Following in the footsteps of his “big brother” Jay Z, Forbes is reporting that with a net worth of $1.3 billion, Kanye West has officially become both the highest-paid rapper and hip hop’s second billionaire. However, this achievement does not come as a surprise to West. He’s known all along.
“I eventually want to be the anchor and the force behind a billion-dollar company,” Kanye West told Zane Lowe in 2013. Two months later, it was announced that Kanye and Adidas had inked a new shoe collaboration. On February 14, 2015, the first Yeezy Boost 750 sneakers were released.
West has proclaimed for nearly a year that he had reached billionaire status. In November 2019, while at the Fast Company Innovation Festival in New York, he toyed with the idea of changing his name to Christian Genius Billionaire Kanye West.
“When I did Forbes, I showed them a $890 million receipt and they still didn’t say billionaire,” he said. “They don’t want us to know that we can buy land; they don’t want us to have the 100 percent ownership I have at Yeezy. When people say it’s crass to call yourself a billionaire, I say I might legally change my name to Christian Genius Billionaire Kanye West for a year until y’all understand exactly what it is… It will be on the license plate.”
It looks like now is as good a time as any to file for that name change.
How Did Kanye West Become A Billionaire?
Despite not making Forbes recently released Billionaires list for 2020 (and being very upset about that), Kanye’s team has provided paperwork that claims he’s worth over $3 billion. Although Forbes believes those numbers are rather high, they were able to determine that Kanye is, in fact, a billionaire.
Forbes was able to confirm that Kanye’s stake in Yeezy (adidas) brings in just over $1 billion. West owns 100% of the Yeezy brand, which is tied to adidas, who is responsible for marketing, manufacturing, and distributing the sneakers, for at least 5 years. The Yeezy brand ended 2019 with an estimated revenue of $1.3 billion.
Adidas also pays Kanye West a nearly unheard of 15% in royalties, a contrast to his 2009-2013 Nike shoe deal where he was reportedly not given any royalties for his designs. According to Forbes, Kanye likely brings in around 11% after expenses, which would have given him an additional $140 million for 2019.
Documents provided by West’s team list $17 million in cash and $35 million in stocks. Other assets include $81 million in “buildings and improvements” and $21 million in land, including his two ranches in Wyoming. Between West’s music catalog, his G.O.O.D Music record label, and publishing rights, he’s worth another $125 million outside of Yeezy.
Taking into account debt, which Forbes calculates at about $100 million, Kanye’s net worth is roughly $1.3 billion. For what it’s worth, it’s still $300,000 more than sister-in-law Kylie Jenner and big bro Jay-Z.