Kanye West is an interesting celebrity who has had his hand in nearly every industry.
Although he may be best known for his outbursts and strange musical and business decisions these days, he has a history of creating music and finding the next greatest musician.
West has led an interesting life that was heavily influenced by his mother, with whom he spent most of his childhood.
Was Kanye West Born Rich? (Explained)
No, Kanye West was not born rich, but he was the perfect example of a middle-class child.
His mother was a teacher who taught in the United States and later joined the Board of Education.
His father was a photojournalist for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Before Kanye West was even born, Donda West was working as a schoolteacher.
When Kanye West was only 10 years old, his mother decided to go teach English in China and brought young West with her.
This experience resonated deeply with the Wests and gave Kanye appreciation for other cultures, like the one he experienced in China.
Through the experiences that Dr. Donda West had during her time in the teacher exchange project, she was able to become chairwoman of Chicago State University’s English department.
When Kanye West began to enter the world of music as one of the most talented hip-hop artists in Chicago, Donda West became her son’s manager.
Having a passion for the literary arts, Donda West would later write about being her son’s manager called Raising Kanye: Life Lessons from the Mother of a Hip-Hop Superstar.
Donda West accompanied Kanye everywhere he went around the world, in the same way that they had done when Kanye West was just a child. It was rare for the young rapper to be seen without his mother.
Things took a drastic turn for Kanye West when his mother passed away from pre-existing coronary artery disease, which also brought on multiple other postoperative complications.
She had gone under in order to have liposuction and mammoplasty done.
Despite how close the pair were, Kanye West only took 12 days off in order to mourn his mother.
At his concerts after her passing, West would sing his song Hey Mama and Journey’s Don’t Stop Believin’.
His Early Music Career
The first album that Kanye West released was The College Dropout in 2004, which was produced by Roc-A-Fella Records.
The College Dropout sold 441,000 copies within the first week of its release.
The following year, Def Jam records helped West release his second album Late Registration in 2005.
Late Registration had sold 860,000 copies in the first week alone and took the number one spot on Billboard’s album charts.
In 2006, Kanye West took a short break from writing new music to look back at the songs that he had already written on a new album called Late Orchestration.
Since he had more money to invest into his music, Kanye West decided to feature a 17-piece, all-female orchestra to re-do songs from The College Dropout and Late Registration.
Returning to work with Roc-A-Fella Records once more, Kanye West created Graduation in 2007.
Graduation had one of the best opening weeks out of all of his albums and was able to sell 957,000 copies in the first week.
The year 2008 was a year of recovery for Kanye West who had lost his mother and broken up with his fiancée.
Using the emotions that he was feeling at that time, West created 808s & Heartbreaks.
This album had songs like Heartless, Paranoid, and Love Lockdown.
Produced by both Roc-A-Fella and Def Jam Records, n the first week, 808s & Heartbreaks was able to sell more than 450,000 copies.
For the first time in his career, Kanye West didn’t release an album for over a year in 2009.
His sixth album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, was released on November 22nd, 2010.
It sold 496,000 within the first week of its release.
While many of Kanye West’s early music identified West, his later works were often stranger and more experimental.
Later In His Musical Career
By the early 2010s, Kanye West was known by everyone, whether they were fans of hip-hop or not.
The musical genius, who was once seen as one of the most influential musicians of the time, was beginning to have more outbursts and popped up in the news for everything but his music.
West had quite well with his 2010 release, but 2011 brought a collaboration between Kanye West and Jay-Z called Watch the Throne.
This album sold 436,000 copies in the first week and was produced by three different record labels, including Roc-A-Fella, Def Jam, and Roc Nation.
On July 18th of 2013, Kanye West released Yeezus, which would later bring him many profitable brand deals.
Although he sold only 327,000 copies of this album in the first week, the brand deals he made more than made up for the lower album sale records.
Life of Pablo was released on February 14th of 2016.
For the first week of its release, it was only available on the digital music store Tidal.
Despite only being sold in one location, West still managed to sell 90,000 copies of Life of Pablo.
On June 1st of 2018, Kanye West released Ye and sold 208,000 copies of the album.
This album spoke more about Kanye West’s relationship with mental health and the rollercoaster of emotions that it sent him on.
A week after releasing Ye, West teamed up with Kid Cudi to release the album Kids See Ghosts.
Continuing the downward trend in album sales, this album only sold 142,000 copies and was produced by Wicked Awesome, G.O.O.D., and Def Jam Records.
Kanye West released his gospel album Jesus is King on October 25th, 2019.
Kanye West’s most recent work is Donda, which sold 309,000 copies in the first week alone.
Founding G.O.O.D. Music
Kanye West knew that he wanted more control over his music from the very beginning of his career.
While creating his first album College Dropout alongside Sony, West also founded G.O.O.D. Music in 2004.
