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Poor Kanye West: How can a man who sells $510 sweatpants need money?

Let me get this straight: A popular, talented, multi-tasking musician who should have plenty of money, is asking for a handout?

Kanye West, who claimed to be $53 million in debt, recently asked Mark Zuckerberg for $1 billion. He send the request on Twitter, which seems like an odd way to contact the founder of Facebook. (All figures in U.S.)

Forbes estimates that West earned $22-million just last year. Maybe he could ask his wife for a loan; Kim Kardashian reportedly made $52.5-million in the same year.

I ain’t saying he’s a gold digger, but…

Shouldn’t Kanye be rolling in the dough? The 38-year-old star is a top-selling recording artist with 21 Grammys. He has also been a music producer for other stars, has released eight albums, headlined at Coachella, performed and recorded with Paul McCartney and Rihanna, and had numerous hits on the Billboard charts.

Let’s take a look at some of this Renaissance man’s entrepreneurial ventures, and see if it adds up:

Music Producer

West started his music career as a producer and launched his label G.O.O.D. Music (Getting Out Our Dreams) in 2004. Now part of Def Jam Recordings, the label appears to be adding new talent to its roster under president and artist Pusha T, aka Terrence Thornton.

West headlined Glastonbury Festival in the U.K. The fees aren’t revealed, but when the Rolling Stones headlined the show in 2013, they received the normal performers’ fee for the show. “We get the headliners for a tenth of the normal price,’ organizer Michael Eavis explained to Metro.

It isn’t clear if the self-proclaimed “greatest living artist and greatest artist of all time” was paid more for his show.


From Kanye West’s fashion show at Madison Square Garden – Twitter


Earlier this month West presented both his fashion line, Yeezy Season Three, and a new album at Madison Square Garden in New York City during the city’s fashion week. The show consisted of 1,200 models (paid $100 each for the day) mostly standing still on stage while the new album played to the crowd, who paid $50 - $135 for tickets. Click here for the Season 3 look book, and Season 2, featured in Vogue. Season one sold out quickly, despite complaints of high prices. Available at select high-end retailers, prices ranged from $340 for a “thermal knit shirt” and $510 for sweatpants, to $3,510 for a parka.

West told a radio station that he wanted the clothes to be accessible — and that charging $350 was something the company did.

He has claimed that there were $16 million in startup costs and that the women’s line was $30-million in debt.


Nike Air Yeezy 2 – Nike


Nike Air Yeezys - the 2009 release of sneakers in three colour options sold out quickly at $215 per pair. In 2012, 5,000 pairs of Nike Air Yeezy 2 sneakers sold out within seconds for $245 per pair. Sounds lucrative, but Kanye says that Nike didn’t pay royalties, and so he teamed with Adidas to release the $350 Yeezy Boost 750 to registered buyers. A $200 model was introduced later in 2015.

He also created a line of shoes with high-end fashion line Louis Vuitton.


Restaurants: Owning a restaurant is a risky business, and even Kanye couldn’t make a go of it. Two of 10 proposed Fatburger chain restaurants were opened, and closed in about two years.

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