Legacy and Influence
West was as interesting and complicated a pop star as the 2000s produced—a rapper who mastered, upped and moved beyond the hip-hop game, a producer who created a signature sound and then abandoned it to his imitators, a flashy, free-spending sybarite with insightful things to say about college, culture and economics, an egomaniac with more than enough artistic firepower to back it up. Instead of adapting to the mainstream, the Louis Vitton Don reshaped it, establishing a style of introspective yet glossy rap on The College Dropout and Late Registration, two of the decade's best records.“ ” — Rolling Stone
An outspoken and controversial celebrity, West has frequently spoken out against homophobia in hip hop music. He posed as Jesus Christ for the cover of Rolling Stone and accused President George W. Bush of not "car about black people." His dapper and flamboyant fashion sense has also attracted media attention and set West apart from other rappers. Allmusic editor Jason Birchmeier writes of his impact, "As his career progressed throughout the early 21st century, West shattered certain stereotypes about rappers, becoming a superstar on his own terms without adapting his appearance, his rhetoric, or his music to fit any one musical mold."
Although it was polarizing for both listeners and critics, West's 2008 album 808s & Heartbreak was commercially successful and impacted hip hop stylistically, laying the groundwork for a new wave of hip hop artists who generally eschewed typical rap braggadocio for intimate subject matter and introspection, including B.o.B, Kid Cudi, Childish Gambino, Frank Ocean, The Weeknd, and Drake. Both Drake and Casey Veggies acknowledge being influenced directly by West.
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