Kanye West

Born in Atlanta, this rapper and producer moved to Chicago with his mother when he was 3 years old. He's considered to be one of the most commercially successful "back-pack" rappers. West has said he was largely influenced by Wu-Tang member RZA. The first major label song he produced was Jay-Z's "This Can't Be Life," featuring West's signature sound of taking old, soul samples, speeding them up, and adding his own drum sounds and other instruments. In 2001, he broke out as a producer, largely because his sound was all over Jay-Z's critically-acclaimed "The Blueprint." In October 2002, West survived a car accident after falling asleep at the wheel of his car. He recorded "Through The Wire" about two weeks after the accident with his jaws wired shut. It was featured on his debut album, "College Dropout," released in February 2004, on Jay-Z's Roc-A-Fella Records. The Grammy-nominated album sold more than 3 million copies. In August 2005, West released his highly-anticipated follow up "Late Registration," which sold more than 860,000 in its first week. In September 2007 he released "Graduation," which sold more than 950,000 copies in its first week.