How Kanye West Went From $53 Million in Debt to Billionaire

Miles Opton

Flashback five years... Kanye West was releasing The Life of Pablo and tweeting that he had “53 million dollars in personal debt." That statistic felt unbelievable given the major success of the rapper, producer, and entrepreneur. Not to mention, Kanye was married to Kim Kardashian, one of the wealthiest women in the world.

Five years and countless curveballs later, Kanye has not only paid that debt off, but created a newly reported net worth of approximately $6.6 billion, which, if correct, would make him the wealthiest black man in US history. Let’s break down this astonishing figure together:

YEEZY: According to Bloomberg, Kanye’s streetwear company, YEEZY, is valued between $3.2 billion and $4.7 billion, which Kanye has complete ownership of. After reviewing his private documents, Bloomberg also reports that the recently secured Yeezy + Gap Partnership, which will hit stores this summer, could be worth as much as $970 million of that total.

Cash: Ye is also reported to have $122 million in cash and stocks.

Music: Kanye’s critically acclaimed music catalogue has secured him approximately $110 million.

Other investments: Lastly, Kanye is reported to have $1.7 billion invested in other assets. This includes a large investment in his ex-wife, Kim Kardashian’s, shapewear brand, SKIMS.

Adding all of these together, we get the rappers monumental new net worth – an incredible feat for someone who was just added to Forbes’ billionaire list less than 12 months ago.

**Update** This new figure is being disputed by Forbes’ staff writer Madeline Berg. She has stated Forbes’ now believes West is closer to a $1.8 billion valuation, due to the notion that the approximated $6+ billion worth was based on future revenue streams and nothing tangible. Berg goes on to say, “West’s wildly optimistic approach to his net worth mirrors the approach used by Donald Trump, who insists the value of his name be included in any net worth estimate. Trump, who we value at $2.5 billion, says his brand has an intrinsic value, regardless of actual revenue. West and his camp are making a similar argument for businesses attached to the Yeezy name.” The full article estimates the Yeezy Gap deal at $0 due to the fact that no clothes have been available for purchase yet.

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