Although it was a lot for the new rapper to handle, West has never been one to turn an opportunity down because it is too difficult.
It’s his ability to conquer anything that life threw at him that made him the perfect candidate for their own record label.
G.O.O.D. stands for Getting Out Our Dreams, which is exactly what West has been hoping to achieve with the label for the past two decades.
The first musicians added to Kanye West’s record label were Common and John Legend.
The three claimed to have collaborated quite well thanks to their unique strengths.
John Legend brought an unmatched singing voice that could do whatever he put his mind to.
Kanye West was an excellent producer and storyteller. Meanwhile, Common often acted as the voice of reason, or a wise old man.
Common claims that Kanye West is an excellent visionary and is willing to get the job done all for the love of music, often doing jobs before he even gets paid.
In later years of Getting Out Our Dreams records, fellow rappers GLC, Mos Def, and Consequence would all join West’s label.
In 2016, West managed to sign Tyga and the rap group Migos to G.O.O.D. records during a pop-up show at the fashion show for his shoes, Yeezys.
Tyga and West spent a lot of time together through their partners.
However, the lineup has changed since Getting Out Our Dreams records first started.
The current recording artists for the label now include Q-Tip, Pusha T, and Big Sean.
Kanye West first created Yeezys with help from Louis Vuitton in order to create a shoe that changed the public perception of sneakers forever.
Thanks to the brand recognition that came with Louis Vuitton clothing, these sneakers made wearing highly expensive sneakers a viable option for formal events.
It was only shortly after Kanye West had released his third album, Louis Vuitton and West released the “Louis Vuitton Don”.
After the release of the first shoe, West decided to release a line of high-end sneakers that were more affordable for rookie sneakerheads.
In 2009, West and Nike Air released the “Blink”, “Zen Grey”, and “Net Tan”.
Each shoe shared the same fabric pattern and the same price of $250.
In 2012, Kanye West came out with the latest design of Yeezys, which included “Solar Red” and “Pure Platinum”.
Two years later, West would release “Red October”.
These were the last Yeezys made with Nike Air because West took a $10 million deal with Adidas to create more shoes.
Up to this point, most of the Yeezys shared a similar shape of high-top shoe.
West was looking to diversify the type of shoes he designed in 2015 when he released “Turtledove”, “Pirate Black”, “Moonrock”, and “Oxford Tan”.
These shoes were all low-topped shoes that cost $200, which was $50 less than what his previous shoes had sold for.
Later that same year, West and Adidas wanted to sell some higher quality high tops with a design unlike any Yeezys that came before.
The Yeezy “Boost 750s” came in black and light brown and cost $350, which was $100 more than any previous shoe.
Looking to diversify his shoe line even further, West created his own line of boots in 2015.
The final line of Yeezy shoes was released in 2016.
Becoming A Fatburger Franchisee
Fatburger was an important part of Chicago’s history and was enjoyed by many of the biggest rappers in history, including Ice Cube and Notorious B.I.G.
When the people of Chicago had heard the news, many of them were excited to go get their favorite burger with a side of fries and one of their legendary milkshakes.
West wasn’t the only celebrity to own a franchise of this chain.
Pharrell, Montel Williams, Janet Jackson, and Magic Johnson all own their own Fatburger locations.
In 2007, Kanye West signed a deal to open 10 different Fatburger locations, but he only ended up opening two out of the 10.
However, West eventually had to shut both of them down, with Fatburger buying back one of the franchises.
Although West had high hopes for the restaurants, he had other career choices that were calling his name.
West’s manager, Gee Roberson, explained that West wants to be known for more than just his music.
West sees himself as a designer of sound, clothes, shoes, and cologne.
Starting Yeezy Home
In 2018, Kanye West took to Twitter to announce that he was expanding his designing efforts into architectural design.
In the same post, he asked for architects who want to make the world a better place to apply with the company.
Although his post may have seemed to be out of the blue, Kanye West has had a long-standing interest in architecture.
In 2013, he went to Harvard University in order to deliver a manifesto on architecture.
He had worked with five different architects in order to write his manifesto.
On his way to a show in Boston, West stopped at the Ivy League school to give his speech where he spoke about the importance and power of design.
Kanye West was trying to create affordable, yet fashionable prefabricated houses that were completely made of cement.
While Kanye West takes credit for some of the design, he also worked alongside Petra Kustrin, Nejc Škufca, and Vadik Marmeladov.
The house designs are simple and allow for plenty of windows to let in natural light.
This means that it’s easier and cheaper to put these houses together for the communities that need them most.
When Kanye West told the Harvard students that “the world could be saved through design”, these were the kinds of designs that West had talked about.
He used the resources he had to attempt to improve accessible and affordable housing for the homeless.
