KEY POINTS

  • Kanye West is worth $1.8 billion, according to Forbes
  • This contradicts a Bloomberg estimate that put West's net worth at around $6.6 billion
  • His Yeezy sneakers continue to be his main source of wealth

Kanye West's music career and business ventures have put him among America’s wealthiest people. But is he the richest Black person in the country today?

The simple answer is no, according to Forbes. The "Gold Digger" hitmaker made headlines recently after multiple outlets reported that his net worth is now nearly $7 billion mainly due to his sneaker brand Yeezy, but a Forbes estimate claimed West is actually worth $1.8 billion.

So who is the richest Black person in the U.S. if not West? That honor, per Forbes, goes to investor Robert F. Smith, the founder, chairman and CEO of private equity firm Vista Equity Partners, who has an estimated net worth of $6 billion.

Nigeria’s Aliko Dangote, who is estimated to be worth $11.8 billion, remains the world's wealthiest Black person, according to the magazine. He owns 85% of publicly-traded Dangote Cement, the largest cement producer in Africa that produces 45.6 million metric tons a year and ships to 10 nations in the continent.

This comes after a Bloomberg report, citing estimates from investment bank UBS, put West's net worth above Smith's at $6.6 billion. 

UBS valued West's Yeezy clothing and shoe deal with Adidas and Gap at $3.2 billion to $4.7 billion. Bloomberg also estimated that the rapper has $122 million in cash or stock, a music catalog worth $110 million and $1.7 billion in other investments.

Yeezy's Adidas sneakers saw a 31% increase in sales in 2020 despite the pandemic, per Bloomberg. West received $191 million in royalties last year from the shoes' $1.7 billion revenue. The drop of Yeezy's latest product, the 450 in Cloud White, is a great example of the brand's strength. It was announced sold out just a minute after its launch.

Unlike Bloomberg, however, Forbes said Yeezy is worth $1.5 billion but did not mention a value prediction for the Yeezy-Gap collaboration as it has yet to launch. The rest of the outlet's estimate of West's net worth is composed of his cash and other assets ($160 million), Skims stake ($64 million) and music earnings ($90 million).

West's real estate portfolio is reportedly worth over $100 million and includes homes in the Los Angeles area and ranches in Wyoming. Further, he has a massive jewelry collection amounting to $7.6 million, a $5 million vehicle collection and a million dollars worth of livestock.  

But though the title of richest person in America may still be far away for West, it's likely that his fortune will continue to grow if his brand remains strong. The first half of the Yeezy and Gap collection is set to launch this summer.

Kanye West meets Donald Trump in October 2018 in the White House -- the "born again" Christian rapper has reportedly banned his campaign team from "fornication Kanye West meets Donald Trump in October 2018 in the White House -- the "born again" Christian rapper has reportedly banned his campaign team from "fornication" Photo: AFP / SAUL LOEB