Have you ever wondered what the net worth of Kanye West is? As the creator of the Yeezy brand, a huge music artist, and a designer, Kanye has made quite a name for himself.
From struggling with bankruptcy in 2016 to now being a billionaire, he has an amazing story.
As of May 2023, Kanye West has a net worth of $1.6 billion.
Let’s dive into how the artist made it all happen.
Table of Contents
Kanye West was born on June 8, 1977. He spent most of his childhood in suburban Oak Lawn, Illinois. Here, his artistic abilities became apparent at an early age.
He began writing at age five and rapping when he was thirteen. At fifteen, Kanye received his first sampler and began selling compositions by the time he was a junior in high school.
After high school, Kanye West received a scholarship to attend Chicago’s American Academy of Art.
He attended classes there before transferring to Chicago State University, where he studied English. Eventually, West felt that school was distracting his musical priorities, so he dropped out at the age of 20.
Afterward, West became a shadow producer for local artists in Chicago to make ends meet.
West’s parents had a large influence on his perspective growing up. His father was a Blank Panther, and his mother was a professor of English at a university.
While college didn’t work out for West, it paved the way for his grammy-winning album, The College Dropout.
After several years of underground work, Kanye quickly gained recognition as a record producer.
Because of this, he started to produce for larger names in the industry. Some of his first official production credits were for big names like Jay-Z, Alicia Keys, Busta Rhymes, Harlem World and Janet Jackson.
Eventually, West produced tracks for artists under Roc-A-Fella Records. This includes production for rap mogul Jay-Z’s The Blueprint, an album often ranked among the greatest rap albums.
West’s main dream wasn’t producing but rather rapping. At the time, most record labels did not take him seriously because he lacked the “gangsta rap” image that was big at the time.
A year after several failed contracts, Kanye went through a serious car crash that landed him in the hospital.
Through The Wire
Despite severe injury and surgery, Kanye took this as motivation and recorded his first rap single, Through the Wire. The song name comes from the fact that he had to rap through the wires in his mouth, which were put there due to jaw reconstruction.
The song was based on his experience in the hospital and the events leading up to the accident. At first, no radio station wanted to play it because of its content.
However, after Kanye personally called and persisted, the song gradually got airtime. It even peaked at number fifteen on Billboard’s Hot Rap Tracks chart.
This propelled him into the mainstream and gave him the platform to release his first album.
The College Dropout
Kanye West’s debut album, The College Dropout, was a huge success. Released in 2004, the album showcased Kanye’s unique style and garnered critical acclaim.
The College Dropout featured several hit singles, including “Jesus Walks” and “All Falls Down”. The album was a commercial success as well, selling over three million copies in the United States.
The project won multiple awards, including a Grammy for Best Rap Album. The album is often considered to be one of the greatest hip-hop albums of all time.
Kanye’s success with the album helped establish him as one of the biggest stars in music. He would go on to release even more successful albums, including Yeezus and The Life of Pablo.
Kanye’s second album, Late Registration, was released in 2005. The album received critical acclaim and debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 chart.
The album won several awards, including two Grammy Awards for Best Rap Album and Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group.
Graduation was Kanye’s third album, released in 2007. The album was yet another commercial success, selling over nine hundred thousand copies in its first week.
The lead single from the album, Stronger, became one of the biggest hits of his career. The song peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and won a Grammy Award for Best Rap Solo Performance.
The album was nominated for five Grammy Awards, winning two for Best Rap Album and Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group.
808s & Heartbreak
In 2008, Kanye’s mother, Donda West, passed away due to complications from cosmetic surgery. This event profoundly affected the rapper and is reflected in his fourth album, 808s & Heartbreak.
The album was a departure from his previous work, with its focus on personal relationships and heartbreak. The album was a commercial success, debuting at number one on the Billboard 200.
The lead single from the album, Heartless, peaked at number two on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
In 2010, Kanye released his fifth album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. The album was a critical and commercial success, debuting at number one on the Billboard 200.