Running For President
We all know that 2020 was a strange year for everyone, but it was especially odd for Kanye West.
While West has never been afraid to talk about his ideals and what he believes, nobody could have ever imagined that the rapper and designer would attempt to run for president.
Kanye West does have an incredibly loyal fan base that is ready to support whatever West creates next, so he knew that he could get at least some votes.
The largest problems with Kanye West’s presidential runs were that he was incredibly late signing up and registering for his party and only made a singular campaign appearance.
West originally announced his presidential campaign on Twitter, which nobody took seriously at first because West was known for making outlandish posts.
He also waited until July before he decided to run in a presidential election that was being held in less than half of a year.
West also created two different political advertisements for his campaign, but no one is certain if they ever played anywhere other than where West posted them.
Whenever asked about their campaign plan, his campaign team declined to answer.
In multiple states, Kanye West had to pay thousands of dollars in fees to have his name put onto the ballot as an independent, even though West claimed that he was a part of the “Birthday Party”.
In the end, West still managed to pull in 60,000 votes across the nation that was eager to discover who would be president for the next four years.
Some people claimed that what West had done undermined the importance of running for president, but West was only getting started with his wild behavior.
Despite his loss, Kanye West proved that he has the determination to attempt any goal he sets his mind to.
Marrying And Divorcing Kim Kardashian
Everyone could see the divorce between Kim Kardashian and Kanye West coming when West demanded that they lived in separate locations across the country.
While that played a role in why Kim Kardashian decided to divorce the rapper and designer, it wasn’t the only reason that she decided to leave.
After all of the struggles with Kanye West’s mental health, Kim Kardashian placed herself in therapy in order to help her cope with the emotional turmoil.
Seeing herself as more of a logical person, Kardashian never thought she’d ever find herself in a therapist’s office.
Kardashian was turning 40 and wanted to make the goal of simply being happy for the majority of her life rather than hustle and struggle through whatever life was throwing at her.
She wanted to spend her life by someone’s side, but Kanye West had no interest in being there.
So far, the divorce has cost $2.1 billion because of both their high net worth. Kanye has about $1.3 billion, but most of his assets are in his apparel company Yeezys.
Kim Kardashian is worth $780 million, with the majority of her money coming from the Kardashian brand.
Since Kanye West completely owns his $1.26 billion shoe brand, he receives 11% of Yeezy’s annual revenue.
Kim Kardashian owns 72% of her makeup brand KKW Beauty brand, which is worth about $500 million.
Together, the former couple has $70 million in joint assets, which include their California mansion, a condo in Miami, and their two ranches in Wyoming.
They also have about $5 million in art, $4 million in vehicles, $3.2 in jewelry, and $300,000 in livestock.
Luckily, they both agreed to sign a prenuptial agreement in order to make the divorce easier as far as their assets were concerned.
The Future For Kanye West
Nobody is ever quite certain what Kanye West is going to do next, himself included.
The only thing that anyone can be certain of when it comes to Kanye is that is going to do something unforgettable.
Whether he’s running for president or creating a track on his album that only consists of his late mother’s name, West is always going to give reporters something to write about that is nothing like they’ve ever written before.
Kanye West is capable of creating songs and music that is soulful and honest from the heart.
Even in the music industry, West has proven that he can take on an array of roles.
His work as a producer for Getting Out Our Dreams Records is always filled with passion and artistry, whether it’s one of his own tracks or a track for a friend.
As a designer, West has excelled at taking all aspects of life and turning them into art.
While Kanye West is walking a path unlike any other person before him, he has the confidence and determination to use art and design to make the world a better place.
Was Kanye West Born rich? ›
Kanye West worked hard to become the self-made man that he is today. He was not born rich.How did Kanye West get money? ›
One of the world's wealthiest entertainers, Kanye West is worth an estimated $1.8 billion—but only a fraction of that is from his music. The bulk of West's fortune—$1.5 billion—is from his popular sneaker brand, Yeezy, which he owns in its entirety.What rapper grew up poor? ›
Jay Z - Before he was a businessman with an empire at his feet, Jay Z was another poor kid from Marcy Housing Projects in Brooklyn raised by a single mother and involved in crime.What rappers are from wealthy backgrounds? ›
Some of your favorites like Lil Wayne, B.I.G., Jay Z, Nas, 50 Cent, and more have experienced this and have shared it through their music.How much was the debt Kim paid for Kanye? ›
Kanye West was in debt of about $52million and everyone forgot and ignored him. His wife Kim created a game called Kimoji that generated $80 million. She transferred $52 million into his account and cleared up his debts. Today Kanye worth is about $1.3 billion.What did Kanye West do to become a billionaire? ›
Kanye achieved his riches and wealth through brand endorsements and his own clothing line called “Yeezy”. Kanye's association with Adidas was worth billions, which increased his earnings manifold.Who is richer Jay Z or Kanye West? ›
Jay-Z was the first rapper to cross the billion-dollar net worth mark, and he was the richest rapper in the world up until April 2020, when Kanye took the #1 spot. As of February 2023, Jay-Z's net worth is roughly $1.3 billion.Who was the first rapper Millionaire? ›
Yes, Jay-Z Made History As Hip-Hop's First Billionaire — But How'd He Get There? - AfroTech.Who was the first black rapper? ›
Blow's musical legacy is without question. Born Kurtis Walker in 1959, Blow, who turns 60 on Aug. 9, was the first rapper to sign with a major label and the first to become a mainstream star.Who was the first black rapper in history? ›
One of the first rappers at the beginning of the hip hop period, at the end of the 1970s, was also hip hop's first DJ, DJ Kool Herc. Herc, a Jamaican immigrant, started delivering simple raps at his parties, which some claim were inspired by the Jamaican tradition of toasting.
