper and his first album contains the song Jesus Walks, which is a pop song that endorses Christianity.

32. Kim Kardashian Wasn’t Kanye’s First Love

From 2004-2006, Yeezy dated fashion designer Alexis Phifer. Unfortunately for them, the relationship eventually dissolved.

After that relationship, he went on to date model Amber Rose, but they never became engaged.

33. Kanye has Invested in Burger King

Kanye actually owns 10 Burger King franchises in Europe. Apparently, people in Europe really like Whoppers. He saw an opportunity and decided to take it! He also opened two other burger restaurants in Chicago, but they weren’t a success. They eventually shut down.

Kanye west burger restaurant
Kanye West at a burger restaurant in 2006.

34. Kanye Was Married to Kim Kardashian

Kanye and Kim Kardashian were friends for a long time before finally becoming romantically involved. He proposed at At&T ball park, costing him a whopping 3.3 million dollars.

The whole proposal took place in front of friends and family. Of course, it was also caught on camera for Kim’s reality show. He has four children with the reality star, and sadly the couple filed for divorce in 2021. 

35. Kanye West Had a Mentor

Even someone as talented as Kanye West needs a mentor and he found one in Hip-Hop producer No I.D. Kanye looked up to him so much that he later ended up hiring him to work at his record company. 

It is also no secret that Kanye is a huge fan of Beyonce, namely because of Kanye’s close relationship with Jay Z which put him in contact with the artist with who he has remained friends over the years. 

36. Kanye Was Once Signed With Jay-Z

Many of Kanye’s songs are collaborations with other artists, which should come as no surprise considering the artist was once signed with Jay-Z’s record label Roc-a-Fella Records and created The Blueprint album with him.

His 2010 album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy includes the most collaborations, with numerous songs with Nicki Minaj, Kid Cudi, Raekwon, Bon Iver, and Rick Ross just to name a few! He has also collaborated on many songs with rapper Eminem.

Kanye collaborates with Kid Cudi frequently, most notably on their song “Welcome to Heartbreak” which discusses the dark side of fame. 

Bo Weber
Author: Bo Weber

Supporting artists since 2014

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Written by Bo Weber

Supporting artists since 2014

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