Since arriving on the scene in the early 2000s, Kanye West has become one of the most prolific artists in hip-hop. His music has earned him universal praise and 21 Grammy Awards, and his forays into sneaker design have also resulted in success. According to Go Banking Rates, West has an estimated net worth of $145 million.
Recently, however, he has run into some financial turmoil with his longtime collaborator and former boss Jay-Z. The “Ultralight Beam” rapper claims that he was promised $3 million for a contract he signed with Tidal in 2015, and that Jay yet to pay up. According to TMZ, West’s lawyers have terminated his contract with Tidal, but the company refuses to recognize that termination.
As the legal battle between him and Jay-Z’s platform continues to unfold, here are five fast facts you need to know about Kanye West’s net worth in 2017.
1. He’s Sold Over 21 Million Albums Worldwide
Like most musicians, the majority of West’s net worth stems from his album sales. He has sold over 21 million albums worldwide, dating back to The College Dropout in 2004, which debuted at number two on the Billboard 200 and eventually went triple platinum in the United States.
West continued this success with his next albums Late Registration (2005) and Graduation (2007), as the latter spawned three top 10 Billboard singles and sold 957,000 copies its first week. As of 2013, the album has sold over 2,700,000 copies in the United States. West’s sound has gotten more experimental over the years, but 808s & Heartbreak (2008), My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (2010), Yeezus (2013) and The Life of Pablo (2016) have also debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 and been certified platinum.
Six of West’s singles have exceeded three million downloads each, including “Stronger” (2007), which remains one of the best-selling singles worldwide.
2. His Wife Kim Kardashian Has An Estimated Net Worth of $40 Million
West’s wife Kim Kardashian has an estimated net worth of $40 million. This brings their shared net worth to somewhere around $195 million. Kardashian has earned most of this by starring in the popular reality show Keeping Up with the Kardashians (2007-) and the Kim Kardashian: Hollywood app, which, according to Metro, has made up an estimated 40% of her income since 2014. Kardashian also profits from her enormous social media following and reportedly charges $10,000 per tweet for endorsing products.
West and Kardashian married in 2014, and have two children: North, 4, and Saint, 1. According to Daily Mail, they purchased their home in Hidden Hills, California for $20 million that same year. The three-acre estate comes with two pools, a library, an office, a game room, and eight bedrooms.
Go Banking Rate adds that West owns a 2017 Mercedes-Maybach, which starts at $191,300, and Kardashian has a Rolls-Royce Ghost, which costs around $300,000.
3. He Was Paid $10 Million to Collaborate With Adidas
West has been designing sneakers for the better part of a decade. His first partnership was with Nike to release the Nike Air 180 “College Dropout”, and their relationship lasted five years and three sneaker styles. Starting in 2013, however, West wanted royalties for his designs, and Nike’s refusal led to him taking his business elsewhere. He even released a Nike diss record, titled “Facts,” detailing the split. You can listen to it below.
Three years later, West signed a whopping $10 million deal with Adidas, one that was unparalleled in the company’s history up to that point. “Kanye is a true creator who has the ability to see things others don’t,” Adidas CMO Eric Liedtke told High Snobiety, “We are excited and honored to build on this partnership, and eagerly look forward to defining the future together.”
Since then, West’s influence has seemingly paid off. Yahoo Finance reports that Adidas sales have risen from to 6.3% to 11.3% in the past year, and many sneaker experts are accrediting this rise to West. It’s been referred to as the “Yeezy Effect.”
4. He Claimed That He Was $53 Million in Debt in 2016
Amidst a series of bizarre tweets last year, West claimed that he was $53 million in “personal debt.” The world was shocked, to say the least. But as the dust settled and the tweets were subsequently deleted, the truth began to come out. TMZ reports that while the number– $53 million– was correct, it wasn’t exactly “personal debt” that he was referring to.
Sources close to West claim that “Ye has invested in his own companies related to fashion and music. For instance, we’re told he’s sunk $40 million alone into 3 seasons worth of Yeezy fashion!” In addition to Yeezy season, TMZ reveals that West wasn’t paid for his initial sneaker design with Nike and that he spent thousands of dollars out-of-pocket to fund his 2012 short film Cruel Summer.
Business Insider affirms that since this money went into business ventures, if those companies default, West would not be held personally liable. It is worth noting that while he charted at number six on Forbes’ Hip-Hop Cash Kings List in 2014, he hasn’t cracked any subsequent lists.
5. He Faces a Potential Lawsuit if He Releases Music Outside of Tidal
TMZ reports that West doesn’t want to enter into any more exclusive album releases or contracts with Jay-Z’s streaming platform Tidal. He claims that his album The Life of Pablo brought in 1.5 million new subscribers for Tidal, for which he was supposed to be a bonus and was never paid. In addition, West claims that Tidal fell through on reimbursing him for music videos that were released exclusively on the platform.
Whenever he does release new material, he plans to make it available on as many music platforms as possible– directly opposing the Tidal agreement he made in 2015. In response to this, Tidal claims that West didn’t deliver the music videos required by the contract, and as far as they’re concerned, he still has an exclusive contract that will result in a lawsuit if broken. TMZ adds that if Tidal sues West, his legal team will sue them right back.
To further complicate matters, West was dissed on a verse from Jay-Z’s latest album 4:44: “I know people backstab you, I feel bad too / But this f*** everybody attitude ain’t natural / But you ain’t the same, this ain’t KumbaYe / But you got hurt because you did cool by ‘Ye / You gave him 20 million without thinkin’ / He gave you 20 minutes on stage, f*** was he thinkin’? / ‘F*** wrong with everybody?’ is what you sayin’ / But if everybody’s crazy, you’re the one that’s insane.”