Who are the 3 biggest rappers? ›
Jay-Z topped the list, followed by Kendrick Lamar, Nas, Tupac Shakur and Eminem. Rounding out the top 10 are Notorious B.I.G., Lil Wayne, Drake, Snoop Dogg and Nicki Minaj, naming the “Starships” hitmaker the best female rapper.Who is the most legendary rapper? ›
- #1 Jay-Z.
- #2 Lil Wayne.
- #3 Kanye West.
- #4 Kendrick Lamar.
- #5 Notorious B.I.G.
- #6 Tupac Shakur.
- #7 Dr. Dre.
- #8 Snoop Dogg.
- MISSY ELLIOT. Jesswar: I love every element of Missy's artistry from the tracks to the video clips. ...
- KENDRICK LAMAR. ...
- EMINEM. ...
- ICE CUBE. ...
- J. ...
- LIL WAYNE. ...
- LAURYN HILL. ...
He has been a billionaire since 2020, with his Yeezy-Adidas deal accounting for $1.5 billion of his net worth, according to Forbes estimates. Without Adidas, West's net worth is “only” $400 million.Was Kim Kardashian Born rich? ›
Yes. Kim Kardashian was born into a wealthy family. Her father, Robert Kardashian, was a prominent attorney with a net worth in the tens of millions.Did Kanye grow up with his dad? ›
Even though Kanye was primarily raised by his mother and was extremely close to her, he spent summers with his dad in Atlanta and always maintained that his father helped take care of them despite their money woes.How did the Kardashians originally get rich? ›
Kardashian eventually channeled her love for reselling to help build a retail business model. In 2006, Kim Kardashian and her sisters, Kourtney and Khloé, opened their first DASH store in their hometown of Calabasas, California.Where did the Kardashian girls get all their money? ›
Kim Kardashian West is a multi-millionaire thanks to her own beauty line, perfumes and her "kimojis"; Kendall Jenner is an international fashion model; Khloe Kardashian has her own jeans business Good American and eldest sister Kourtney Kardashian has benefitted from product endorsements and collaborations with fashion ...Why is the Kardashian family so rich? ›
Of course, the family has its well-publicized business ventures: Skims and Good American, as well as their beauty lines like SKKN and Kylie Cosmetics are reportedly thriving. But even with their now extreme wealth, the Kardashian-Jenner businesswomen have some bizarre ways to make sure the money keeps coming in.How much money does Kanye West have? ›
Kanye West will now have to pay $200,000 to Kim Kardashian every month and he will also bear the expenses of children's education along with with Kim. Kanye West's net worth in 2023 is around $400 million.
What ethnicity is Kanye West? ›
Kanye Omari West was born at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia. He was from a middle-class African-American family. He moved with his mother to Chicago, Illinois when he was three years old. During the same time, his mother and father divorced.Is Donda based on Kanye's mom? ›
On January 5, 2012, Kanye announced his establishment of the creative content company DONDA, named after his mother. Kanye also named his tenth studio album, released in 2021, Donda, after his mother. Kanye donated student tickets to Chicago State University for the listening session of the album.Who is the richest black rapper? ›
- Even in a year without a tour or album release, Jay-Z mints millions from his Armand de Brignac champagne and D'Usse cognac.
- The Brooklyn-born rapper was crowned hip-hop's first billionaire in 2019, thanks to a sprawling and diversified empire.
- Snoop Dogg's Net worth: $150 Million.
- Lil Wayne's Net Worth: $160 Million.
- Ice Cube's Net Worth: $160 Million.
- Ronald 'Slim' Williams' Net Worth: $170 Million.
- Drake's Net Worth: 180 million.
- Pharrell William's Net Worth: 200 million.
- Master P's Net Worth: $200 Million.
Kanye West is richer than Drake. Even though Drake is highly successful in recent years, Kanye West's business ventures made him wealthier.