As Kanye West’s business partners back away, rapper buys right-wing social media platform
“Yeezus” is the first hip-hop album in eight years to be released digitally. And despite being nominated for six Grammys and winning four, the album’s success has not been universally positive. Its first single, “Yah Got Da Word,” generated 1.5 million YouTube views and was certified platinum. It debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Album Sales chart and remained on the chart for 14 weeks.
However, its popularity never truly translated to a strong sales or critical performance. A few critics have called it “an average album.” It doesn’t seem to have brought its label much revenue either, as “Yeezus” sold about half the copies of its predecessor, “Graduation,” the first album West released digitally. In 2012, “Yeezus” was sold in the equivalent of 20,000 fewer copies.
Despite this, West became a household name with an album that also became the new standard for hip-hop albums as a whole. He created an album, at first, that he wouldn’t want to listen to—a kind of music he would later say he wanted to hate. The production was minimal, the songs uninspired and there were many filler tracks with no real message. When he debuted the album alongside the song “Monster,” a parody of the Eminem hit “Rap God,” it became a sensation and was the record that put him on the map.
In interviews that followed, West said his primary goal was to make a “monster” of himself:
“No, not ‘I wanna be me, I wanna be the biggest rapper in the world,’” he said in an interview with The Atlantic. “I came up doing rap music, and this is a monster of my mind and a monster of my person. It’s the monster, or its own monster, that I created.”
Over a decade later, “Yeezus” has now received more than half-a-million dollars in royalties from sales of the album and, according to West, “the biggest income from music in history” ($250 million) when all royalties and earnings were taken into account. The money