Kanye West: Hip Hop's Second Billionaire.

If you had to describe Kanye West in one word, what would that word be? He came onto the scene as a music producer, behind the shadow of hip hop’s first billionaire Jay-Z. He proceeded to make a name for himself as a rapper, elevating the culture with classic albums such as My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, 808s and Heartbreak, and The College Dropout. After winning best rap album at the 2004 Grammy’s for the latter, he announced he would launch his clothing line, Pastelle Clothing. Although the line did not fully materialize, Kanye continued his work in fashion. In 2009, he became the first non-athlete to be given a shoe deal by Nike.

For many people designing their own signature shoes with Nike would be a dream come true. Kanye had that opportunity and produced the Air Yeezy and Air Yeezy 2, but decided to leave Nike and join rival Adidas in 2013. His decision was based on Nike not willing to pay him royalties for the sale of his sneakers, and also feeling restricted creatively under Nike.

With Adidas, West owns 100% of his YEEZY brand and receives 11% royalties on the sale of Yeezy sneakers. A much better deal than his previous arrangement with Nike. He’s also been able to let his creativity and design genius flourish with fewer limitations while Adidas handles the production, marketing, and fulfillment portions of the business. The company’s brand has grown significantly with Kanye’s help, as he’s been able to raise their cool factor significantly. The revenue made from Yeezy sneakers alone in 2019 was approximately $1.3 billion. Not bad for the producer, rapper, turned fashion designer.

With investments in other areas such as music, stocks, and real estate, Forbes calculated his net worth to be around $1.3 billion. So we can now add billionaire businessman, to the many titles Kanye West already has.

Written by Ian Lufitha 



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