The album featured artists like Jay-Z, Rick Ross, Nicki Minaj, and Justin Vernon of Bon Iver. The album won two Grammy Awards for Best Rap Album and Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group.
Watch the Throne
Kanye West and Jay-Z’s collaborative album, Watch the Throne, was released in August of 2011 and debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 chart.
The album sold 463,000 copies in its first week and has since been certified platinum by the RIAA. The success of the album was largely due to the popularity of the two artists and their previous work.
West had released five critically acclaimed albums prior to Watch the Throne, while Jay-Z had released ten. The album was also well received by critics, averaging a score of 84 out of 100 on Metacritic.
The duo embarked on a successful tour in support of the album and grossed over $1 million per night.
Overall, the tour grossed over $75 million and became the highest-grossing hip-hop tour of all time.
West’s sixth studio album, Yeezus, was released in 2013 to much fanfare.
The album was a departure from West’s previous work, incorporating elements of industrial and electronic music.
Yeezus was a commercial success, debuting at number one on the Billboard 200 and selling 527,000 copies in its first week.
The album was met with mixed reviews from critics but still managed to average a score of 74 out of 100 on Metacritic.
West supported the album with The Yeezus Tour, which grossed over $25 million.
The Life of Pablo
West’s seventh studio album, The Life of Pablo, was released in 2016 after a prolonged period of hype and delays. The album features artists such as Chance the Rapper, Frank Ocean, and Kid Cudi.
The album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, but only sold 278,000 copies in its first week.
Despite this lackluster sales performance, the album was well-received by critics and is considered by many to be West’s best work.
West has continued to support the album with sporadic live performances and a clothing line.
In total, The Life of Pablo has sold over 1 million copies worldwide.
In 2018, West released his eighth studio album, Ye. The album was met with mixed reviews from critics but still debuted at number one on the Billboard 200.
The album sold 208,000 copies in its first week, becoming West’s seventh consecutive album to debut at number one.
Ye was supported by a promotional campaign that included a listening party at the Bighorn Mountain Ranch where it was recorded.
The album has since been certified platinum by the RIAA.
Jesus Is King and IMAX Film
In October of 2019, West released his ninth studio album, Jesus Is King.
The album was a return to West’s Christian faith and featured gospel-inspired music.
Jesus Is King debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, selling 264,000 copies in its first week.
The album was met with positive reviews from critics and became West’s eighth consecutive album to debut at number one.
In support of the album, West released a documentary film titled Jesus Is King: A Kanye West Experience.
The film was screened in IMAX theaters for one week and grossed over $1 million.
Donda is the tenth studio album by Kanye, released on August 29, 2021 through GOOD Music and Def Jam Recordings.
The album is the culmination of West’s “Gospel” era, which began with the release of his ninth studio album Jesus Is King (2019). The album is also an ode to his late mother, Donda West.
Donda features vocals from some of the heaviest hitters in the music industry. The album features names like Jay-Z, Lil Baby, Playboi Carti, Kid Cudi, Marilyn Manson, Baby Keem, and DaBaby. It also features many features from The Sunday Service Choir, which is a gospel choir that was founded by West in 2019.
Aside from his studio albums, Kanye has also released several singles that have performed well commercially. He’s collaborated with artists like Lil Pump, Paul McCartney, and Rihanna to create hits like “I Love It”, “FourFiveSeconds”, and “All of the Lights”.
Awards and Nominations
Kanye West has been nominated for a total of 62 awards and has won 21 of them, including Grammy Awards, BET Awards, and MTV Video Music Awards.
Some of his most notable awards are:
-Grammy Award for Best Rap Album (The College Dropout, Late Registration, Graduation)
-Grammy Award for Best Rap Song (“All Falls Down”, “Jesus Walks”, “Diamonds from Sierra Leone”)
-BET Award for Best Male Hip Hop Artist
-MTV Video Music Award for Best Male Video (“Stronger”)
-MTV Video Music Award for Video of the Year (“Otis”)
VMA Awards Controversy
In 2010, Kanye West caused controversy when he interrupted Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech for the Best Female Video award at the MTV VMAs. He said that he believed that Beyonce Knowles deserved the award instead.
