Kanye West is wealthy again. The rapper/singer/songwriter who bottomed out three years ago—hospitalized with temporary psychosis while apparently $53 million in debt—is now on the cover of Forbes and crediting his comeback to an old love: sneakers. "I am a product guy at my core," West tells the magazine. "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." Indeed, his Yeezy shoe line, now with Adidas after launching with Nike in 2009, is expected to bank over $1.5 billion in 2019 and earned West $150 million pretax over the past year. And it's nothing new: West sketched sneakers back in middle school, he says, and first designed a shoe for a Japanese company in 2007.
Forbes gets into Kanye's shoe brilliance—how his Yeezy Boost 350s resemble Lamborghinis and sell out in calculated 40,000-pair drops—but his eccentricities also stand out. The floors of his stark LA home are made of a rare Belgian plaster that requires a crew to fly in from Europe if they get scuffed; he credits his creative imagination partly to bipolarity, which he calls a "superpower"; and he's designing structures based on Luke Skywalker's original home on Tatooine for the homeless to live in. He's savvy too, owning 100% of Yeezy and ranking third on Forbes' list of highest-paid celebrities behind only Taylor Swift ($185 million) and Kylie Jenner ($170 million), per CBS News. And the 42-year-old sees no end: "We've only experienced a small glimmer of light," he says. (Read the full article here.)