Kanye West crowned hip-hop’s second billionaire by Forbes
Jay-Z is no longer lonely at the top as West joins his 'big brother' in hip-hop royalty
Kanye West famously rapped “Wait ’til I get my money right” on his 2007 single “Can’t Tell Me Nothing.”
Looks like that prophecy has come true as Forbes reports that the record producer-cum-fashion designer is now officially a billionaire.
The confirmation came after the polarizing superstar reached out to Forbes after noticing he was left off the magazine’s 2020 annual billionaires list, which included 2,095 names. West’s team sent the magazine an itemized list of his assets, which, by their appraisal, adds up to $1.26 billion.
He joins the ranks of one-time collaborator Jay-Z, whose relationship with West has grown complicated over the years, in rap royalty. Forbes, who produces an annual list of billionaires, first recognized Jay-Z as a billionaire in 2019.
Dr. Dre and Diddy, who the business magazine estimated to be worth $800 million and $740 million, respectively, in 2019, are presumably knocking on the door to 10-figure status.
Much of West’s riches come from his Yeezy fashion brand. The shoe collaboration with Adidas, launched in 2015, produced approximately $1.3 billion in sneaker sales in 2019. West’s royalty stake in the shoe deal is about 11 percent, meaning he earned $140 million from the sneakers, according to Forbes estimates.
West owns the Yeezy asset, whose portfolio includes an apparel arm, 100 percent outright. His deal with Adidas label calls for the German sportswear brand to handle production, marketing and distribution of the shoes. The apparel line, however, is thought to be a money-losing venture at the time, Forbes said.
Outside of his sneaker empire, the 21-time Grammy winner’s other assets include $81 million in “buildings and improvements” and $21 million in land, most made up of a Los Angeles mansion and two Wyoming ranches.
Then there’s West’s music. Over $90 million comes from his G.O.O.D. Music label and publishing rights of his own music.
West recently settled a dispute with former British record conglomerate EMI Group Limited over publishing ownership after the music entrepreneur attempted to buy the rights to his recordings in 2018, Variety reported.
West also has $17 million in cash and $35 million in stocks.
“Man it’s so hard not to act reckless/To whom much is given, much is tested,” West rapped on the hit “Can’t Tell Me Nothing.”
The song was won over by another one of his hits “Good Life,” the third single from the same Graduation album, for best rap song at the 50th Annual Grammy Awards.
It must be nice.