BBC look at the extraordinary rollercoaster life and career of KanYe

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Wednesday: The Trouble with KanYe (BBC Two, 9pm)

Whether you love him or loathe him, nobody can deny that there’s never a dull moment in the life of Kanye West.

Just the past year has seen him hit the headlines on numerous occasions, and usually for strange, downbeat or controversial reasons.

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For instance, not only did he change his name to Ye, the settlement of his divorce from media superstar Kim Kardashian was finalised (he will pay her a reported $200,000 a month in child support), and he announced his 2024 presidential campaign.

Kanye WestKanye West
Kanye West

On top of that, Adidas revealed it was terminating its lucrative deal with him after he praised Hitler and denied the Holocaust, declaring, “Adidas does not tolerate antisemitism and any other sort of hate speech. Ye’s recent comments and actions have been unacceptable, hateful and dangerous, and they violate the company’s values of diversity and inclusion, mutual respect and fairness.”

The move hit his personal finances, with the estimated £1.05billion worth of unsold trainers, known as Yeezys, eventually going on sale last month with part of the profits going to such organisations as the Anti-Defamation League and the Philonise & Keeta Floyd Institute for Social Change.

It’s all a far cry from his early days. The son of an English professor and a Black Panther member who became a photojournalist, he was raised in middle-class comfort. Ye did well at school, but dropped out of university to pursue a music career. His undoubted skills as a producer then caught the eye before he launched his own rap career.

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Back then, everything he touched seemed to turn to gold, but times have certainly changed.

Ye’s extraordinary rollercoaster life and career were the subject of Jeen-Yuhs: A Kanye Trilogy, a three-part Netflix documentary which debuted early last year. It featured archive footage, some of it previously unseen, detailing his rise to international stardom as a music mogul, fashion designer and businessman.

Now the BBC is shining a new spotlight on him, held by award-winning investigative journalist Mobeen Azhar, who previously delved into the music industry with The Battle for Britney, about Britney Spears’s conservatorship, back in 2021.

Azhar seems to have picked his moment well – filming took place against the backdrop of Ye’s election campaign, at a time when his behaviour was beginning to spark outrage while threatening his place as a pop culture icon.

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The reporter is keen to figure out how someone once so revered due to his creative success could cause his own spectacular fall from grace.

Accompanying the programme is an eight-part podcast series, The Kanye West Story, in which guests offer further insights into Ye’s life and reputation.

It seems that no matter our own personal views and what the future may hold for this controversial figure, there’s always going to be something to discuss and dissect. But whether he can rescue his shattered reputation and return to the top of the cultural tree is another question altogether.