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Clap your hands say Kanye
He's the hottest thing in rap. Now Kanye West is coming to Cork.
Mark Keane, 07 Jun 2006
It’s less than a year since Kanye West released Late Registration, an album so good that it broke the hearts of rappers everywhere. Thanks in no small part to the superb single ‘Gold Digger’, Kanye became the favourite hip hop artist of pretty much everyone on the planet. And then, just to prove it, he took off on a global sell-out tour, playing everywhere from Tennessee to Tokyo.
So what does Mr West do on his days off? Put his feet up and watch Eastenders with a cup of tea? Not exactly. In the past few months he’s found the time to record the theme song for the new Mission Impossible movie, finish a track with Pharrell Williams (the second hottest talent in rap) and start work on his own movie. And if rumours are to be believed, he’s going to be single-handedly producing Jay-Z’s comeback album.
It’s the least Kanye can do for Jay-Z, who kickstarted the career of the college dropout from Chicago. In the beginning, it was an uphill struggle for Kanye to impress Jay-Z and the team at Roc-A-Fella records. Because even though he’s famous for his extravagant dress sense, West just doesn’t look like a rapper.
“I had Italian shoes, my size medium t-shirts,” he has said. “I dress kind of like a producer, like, all producers dress like this. Picture how it looks with me busting a hard rap with a tight t-shirt on. And I’m rapping to Jay-Z, I’m rapping to the greatest.”
Kanye started by producing tracks for Janet Jackson, Alicia Keys and Ludacris, all the while honing his own rapping skills. His work ethic and innovative approach to producing impressed Jay-Z, who gradually began to throw more work Kanye’s way.
He produced four tracks on Jay-Z’s Blueprint album, including ‘Takeover’, the track that made public the feud between Jay-Z and fellow New York rapper Nas. The track got a lot of media attention, with Kanye’s production receiving widespread critical praise. It seemed he was on the verge of making a name for himself, and with the hype building, he started work on his debut album.