This led to a highly publicized feud between West and Swift, which ended when West apologized to Swift onstage at the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards.
Kanye West earned a pretty penny through his different ventures, with a number of businesses and investments.
He has his own clothing line, Yeezy, which is estimated to be worth $1 billion. He also has stakes in various companies, such as the streaming service Tidal and the fashion label Adidas.
Kanye first found his roots in the sneaker industry with his Bape collaboration in 2007. The shoe sold out soon after release and currently re-sells for around $4000.
Seeing this grand success, Kanye began to devote more of his time to designing fashionable shoes.
In 2009, Kanye dropped his first Nike collaboration with the Air Yeezy 1. In just a few seconds, the shoe, which retailed at $215, completely sold out.
Shortly after, Kanye released a collaboration with fashion giant Louis Vuitton solidifying his name in the industry.
Kanye Leaves Nike for Adidas
According to West, Nike wasn’t paying him in royalties and was actually giving his profit to a charity of his choice. In frustration, Kanye left the sportswear juggernaut to join Adidas in 2013.
Here, he says he found more creative freedom and appropriate compensation. Due to Kanye’s remarkable negotiation skills, Adidas agreed to give a shocking 11% royalty on every pair sold.
Comparably, Michael Jordan receives 5% royalty from the Jordan brand sold at Nike.
Eventually, west transitioned the Yeezy Brand to other areas of fashion outside of sneakers.
He began to design collections of Yeezy clothing, including hoodies, pants, and jackets with a distressed combat aesthetic.
Kanye was initially mocked as the clothing appeared hyper-casual and not worth the hefty triple-digit price tags.
Similar to the past, Kanye shocked the world once again selling out all of his collections within seconds of release.
He would instantly sell out on surprise collections that were dropped without prior warning. It was at this point that Kanye would begin to be taken seriously as a fashion designer in the industry.
Yeezy Brand Struggles
Initially, the brand struggled financially, putting Kanye into immense debt in 2016.
Kanye was extremely devoted to the growth of his brand, investing mass amounts of money into its expansion.
The star even publicly tweeted at Mark Zuckerberg, asking for funding, after it was revealed he had over $50 million in debt.
In 2019, Bank of America valued the Yeezy brand at $3.3 billion, with Kanye being the sole owner. This roughly adds $1.03 billion to Kanye’s net worth, notably the largest share of his wealth.
Furthermore, Yeezy sales actually increased by 50% to $1.9 billion by the close of 2019. Kanye West leveraged his success and influence in music to help his vision in fashion come to life.
Kanye’s immense success in fashion can be credited to the law of modern attraction. The limited nature of both Yeezy shoes and clothing collections makes them valuable.
Many of the items reselling for multiples of their original retail price. We want what everyone else, and we want what we can’t get.
Partnership with GAP
Fulfilling one of his childhood dreams, Kanye inked a deal with the American retail giant GAP in 2020.
The 10-year contract is said to be worth $1 billion and will see the release of Yeezy Gap clothing for men, women, and children.
With this new venture, it is safe to say fashion is a very important part of Kanye’s career. Not only has it contributed to his $1.6 billion net worth, but it has also allowed him to pursue one of his lifelong dreams.
Kanye Terminates Partnership
Famous for his fickle nature, Kanye West shocked the world once again by terminating his partnership with GAP in September 2022.
It is unclear what this means for the Yeezy Gap clothing line that was intended to last 10 years and result in $1 billion in annual sales.
In a message to its employees, GAP President Mark Breitbard released the following statement on the end of the partnership.
“While we share a vision of bringing high-quality, trend-forward, utilitarian design to all people through unique omni experiences with Yeezy Gap, how we work together to deliver this vision is not aligned and we are deciding to wind down the partnership.”
Following the end of the partnership, Kanye also had the following to say about his relationship with the fashion brand.
