A look at Kanye West’s love-hate relationship with the Grammys despite 21 wins

Michael Eli Dokosi April 07, 2020
Kanye West with Grammy trophies via ROBERT GALBRAITH/REUTERS

Kanye West may be conceited and controversial, but he is a creative genius although many argue his best years are behind him. Nonetheless, West is one of the top Grammy winners in history with 21 wins and was tied with Jay-Z as the highest-decorated hip-hop artist.

It was only last year that Jay-Z became the rap artist with the most Grammy wins when he scooped his 22nd with his Everything Is Love album which won the Best Urban Contemporary Album at the 2019 edition.

Despite having 69 total Grammy nominations with 21 wins, West has had a chequered history with the Grammy board.

On one hand West has stated he’s been snubbed for wins he should have gotten and yet he put outs vibe he couldn’t be bothered with a Grammy win or not.

It didn’t help that he missed out as the Best New Artist to Maroon 5 at the 2005 Grammys. Then when his fifth album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy album released in 2010 wasn’t nominated for Album Of The Year, despite being the most acclaimed album of his career, even earning best album of the decade mention by critics, Mr. West might have become resentful.

West has also boycotted the Grammys on some occasions. One time because Frank Ocean wasn’t nominated but also when he was in Brazil in 2013. Despite his hate-love relationship with the Grammys, In Life of Pablo’s “Highlights,” he said: “21 Grammys, superstar family, We the new Jacksons, I’m all about that action,” underlying his superiority.

West received his first Grammy in 2004 for Best Rap Album for The College Dropout, along with Best Rap Song for “Jesus Walks” and Best R&B Song for “You Don’t Know My Name.” He made his Grammy stage debut at the 47th Grammys, performing “Jesus Walks.”

At the 2016 awards alone, West was nominated for eight Grammys. West came to be noticed as a producer for Roc-A-Fella Records in the early 2000s, producing singles for several mainstream artists. He soon came into his own as a solo act releasing his debut album The College Dropout in 2004 to critical and commercial success.  He set up his record label GOOD Music and then released albums Late Registration (2005), Graduation (2007), and then 808s & Heartbreak (2008).

My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (2010) followed by Yeezus (2013). He has since released The Life of Pablo (2016), Ye (2018), and Jesus Is King (2019), as well as the full-length collaborations Watch the Throne (2011) and Kids See Ghosts (2018) with Jay-Z and Kid Cudi, respectively.

The man born Kanye Omari West aside being a rapper, singer, songwriter, record producer and entrepreneur is also a fashion designer. In 2009, West collaborated with Nike to release his own shoe, the Air Yeezys, with a second version released in 2012. He became the first non-athlete to be given a shoe deal with Nike. In March 2011, West collaborated with M/M Paris for a series of silk scarves featuring artwork from My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.

On October 1, 2011, Kanye West premiered his women’s fashion label, DW Kanye West at Paris Fashion Week.

In 2015, West unveiled his Yeezy Season clothing line, premiering Season 1 in collaboration with Adidas early in the year. An initial release of the Adidas Yeezy Boosts was limited to 9000 pairs to be available only in New York City via the Adidas smartphone app; the Adidas Yeezy Boosts were sold out within 10 minutes.

The father of Psalm West, North West, Saint West and Chicago West  was born 42 years ago in Atlanta, Georgia to Ray West, a former Black Panther and one of the first black photojournalists at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and Dr. Donda West, who was a professor of English at Clark Atlanta University, and the Chair of the English Department at Chicago State University, before retiring to serve as his manager.

Perhaps his quote, “My greatest award is what I’m about to do. I’m always thinking about the future,” gives us inkling into the man’s thoughts and deeds.

Last Edited by:Kent Mensah Updated: April 7, 2020


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