Kanye West: Matthew Salacuse/Retna
EW Staff
October 15, 2004 AT 04:00 AM EDT

How Kanye West gained power in 2004

AGE 27

In West’s world, ”Jesus Walks,” but money definitely talks, too. The dough he brought in as a wildly successful producer (Alicia Keys, Jay-Z, Twista, Britney) serves as mere backstory to his ’04 triumph as a solo artist: College Dropout (2.3 million so far) is the year’s fifth-bestselling CD, and the biggest by a debuting artist. Hip-hop’s King Midas finally turned himself multiplatinum.

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