How Kanye West Makes His Money Now Will Shock You

It seems like Kanye West is always in the news somehow. From starting Twitter feuds with fellow musicians to riling people up at the White House, West is always provocative and certainly always entertaining. Still, there’s some substance behind the show business.

West has quietly been building an empire that stands toe to toe with anything else on the market. Even though he initially rose to fame as a rapper, these days, West actually makes his millions from a different source entirely.

How did Kanye West become famous?

Kanye West
Kanye West | PATRICK KOVARIK/AFP/Getty Images

Born in 1977, West showed an affinity for the written word at an early age, writing poetry when he was only five years old. As he grew older, he parlayed his talent into songwriting, and by the late 90s, West was working as a producer at a Chicago radio station. For the next several years, West would focus on the songbooks of other artists, writing hits for people like Jermaine Dupri and Jay-Z. Eventually, West turned his attention to making music of his own, and released his debut album, “The College Dropout,” in 2004. It was a massive hit and cemented West as one of the great talents of his generation.

In 2009, West released the Air Yeezy I, a line of shoes that he collaborated on with Nike. Of course, in addition to his design projects, West continued to work on his music. However, it was around that time that he first started developing his unpredictable reputation, with a penchant for flying off the handle at award shows and drinking liquor on the red carpet. 

Kanye West used to be in debt

West admittedly suffers from mental health problems, and those issues contributed to his difficult year in 2016. That year, West ended up canceling multiple tour dates and ended up hospitalized due to extreme exhaustion and stress. It was also in 2016 that West admitted to being in personal debt to the tune of $53 million. He revealed that he was in major debt during a Twitter rampage, where he asked all of his followers to try and get the attention of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, hoping Zuckerberg would pay him for his ideas.

While that particular idea didn’t work out, West’s shoe line has more than made up for the difference. A recent news story dived deep into the empire that West has created and just how much time and effort goes into what West does.

How much money does Kanye West make from his shoe company?

The article claims that West’s pretax earnings from his shoe line are $150 million, making West one of the highest-paid celebrities of the year. It’s a huge difference from only a few years ago when West was proclaiming his money troubles on Twitter. The article discusses how West has managed to shape the industry with his Yeezy line, stating that hip-hop culture has managed to really connect with footwear in a way that hasn’t happened since the days of Air Jordans. His deal is certainly more lucrative than Michael Jordan’s ever was: The article states that West gets around 15% of the wholesale profit on Yeezys, while Jordan’s was around 5%.

These days, West lives in a palatial home with his wife, Kim Kardashian West, and their four children. He maintains strict control of his brand and takes great pride in what he does. He even enjoys designing in his downtime. In fact, West and Kardashian’s new home was partially designed by West himself. 

While there’s no telling what the future holds for West, for now at least, things seem to be going swimmingly for the rapper-turned-shoe-designer.