"Yeezy, the newest billion-dollar baby," Kanye West raps on Pusha T's "What Would Meek Do?" West covers the latest issue of Forbes, which released online Tuesday (July 9) and hits stands on Aug. 31, to discuss his lucrative Yeezy brand and the apparel empire he's created within the last four years.
Even through all of his endeavors and experimentation, Ye believes in creating products that make the world an easier place to navigate. “I am a product guy at my core," he says. "To make products that make people feel an immense amount of joy and solve issues and problems in their life, that’s the problem-solving that I love to do."
The Yeezy brand is expected to top $1.5 billion in sales by 2019's end, according to Forbes' estimation with the YEEZY Boost 350 V3 model on the way. The money magazine pegged West at $150 million as far as his pre-tax income over the last year, but his team believes that could be a lot higher, which landed him at No. 3 on Forbes' Celebrity 100 list.
West reflects on his position now by thinking back to publicly asking Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to invest $1 billion in his company and help bail him out of debt just a few years ago. “I’m just blessed through the grace of God to go from tweeting at Mark Zuckerberg [for money]," he says with a laugh. "People wondered, ‘Why did you tweet at Mark Zuckerberg?’ And I was like, ‘Hey, I heard he was looking for aliens.'"
Situations like the Zuckerberg exchange have seen people slap labels such as "crazy" on Kanye, which he's rapped about on tracks like "Feedback." With an elevated conversation surrounding mental illness taking place, he doesn't see that word remaining appropriate in conversation for much longer. "'Crazy’ is a word that’s not gonna be used loosely in the future,” he says. "Understand that this is actually a condition that people can end up in, be born into, driven into and go in and out. And there’s a lot of people that have been called that ‘C’ word that have ended up on this cover."
Through all of the recognition and gaudy sales stats, this is only scratching the surface of what West has planned for his Yeezy empire in the future. “We’ve yet to see all of the beauty that would be manifested through this partnership,” the Chicago native concludes. "We’ve only experienced a small glimmer of light.”
Read the profile in full on Forbes.