“I won’t argue with people who are broker than me about money.”
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Who is richer, Kanye or Jay-Z?
Kanye West is richer. While both rappers are billionaires, Kanye West’s net worth is $1.6 billion while Jay-Z’s net worth is $1 billion.
Why is Kanye West so rich?
Kanye West’s net worth is largely due to his success in the music industry as well as his successful Yeezy fashion brand.
What is Kanye West’s net worth in 2022?
Kanye West’s net worth in 2022 is estimated to be $1.6 billion.
What is Kanye West’s height?
Kanye West is 5 feet 8 inches tall.
Are Kanye West and John Legend friends?
Kanye West and John Legend had been longtime friends until recently, when Legend disagreed with West’s support for then potential president, Donald Trump. The two have reportedly not been as close since.
Kanye West Net Worth 2023
As of May 2023, Kanye West has a net worth of $1.6 billion dollars.
Possibly the most exciting thing about Kanye West’s assets are the different ways they are split up.
The vast majority of his earnings come from his Yeezy clothing line and music sales. He also has significant real estate holdings.
As the founder of “Yeezy,” West is currently the richest rapper in the world. West’s fortune is over $3 billion higher than the second-richest rapper in the world, Jay-Z.
Kanye West’s real estate assets are impressive and include some high-profile properties. He paid $2.95 million for Monster Lake Ranch in Cody, Wyoming, in 2019.
West owns several homes in California, including a $9 million house in Hidden Hills and a $4 million condominium in Soho House West Hollywood. In Chicago, he owns a $2.2 million condo and a $4 million apartment.
Kanye also owns several pieces of commercial real estate. He paid $5 million for a office building on Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills in 2019. He also owns a clothing store in Calabasas, California, and a music studio in North Hollywood.
Kanye West’s real estate portfolio is valued at more than $100 million.
Kanye West was married to reality TV star Kim Kardashian from 2014-2021. The couple has four children together: North, Saint, Chicago, and Psalm.
In December 2020, it was revealed that the Kardashian-West family had agreed to sell a 20% stake in their company, KKW Beauty, for $200 million.
Controversy with Pete Davidson
From 2021-2022 Kanye West had a longstanding feud with comedian Pete Davidson when Davidson began dating Kim Kardashian, West’s ex-wife.
The two celebrities had multiple back-and-forth exchanges that had been highly publicized due to Kim Kardashian and Kanye’s immense fame.
It also resulted in a feud between Kanye and his longtime friend, Kid Cudi, due to Cudi’s friendship with the comedian.
Pete Davidson and Kim Kardashian officially broke things off in August 2022. The status of his feud with Ye since is unknown.
Social Media Presence
Kanye West is highly active on social media, maintaining an Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook account. He is known for his outspokenness, often sharing his political opinions and thoughts on current events.
West had been a vocal supporter of Donald Trump, which has resulted in criticism from many of his fans. He has also been open about his mental health issues, discussing his struggles with bipolar disorder and anxiety.
Overall, Kanye West’s social media presence is highly controversial but always interesting to follow. He’s most recently publicly posted documentation involving his former partnership with GAP to his 17 million followers on Instagram.
Now that you know what Kanye West’s net worth is and how he built it, let’s take a look at some of the most important lessons we can learn from his journey.
Take Calculated Risks
Kanye West dropped out of college at the age of 20 to the dismay of his mother who was a professor at the time.
Had Kanye not taken this risk, he might not have succeeded in music the way he did.
Leverage Your Strengths
From an early age, Kanye had a distinct ability to perform artistically. In every successful avenue of his life, he heavily leverages his artistic ability to win.
Even if you haven’t found your “specialty yet,” use this as motivation to keep trying new things until you eventually do.
Self-Confidence is Everything
Kanye’s biggest asset was arguably his self-confidence. Without confidence, he wouldn’t have released any of his at-the-time experimental albums or clothing lines.
Believe in your vision even if it feels like no one else does. If Kanye didn’t he would’ve never became one of the most successful musicians of all time.