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Kanye West’s ex-fiancée shares early sketches of rapper's famous bear mascot

Collage of a photo of Kanye West and early sketches of his "Dropout Bear" character.
Kanye's "Dropout Bear" featured on the cover of his first three studio albums. (Shutterstock/Everett Collection; Instagram/alexisphifer)

Kanye West fans have been given a sneak peek into how his trademark bear mascot came to life.


On Saturday, Ye's debut studio album "The College Dropout" turned 20 years old.


To mark the anniversary of the project, the rapper's ex-fiancée Alexis Phifer shared to Instagram some early sketches of the famous bear which featured on the album's cover.


Alongside the sketches, Phifer, who split with Ye in 2008, wrote a lengthy Instagram story in which she revealed Ye's inspiration for the bear.


"With Ralph Lauren a huge inspiration for him as a creative, he fashioned his mascot bear similar to the [Ralph Lauren] bear," she wrote.


Phifer said that Ye started by sketching the bear's head, then its body, and then its belt – an evolution that can be seen in the sketches she shared.


She added that Ye wanted to throw the sketches away once had had sent them to his label, Roc-A-Fella Records, but that she asked to keep them.


"It was the beginning of what would mark one of the most influential rapper's life and legacy," Phifer wrote.



Following the enormous success of "The College Dropout," Ye's bear would go on to feature on the cover of both his second and third studio albums, "Late Registration" and "Graduation."


For "Graduation," the bear was redesigned in cartoon format by Japanese contemporary artist Takashi Murakami.


Ye's bear subsequently disappeared after "Graduation," but it made a return in 2020, two years after the release of Ye and Kid Cudi's debut collaborative album "Kids See Ghosts."


The bear featured in a trailer for a "Kids See Ghosts" animated show, which is yet to see the light of day.

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