Love him or hate him, there’s no denying that rapper turned business mogul Kanye West seems to know what he’s doing.
Although it might seem that West has never been particularly poor, his current financial success is surely a far cry from his middle-class upbringing in suburban Illinois.
And just recently, his increasing wealth became his ticket into Forbes magazine’s richest rapper list.
For the first time ever, the 42-year-old musician broke into the list making it to the 4th rank just below fellow hip-hop artist Diddy, real name Sean Combs, who has a net worth of $740 million. According to Forbes’ estimates, the controversial rapper is worth $240 million.
This estimate reportedly comes from a conservative valuation of West’s highly-successful clothing line, Yeezy. As his brand grows, the magazine predicts that he could join makeup mogul sister-in-law Kylie Jenner as a billionaire one day.
Aside from his clothing line, West’s fortune also benefits from the sales of his nine albums and the other musical work he’s produced for other artists over the years. What more, he’s been cited as one of the best-selling musical acts of all time.
West’s first entrance onto the list led him to edge out Canadian rapper Drake by one spot despite the news that the latter’s fortune actually grew by 50% within the past year. According to the list, Drake is currently worth $150 million.
The rivalry between the two musicians doesn’t begin and end with the rich list though. Tensions allegedly began when another rapper, Pusha T, criticized Drake in his album, ‘Daytona’, which was produced by West.
Pusha T and Drake’s rift goes way back to 2011 but West only became a new casualty in their longstanding feud when the Canadian rapper answered back with a song dissing both Pusha T and West.
Other rappers who made Forbes’ list include Jay-Z and Dr. Dre who clinched the first and second spots respectively. Jay-Z also earned the title as the world’s first billionaire rapper when his fortune reportedly reached the one billion mark. Meanwhile, Dr. Dre follows him with an estimated fortune of $800 million.
The Truth Behind Yeezy
While the Yeezy brand is closely associated with West, sources say that he doesn’t actually own the brand. That is, if his deal with Adidas is actually like that of other celebrity partnerships with a well-known brand.
But, if his deal with the brand suddenly falls through, the German company might let the rapper officially buy out the Yeezy brand from them. However, this would reportedly cost the rapper large sums of money.
Before signing with Adidas, West had a partnership with another giant brand Nike. The business relationship fell through because the Grammy Award-winning wasn’t earning royalties from the deal and decided to switch partners after five years of working with them.