By the end of 2017, Kanye West’s career had become the stuff of legend.
His name was synonymous with the rap game, his albums sold millions of records, and his music sold millions more.
In 2016, his sixth album, 808s & Heartbreak, became the best-selling album of all time, and it’s still one of the most successful rap albums ever made.
But it’s been five years since the rapper released his last album, The Life of Pablo, and in that time, he’s still trying to figure out what he’s doing next.
“I have a feeling I’m not gonna have any more albums out,” West told Billboard last week.
“At the moment, I don’t know what the future holds.”
But while he’s not exactly clear on when that might be, he does say he has “a feeling I’ll be writing some songs for a long time.”
He’s also not exactly saying that he’s retiring from the game.
“When I’m done with this whole thing, I’ll have some songs to say,” he said during a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter.
“But I’m gonna be back, I’m still gonna have some ideas.”
It’s been a long road for West.
For the past decade, he has become one of hip-hop’s most successful rappers, a phenomenon that made him a household name and a pop culture icon, but it also led to a growing sense of isolation, depression, and a series of health issues.
In an interview with Rolling Stone earlier this year, he acknowledged the struggles that came with making music.
“For me, music is a way to connect with people,” he told the magazine.
“You can’t escape the music.
You can’t just ignore the music.”
West was born in New York City to Jamaican parents.
His father was a prominent rapper and his mother an artist.
West grew up in Queens, New York, and attended St. John’s Preparatory School.
He started performing as a teenager, but when he was 14, he left the school to pursue a career in recording and acting.
As a young rapper, West played to a crowd, and he did so on the streets of New York.
West’s rise was meteoric.
“It was so easy,” he explained to the interviewer.
“Just being on stage and being the person that I was, people loved me.”
West’s music caught on quickly, and at 21, he released his debut album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, in 2010.
The album was met with rave reviews, but critics didn’t agree.
“There’s so much of this ‘Kanye West is this huge star and we don’t understand him,'” wrote Rolling Stone’s Scott Tobias.
“He’s a star, but he doesn’t understand himself, and people are just going to fall in love with him.”
His success led to the album being reissued on vinyl in 2013, which critics praised for its honesty.
“As a young kid, Kanye was just a young, bubbly, wild-eyed kid,” the interviewer said.
“That’s how he was growing up, and as a young person, he had to learn to live in the moment.
There was no room for doubt in that.”
But the album wasn’t able to meet expectations, and critics were not sold on his lyrical style.
In 2013, he was arrested for a domestic violence incident, and later accused of assault.
He also faced charges of battery and criminal mischief, and the case was dropped in March 2015.
“People weren’t impressed by what they saw on the album,” the writer of the Rolling Stone piece said.
After his arrest, West went on to face a barrage of criticism.
“The truth was, I was a little bit of a troublemaker,” he later said.
West continued to release albums in 2015, but the attention turned to him when he released The Life Of Pablo.
The music videos for his songs featured an array of people, including a young child, a pregnant woman, and someone who was wearing a white mask and wearing a wig.
“This is not a picture of me,” West said in a YouTube video that went viral in 2018.
“And if you’re gonna use that image, please, please don’t put the word ‘gangster’ in there.
I was just trying to say, ‘I’m not a gangster.’
I’m just a kid from Queens.’
I was making art.
I didn’t know I was being a troublemaking asshole.”
But despite all the backlash, the album was a huge hit, and West was a household-name for a while.
“Kanye was like, ‘You’re making money, man,'” a fan named Andrew told the New York Daily News in 2018, adding that “it’s like, I got to make sure I’m keeping up with this shit.”
It wasn’t until 2015, when West was asked about the success