Was it worth it?
The people who have been asking that question to Kanye West about his allegiance to Donald Trump finally got their answer on Wednesday after it was revealed that the troubled but talented artist accumulated personal wealth at a rate that’s unheard of during the former president’s only term in office.
Bloomberg published an article Wednesday tabulating Kanye’s assets and estimated his net worth at an eye-popping $6.6 billion. That would not only make Kanye the wealthiest Black American alive but also the wealthiest Black person in American history.
That huge net worth is due in no small part to his forays into corporate fashion with his own signature Yeezy line through Adidas as well as the Gap, both of which combined make up the bulk of Kanye’s net worth with a value of up to $4.7 billion.
By contrast, Kanye’s music catalog — the medium through which we all came to know the gifted musician — is worth a relatively minuscule $110 million.
What makes this financial accomplishment even more impressive is the fact that it really wasn’t that long ago when Kanye was broke. He was in the hole for $53 million of personal debt in 2016, chalking up his losses to spending gratuitously on failed business ventures like his Pastelle clothing line that never took off as well as a separate eponymous fashion label for women’s clothing.
Enter Donald Trump, who at the time was running for president. After Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg rebuffed a solicitation to invest $1 billion into the rapper’s “ideas,” Kanye jumped at his next best option: the MAGA movement.
His bipolar disorder aside, at the time, everybody thought he had lost his mind for trying to cozy up to Trump. But their mutually beneficial relationship flourished — and so did Kanye’s net worth, beginning the following year in Trump’s first full year in office when the president enacted his unfair tax cuts that greatly benefitted the wealthy.
It was likely through those tax cuts that Kanye was able to exponentially grow his net worth to such large proportions so quickly.
For perspective, Kanye’s net worth was estimated at $18 million in 2016. Now, just five years later, his net worth has ballooned nearly 37,000% to the $6.6 billion estimated by Bloomberg. The only people experiencing that type of wealth growth are seemingly billionaires, especially during the pandemic.
Once it became apparent that Trump was probably going to lose the 2020 election, Kanye severed ties with the president. The optics behind the break between them suggested that Kanye already got what he needed out of the deal — namely, getting out of debt and securing his financial status for life.
It also suggests that Kanye had ulterior motives when teaming up with Trump, something we’ve seen other rappers do, as well. Lil Wayne endorsed Trump’s campaign for re-election and got rewarded with a presidential pardon, for instance. But there’s been little talk about Trump from Wayne since.
Trump was a way to a means for Kanye, Wayne and so many others while everyday civilians were left to suffer the ramifications of their endorsements of such hatred.
This is America.