Ye ( YAY; born Kanye Omari West; June 8, 1977), commonly known as Kanye West ( KAHN-yay), is an American rapper, record producer, entrepreneur, and fashion designer. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest and most influential hip hop musicians of all time, as well as one of the greatest musicians of his generation. Born in Atlanta and raised in Chicago, West gained recognition as a producer for Roc-A-Fella Records in the early 2000s, producing singles for several artists and developing the "chipmunk soul" sampling style. Intent on pursuing a solo career as a rapper, he released his debut studio album, The College Dropout (2004), to critical and commercial success. West subsequently founded his record label GOOD Music later that same year.