By Lisa Ann Duncan Tuesday, November 16th, 2010
There are few figures in 2000s hip hop culture that have been as artistically and culturally influential as Kanye West. Musically, the emergence of artists like Drake and Kid Cudi is evidence of Kanye West's ongoing influence on a younger generation of rappers and singers. At the core of his celebrity and fame is a prolific rapper and producer. That talent, coupled with his knack for getting attention, has kept West one of the most popular and controversial recording artists in the world.
MTV named West the #4 'Hottest MC In the Game' in 2009, but his infamous interruption of Taylor Swift at the 2009 VMAs (and subsequent backlash) sent him into seclusion for the first few months of 2010. Nonetheless, West would return in the middle of the year with a flurry activity that effectively turned the Chicago native into the most scrutinized man in hip hop. In a summer that saw a frenzy of buzz surrounding releases by newcomer Drake and superstar Rick Ross, among others, no one was being watched more than Mr. West.
He performed a new single, "Power," at the 2010 BET Awards, and the song's video became one of the most talked-about of the year. He then gave a series of impromptu performances of his mysterious new album. One at the headquarters for online social networking giant Facebook and than another shortly thereafter at the headquarters of it's industry rival, Twitter. West became the latest celeb to join Twitter in mid-summer, and his launching an account became national news. His tweets were even turned into cartoon captions for the New Yorker.
In an unorthodox move, West began released a new song every Friday to build anticipation for his forthcoming album. These 'G.O.O.D. Fridays,' as West dubbed them, became musical events unto themselves. This unique approach would be praised by fellow super-producers Timbaland and Swizz Beatz, who intimated that they would also start their own special weekly releases.
Kanye's G.O.O.D. Music imprint also signed a bevy of established stars in 2010, including Mos Def and Pusha T of the Clipse. G.O.O.D. Music's Kid Cudi remained one of the brightest newcomers in hip hop throughout the year. It was also announced that West would be among a handful of stars performing at the Grand Prix in Abu Dhabi, the richest city in the world. Kanye is also working a soon-to-be-released collaborative album with hip hop heavyweight Jay-Z.
In 2010, The Kanye West Foundation teamed up with clothing brand Karmaloop to create Kanye’s Closet, an exclusive charity auction filled with items autographed by Kanye West.
West's upcoming album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, has been among the most anticipate releases of 2010.