If you think that you know everything that there is to know about Kanye West, you better think again. This popular rapper and business mogul is one of the most well-known entertainment figures in the world. However, Kanye is a figure with many layers to unravel. Here are 20 of the most interesting facts that every true Kanye fan should know.
1. Full Name and Meaning: Kanye’s full name is Kanye Omari West. His name translates to “the only one” in Swahili.
2. He’s a smaller guy: Kanye West is 5′ 8″ tall, however, he towers over his 5′ 2″ wife Kim Kardashian.
3. Kanye Lived in China: Kanye moved to China with his mom for a short time when he was 10 years old after she accepted a teaching job there. While living in this foreign land, he was able to pick up the language quickly.
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 to earn a degree in English before dropping out to pursue his music career.
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.
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. Recorded Song with Mouth Wired Shut: 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, Kanye recorded the song “Through the Wire” while still in the hospital with his jaw wired shut.
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.
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.
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.