Raising Kanye: Life Lessons from the Mother of a Hip-Hop Superstar

For someone who tends to wear his heart on his sleeve, Kanye West isn’t exactly this enigma that we are dying to figure out. Neither is his mother, Donda West, for that matter. Still, Ye’s mom managed to stretch the span of her son’s successful life into a book of stories that we’ve basically already heard from Kanye himself. This time, it’s from a mother’s perspective. Raising Kanye: Life Lessons from the Mother of a Hip-Hop Superstar (Pocket) is a guidebook, if you will, on how to raise a rap celebrity. The lessons aren’t entirely stimulating—don’t stifle your son’s creativity, let him suck his thumb until he’s eight (or in Kanye’s case, two of his fingers), and if he can’t save enough dough, fund his production career. We learn about Kanye’s born brilliance, his early on fascination with porn, and his surprisingly long friendship with Rhymefest. Dr. West remains supportive of Kanye in her discussions of his public outbursts, opinions on homosexuality, and that historical public service announcement to George Bush.The whole paradox of Donda’s position as a college professor while her son stands on the dropout’s soapbox gets explained to a certain extent. However, the greatest story told is Dr. West’s undying support of Kanye’s career. From managing him in the early days, to purchasing multiple copies of College Dropout the day it dropped in Best Buy, Donda West is that mom you want as a rapper/producer. Raising Kanye also includes some rare photos of Kanye and his family, including his father and special moments from Kanye’s year living in China. There is some overdose on Donda’s West life—including photos of Dr. West in her younger years (with commentary) and some drawn out discussions on her pre-motherhood thoughts. But it’s her book too, after all. While Donda West’s ode to her prolific offspring might not wake the dead with fascinating anecdotes, it’s an easy enough read to learn a little something more about Kanye West. He did lead a charming little childhood/adolescence. However, a book on the second half of his life might be a tad more interesting.