Kanye West has been a leading figure in the music industry for nearly two decades. Throughout this time he worked with countless other rappers including Jay-Z and Rick Ross. In 2021, he worked with fellow Grammy winner Lil Nas X.
Kanye West started his career as a producer
Long before he was known as a rapper, Kanye West was a regular producer in Chicago. In the late 1990s, he produced tracks for well-known artists such as Foxy Brown and Jermaine Dupri.
West signed with Roc-a-Fella Records in 2000 and began producing songs for the label’s artist roster. He produced several tracks on Jay-Z’s flagship album The plan including the hit “Izzo (HOVA)”.
He then produced for artists such as Cam’ron, Nas and Trina in the early 2000s. In 2004, he launched his career as a rapper with his first album Dropout from college. Since then he has produced and written all of his own songs and has continued to work as a rapper and producer with other artists.
Kanye West produced Lil Nas X’s single “Industry Baby”
In 2021, West collaborated with Lil Nas X in a move few saw coming. Lil Nas has spoken openly about not being adopted by much of the hip-hop world, which has always been homophobic and unwelcoming to artists like him. “Maybe a lot of [rappers] I just don’t want to work with myself, ”he said in a Tweeter in September 2021.
So when West signed on to produce Lil Nas’ single “Industry Baby” from his debut album Montero, it was a dream come true for rapper Gen-Z. He opened up about making Ye work with him in an Amazon Music interview. Asked about the most unexpected part of the album recording, his answer was simple.
“Honestly, when Kanye was ready to work on things without me even asking,” he said. He admitted that working with artists he admired was “a mixture of fangirling and knowing that I am where I am supposed to be”.
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‘Industry Baby’ was a hit song
“Industry Baby” is a collaboration with Gen Z rapper Jack Harlow. The song featured horns and boastful energy – something West is known for in his music.
The video for the song poked fun at the homophobic jokes frequently made by people in prisons. He reversed the scenario and found power by being the king of the prison.
“Industry Baby” was released as the third single by Montero. He eventually reached No.2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Lil Nas already landed two number one hits in his short career: “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)”, the album’s lead single, and his hit “Old Town Road”.