Mere moments before his performance on Saturday Night Live and hours before his new album was available exclusively on Jay-Z and Beyoncé’s struggling streaming service TIDAL, Kanye West begged his 18 million Twitter followers to “Pray” that he “overcome” his massive debt obligations.
The tweet was the tail end of another headline-making Kanye West rant. Saturday’s screed saw the Grammy-winning rapper explaining the meaning behind the name of his eighth studio album, The Life of Pablo.
Last February (while also promoting new music), Kanye West claimed he was US$16 million in debt due to the launch of his clothing line.
“I was trying to play a sport that’s a billionaire sport. It’s not a millionaire sport and I’m proud of the debt,” West said at the time. “I don’t care about somebody’s Ghost (Phantom) or somebody’s house. I care about my vision.”
Given his history of sparking massive media frenzies before the release of a new product, it’s hard to know if Kanye’s debt claims are true.
The 38 year-old West made the claim on Twitter shortly before the highly-anticipated album premiered exclusively on Tidal and his website.
“I write this to you my brothers while still 53 million dollars in personal debt,” he tweeted. “Please pray we overcome… This is my true heart.”
The “Life of Pablo” album download, however, was taken down quickly Sunday after less than 12 hours online, with the rapper explaining that he’d given the exclusive stream to Tidal for another week before going on sale to other outlets — a sign that the multi-Grammy-winner was likely in dire straits.
After the “Life of Pablo” download link had disappeared, he wrote, “Please for all music lovers. Please subscribe to tidal!!! I decided not to sell my album for another week. Please subscribe to tidal.”
Tidal, the Jay-Z backed streaming service, recently paid Rihanna an undisclosed fee for her latest album, “Anti,” though the February release was bungled when someone inside her camp leaked it online. Samsung reportedly paid $25 million to be a part of the campaign.
West, who’s married to reality TV star Kim Kardashian, has been putting tens of millions into his fashion label. According to Business Insider, his latest clothing line is selling high-end coats and jackets for as much as US$3,000 to US$4,000. The Kanye sweatpants alone cost US$510.
In a 2015 interview with BET, the controversial rapper said he incurred US$16 million in debt from his fashion business.
“I was trying to play a sport that’s a billionaire sport. It’s not a millionaire sport and I’m proud of the debt,” he boasted.
West, on Sunday morning, asked Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerburg to invest US$1 billion in his ideas because he is “the greatest living artist and the greatest artist of all time.” (Excerpts from variety.com, breitbartnews.com)