Kanye West Net Worth: Is He A Billionaire, How Does He Make His Money?

Kanye West is a multi-faceted American entertainer known internationally as a rapper, singer, and songwriter. The Atlanta native is also a record producer, a businessman, as well as a fashion designer. Born Kanye Omari West on the 8th of June 1977 in Atlanta, Georgia, the rapper is the son of Ray West and Dr. Donda C. The latter is an English professor and the former, a photojournalist and Christian marriage counselor. Considering the things he has accomplished as a musician, it is only natural that a lot of people are interested in getting all the facts about Kanye West’s net worth. We have trashed that out in this piece.

How Kanye West’s Rose To Fame

The musician’s natural likeness for the arts was obvious from the time he was a child. He was five-years-old when he started writing poetry and according to his mother, she first noticed his passion for drawing and music when he was a third-grader, the same time he began rapping. By the time he got into 7th grade, he started composing music and subsequently sold them to other artists. Enjoying the support of his mother, the then-13-year-old West was able to get her to pay for time in a recording studio for him to record his rap titled “Green Eggs and Ham”, which he wrote.

Not long after, Kanye West met Ernest Dion Wilson, a music producer and DJ professionally known as No I.D. They became close friends almost immediately and soon No I.D became Kanye’s mentor, teaching him how to sample and program beats after the then-aspiring musician got his first sampler at the age of 15. Upon his graduation from high school, the singer continued his education on scholarship at Chicago’s American Academy of Art in 1997 but after a short while, he transferred to Chicago State University, abandoning his painting classes to study English.

However, due to the fact that his busy class schedule was affecting his music career negatively, he decided to choose between the two and unsurprisingly, he dropped out of the university at 20 to pursue his career in music, against his mother’s will. Towards the end of the 1990s, he worked as a producer at a radio station in Chicago and for the next few years, he focused on the songbooks of other artists, writing hit songs for a number of them, including Jermaine Dupri and Jay-Z.

A near-death experience that Kanye West had in 2002 eventually inspired him to start making his own music and in 2004, he released his first album titled “The College Dropout”. It turned out to be a hit, establishing West as one of the forces to reckon with in the music industry.

Kanye West’s Net Worth: Is He A Billionaire?

According to Forbe’s list of hip-hop’s next billionaires: richest rappers 2019, Kanye West has an estimated net worth of $240 million. This gave him the fourth spot on the list behind Jay-Z, Dr. Dre, and Diddy. He also ranked third in the publication’s 2019 list of highest-paid celebrity 100, behind Taylor Swift and his sister-in-law, Kylie Jenner, but stayed ahead of ninety-seven other people, including his wife Kim Kardashian West as well as football stars like Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Neymar among others.

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Kanye West
Kanye West Yeezy Season 4 Fashion Show: image source

The rapper and businessman had been absent from the list for the past four years but he was able to make a big return this year as a result of the increasing success of his sneaker brand, Yeezy. As the Yeezy brand keeps growing, Kanye West might eventually secure a sit beside his sister-in-law, Kylie Jenner, in the billionaire’s club.

How Does He Make His Money?

The singer/songwriter was formerly heavily dependent on his music career as his source of income but that changed when he ventured into other things like his shoe brand, Yeezy, which is currently his major source of income. According to Forbes, the brand, described as a billion-dollar empire, has made more than $150 million (pretax) in the past year and is also expected to top $1.5 billion in sales in 2019.

This is a total turn-around for the rapper, who made headlines in 2016 when he took to Twitter to beg Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, to invest $1 billion into his ideas, claiming he was $53 million in personal debt. Unfortunately, Kanye West did not succeed in getting that billion from Zuckerberg but while the idea of raising some money from the Facebook CEO failed, his shoe line definitely brought him out of debt, if he was truly bankrupt.

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The rapper-turned-designer brought his brand over to Nike from the German shoemaker, Adidas, in 2013 after he successfully negotiated a 15% royalty on the wholesale price of his sneakers in addition to a marketing fee. In no time, the line went off the ground and in 2015 he released his Yeezy Boost 750 “Light Brown” sneakers, which was completely sold out in 10 minutes at the retail price of $350. This was followed by the release of some limited editions like Yeezy Boost 350, Yeezy 950, and Yeezy Boost 700, all of which sold at retail prices within the range of $300 to $585 per pair.

Speaking with Forbes, the rapper said he owes his success partly to his Christian faith and partly as a result of his bipolar disorder diagnosis which, according to him, is a superpower that is vital to his creativity. He isn’t a billionaire but all things being equal, Kanye West’s net worth is bound to touch the skies in the nearest future.


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