A modest proposal to help Mr. West find his way out of a staggering 53-million-dollar debt.
By Jeff Tracy for Five O’ Clock, a Harry’s Magazine
What Would Yeezus Do?
Let me begin by saying that I am a huge fan of your music. 2004’s The College Dropout is among the best debut albums of all-time, hip-hop or otherwise. The risks you’ve taken — most notably with your release of the unconventional 808s and Heartbreak — always seem to pay dividends, pushing you even further into the stratosphere of influential artists.
To wit, you’ve won 21 Grammys, have more platinum records than MJ has won championships, and catapulted Nicki Minaj’s career with perhaps one of the best rap verses of all time (seriously, thank you for that). And if Forbes has any validity as an earnings tracker, it seems you’ve made just a shade over $220 million over the last decade.
The success you’ve enjoyed in your career has been equal parts critical and commercial. That said, I’d be remiss to not ask how you’ve now found yourself in debt to the tune of $53 million?
Oh, right…Yeezy Season.
Look, I get it. You’re brilliant, filled with countless ideas that you work tirelessly to channel into manifestations of art…but have you looked at your clothing line? I mean, really looked at it? When you watched Zoolander, did you realize that Mugatu’s infamous Derelicte show was satirical commentary on the industry, not a blueprint for its future?
The $2,600 price tag on your “Destroyed Sweater”, described as a “drapey military sweater with distressed tears and canvas patches,” suggests no. While it’s been mercifully marked down to $1,820, that’s…still a bit much.
Look, I’m not trying to deliver your eugoogoly just yet. There’s still hope. Through all the flotsam and jetsam that adorned the Madison Square Garden stage at your #NYFW show last week, there was one beautiful little saving grace: the magnificent Yeezy Boost 350 sneaker.
You’ve released four styles in the past year and dropped the re-release of your gorgeous Pirate Black colorway just last Friday, all retailing for a (relatively) modest $200. Websites crash under the traffic from eager consumers desperately trying to get their hands on a pair. Within minutes of each launch, they’ve sold out.
Sure, to a certain degree exclusivity is an asset. If everyone who wanted the Yeezy Boosts could get the Yeezy Boosts, maybe they’d cease to be quite as cool as they are — but they’d still be pretty damn cool, and they might just be your ticket out of this financial mess. Seems to me you could probably make ten times as many pairs, sell out just as easily, and still leave people wanting more. Hell, you could raise the price by $50 or $100 and your demand wouldn’t change one bit.
Of course, I’m no expert. I’m a humble man with humble ideas, and there’s a sporting chance I may be way off base here. If all else fails — Kim Kardashian apparently made $52.5 million last year. I know she’s pretty hard to track down, but if you can get some face time with her, you just might be able to convince her to make an investment.
Originally published for Five O’ Clock, a Harry’s Magazine. Words by Jeff Tracy. Illustration by Emily Bernstein.