You can ask almost anyone if they know who Kanye West is, and almost all of them will say “yes”. That percentage gets higher and higher the further you get below age 60.
He’s one of the most successful rappers in the world, with a net worth of well over 1 billion USD. I have to admit that even I was surprised to learn that Kanye is a billionaire.
Beyond his name and knowing that he makes music, though, there may be a lot of people who don’t know much more about Ye – where he came from, how he became a billionaire or the kind of music that’s on any one of his nine studio albums.
They may not know that he had a hard time being accepted as a rapper at first, or that he’s got multiple fashion lines, or that he’s made plans for a “Yeezy Home” – that’s right, a house. There’s always more to learn about our favorite artists, and I can’t think of many better examples than Ye.
Let’s take a closer look at the man who was born as Kanye Omari West.
Kanye West Net Worth: Est. 1.3 billion USD (April 2020)
Alias: Kanye, Ye, Yeezy
Occupations: Rapper, Singer, Songwriter, Record Producer, Fashion Designer, Entrepreneur
Spouse: Kim Kardashian
Children: North West, Saint West, Psalm West, Chicago West
Every good success story has its roots. Before he was a billionaire, who was Kanye?
- Born in Atlanta, Georgia (USA) in June 1977
- Moved to Chicago, IL at age 3
- Began writing poetry at age 5
- Began rapping in 3rd grade
- Moved to China with his mother when he was 10
- Wrote first song (“Green Eggs and Ham”) at age 13
- Learned to sample and program beats when he was 15
- Initially attended college, but dropped out to pursue music
Putting in Work
Kanye started his music career full-on in 1996, at the age of 19. At first, though, he didn’t focus on rapping. It was through music production (making tracks and beats) that Kanye first started building his empire.
- Started making beats for some of Chicago’s local artists in 1996
- Joined management company “Hip Hop Since 1978” in 1998 – making beats that featured samples from old soul songs
- Kanye’s “big break” came in 2000 when he started producing tracks for Roc-A-Fella Records
- Started gaining clout with production credits on Jay Z’s “The Blueprint” in 2001
- Producers were reluctant to accept Ye as a rapper at first
- Roc-A-Fella Records finally signed him in 2002
- Released first mixtape “Get Well Soon…” in December 2002
As of May 2020, Kanye currently has 9 studio albums to his name. His discography started with his first album that was released all the way back in 2003 – 17 years ago.
Kanye’s songs are known for transcending genres and blending a unique mix of many different musical elements: hip hop, soul, R&B, and even gospel more recently. One thing you can say about the man: he’s definitely creative.
Here’s a quick look at Kanye’s discography:
- The College Dropout – 2004
- Late Registration – 2005
- Graduation – 2007
- 808s & Heartbreak – 2008
- My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy – 2010
- Watch the Throne – 2011
- Yeezus – 2013
- The Life of Pablo – 2016
- Ye – 2018
- Jesus is King – 2019
Kanye’s work doesn’t stop with the music; we know it’s hard to become a billionaire off music alone. So what else did he do to get to that status?
- Started “Pastelle Clothing” line in 2006, but canceled it in 2009
- Released “Air Yeezy” designer shoes with Nike in 2009 and 2012
- Collaborated with Luis Vuitton for a shoe line, released in Summer 2009
- Many other shoe lines through 2017
- Started “Kid’s Supply” clothing line with wife Kim Kardashian in 2017
Some of Kanye’s other ventures have included entrepreneurship/business, philanthropy, architecture, politics, and acting/filmmaking.
Sounds like Kanye has been a busy man for two decades now!
Achievements & Legacy
Love him or hate him, you can’t deny one thing: the man has earned dozens upon dozens of awards, and for good reason. Beyond his music, Kanye has become a cultural icon and has made movements in many communities. That kind of passion cannot be contained, and it shows in the rich diversity of his music. It shows in the large number of business ventures he’s made, and it shows in how active he remains in the community and society.
But most of all, it shows in his net worth. Becoming a millionaire takes an extraordinary amount of time and effort. It takes a smart head and a solid game plan.
Becoming a billionaire is on a whole other level. That takes the serious games, and no matter how you feel about Kanye, you have to give it to the man for making and handling his money.
Wonder if he has any “Yeezy Loan” companies..