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"I do think I changed a lot. I do think that I'm more compassionate, I'm more sensitive to people's emotions. I'm just understanding that it's not about me, it's not about just what my opinion is all the time — especially when it's someone else's show.”  --Kanye West on maturing


He didn't sell the most albums (that was Eminem) or have the year's hottest single, but he has risen from the ashes even snagging Rolling Stone’s album of the year accolade along the way.


Whether good – and mostly bad - no one dominated the pop-culture quite like he did. From his self-imposed hiatus to his triumphant return to his tantrums, everyone was talking about Ye in 2010.


Ye came into 2010 as a villain, still stinging from the public smack-down he received following the Taylor Swift debacle, and he left it as a hero: not only the year's most celebrated artist, but its most compelling and visionary too.


2010 Highlights: West's story actually begins in September 2009, after he stormed the MTV stage during Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech at the Video Music Awards. His actions were lambasted by everyone from Donald Trump to Barack Obama resulting in his tearful confession to Jay Leno that he needed to "take time off." And he wasn't kidding. Ye canceled his much-anticipated Fame Kills Tour with Lady Gaga and all but disappeared from the public eye, leading to rumors that he had checked himself into rehab (or, alternately, fled to India). 


Kanye skipped the Grammys in February but did appear on the "We Are the World - 25 for Haiti" charity single, which signaled his slow return. The following month, he wrote a lengthy blog post that remembered late designer Alexander McQueen and hinted that he had begun working on, well, something. And then in May, we finally began to hear the fruits of his labor when "Power" leaked to the Net. The following month, he returned to the stage with a swaggering performance of the song at the BET Awards, and then, it was game on.


In July, he famously joined Twitter. Within 24 hours of opening his official Twitter, Kanye had already amassed 220,000 followers. Within six months, that number would balloon to 1.8 million.  He later began a string of impromptu performances. In August, unveiled his G.O.O.D. Fridays project and premiered a new song, the artfully damaged "Runaway," at the 2010 VMAs.


In October, he made waves when he tweeted that the cover art for Fantasy had been "banned" by megastore Walmart "In the 70s album covers had actual nudity," he tweeted. "It's so funny that people forget that... Everything has been so commercialized now... I wanna sell albums but not at the expense of my true creativity." 


In November, with the release of his album – My Beautiful Dark Twister Fantasy - less than three weeks away, his post-Katrina remarks on former president George Bush – “George Bush doesn’t like black people” – once again became a discussion point when Bush admitted that incident was the most disgusting point of his presidency.


As host Matt Lauer peppered the rap star with what could be considered antagonistic questions, Kanye got testy then downright angry once a video clip started playing mid-answer.  “I don’t need all the jazz,” Ye chided the producers and Today as an institution. Two days later, Kanye vented his frustration on Twitter. “HE TRIED TO FORCE MY ANSWERS. IT WAS VERY BRUTAL AND I CAME THERE WITH ONLY POSITIVE INTENT ...,” Kanye tweeted. “I feel very alone very used very tortured very forced very misunderstood very hollow very very misused ... I don't trust anyone but myself! Everyone has an agenda. I don't do press anymore. I can't be everything to everybody anymore ... I can't be everybody's hero and villain savior and sinner Christian and anti Christ! ... I can't take anymore advice!!! I create, I'm creative, I have a good heart, everyone will see and understand one day."


He crossed paths with Lauer again at the Thanksgiving Day parade. All went well if you ignore all the boos in the crowd.


As the year draws to an end, Kanye continues to make headlines, both with a gory preview of his "Monster" video and rumors that he knocked up Kim Kardashian — both of which seem to point to the fact that 2011 will be a big year, indeed.

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