Kanye West is an American hip hop recording artist, songwriter, record producer, film director, and fashion designer from Chicago, Illinois. West first gained prominence as a producer for Roc-A-Fella Records; he achieved recognition for his work on rapper Jay-Z's The Blueprint (2001), as well as hit singles for musical artists including Alicia Keys, Ludacris, and Janet Jackson. His style of production originally used high-pitched vocal samples from soul songs incorporated with his own drums and instruments. He later broadened his influences to include 1970s R&B, baroque pop, trip hop, arena rock, folk, alternative, electronica, synthpop, industrial, and classical music.
West was raised in a middle-class household in Chicago, Illinois, and began rapping in the third grade, becoming involved in the city's hip hop scene. West attended art school for one semester before dropping out to pursue music entirely in the late 1990s. Although his real desire was to become a rapper, record executives did not take West seriously, viewing him as a producer first and foremost. After being signed to Roc-A-Fella in 2002, West released his debut album The College Dropout in 2004 to commercial and critical acclaim. The baroque-inspired Late Registration followed in 2005, and Graduation in 2007. West switched rapping for singing on his dark 2008 effort 808's & Heartbreak, and embraced maximalism on 2010's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. Following several collaborations, West released his sixth album, Yeezus, in 2013.
West is one of the best-selling and among the most awarded artists in popular music. West has won a total of 21 Grammy Awards, making him one of the most awarded artists of all-time.Several of his studio albums, most prominently Late Registration and My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, have been ranked by music critics as among the greatest records of all-time. West's background and style, upon his debut, deviated from the then-dominant "gangster" persona in hip hop, but he would later alter the genre stylistically as rappers adopted his alternative aesthetic. An outspoken and controversial celebrity, West has often been the source of incidents at award shows, and his dapper and flamboyant fashion sense has also attracted media attention and set West apart from other rappers. West runs his own record label, GOOD Music, has directed several short films, and is also a fashion designer.
Kendrick Lamar, is an American hip hop recording artist from Compton, California. Initially signed to independent record label Top Dawg Entertainment, in 2012, Lamar and the label signed a joint venture deal with Aftermath and Interscope Records. Lamar is also a member of West Coast hip hop supergroup Black Hippy, alongside label-mates and fellow California-based rappers Jay Rock, Schoolboy Q and Ab-Soul.
Lamar first began to gain major attention in 2010, after the release of his fourth mixtape Overly Dedicated. The next year, he released Section.80, his first independent album to critical acclaim; released exclusively through iTunes and instantly ranked as one of the top digital hip hop releases of the year. Early in his career, before releasing his major label debut, Lamar amassed a large internet following, and had already worked with Dr. Dre, Game, Drake, Young Jeezy, Talib Kweli, Busta Rhymes, E-40, Warren G and Lil Wayne, among other popular artists.
His major label debut studio album good kid, m.A.A.d city, was released October 22, 2012 to widespread acclaim. The album spawned the Top 40 hits "Swimming Pools (Drank)", "Bitch, Don't Kill My Vibe", and "Poetic Justice". The album, which debuted at number two on the Billboard 200, was later certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). In early 2013, MTV crowned Lamar the No. 1 Hottest MC in the Game, on their well known annual list.