Kanye West claims to be $53 million in debt

2015 MTV Video Music Awards - Show

Kanye West isn't short on self-belief: what he apparently lacks is cash. The star tweeted that he has personal debts of $53 million (£35 million), and then tweeted Mark Zuckerberg in the hope he could persuade the tech billionaire to invest $1 billion in his brand.

Kanye's tweets had an unexpected tone. On Valentines Day he wrote "I write this to you my brothers while still 53 million dollars in personal debt... Please pray we overcome... This is my true heart..."

Then later that day he tweeted: "Mark Zuckerberg invest 1 billion dollars into Kanye West ideas", because "he is the greatest living artist and greatest artist of all time."

The following morning he tweeted: "Mark Zuckerberg I know it's your bday but can you please call me by 2mrw..." He continued: "Mark, I am publicly asking you for help". And "I'm this generation's Disney... I want to bring dope shit to the world."

The news of his 'debt' was unexpected - especially coming in the same week as the release of his new album, The Life of Pablo, and his massive Madison Garden fashion show. Social media lit up with questions as to how he could possibly owe so much money.

Really?

The answer, apparently, is that this isn't really debt. This is the personal fortune he has invested in his own companies - including his music and fashion lines. As TMZ reported, he isn't afraid to splash the cash in support of his creative projects. He actually paid for the creation of his first Yeezy trainers, and funded the building of the sets for his last tour.

He's not short of cash though, because while he's investing, he's also making money hand-over-fist. Forbes estimates that he made $22 million in 2015, $30 million in 2014 and $20 million in 2013.

Yesterday Kanye clarified his point - on Twitter again - saying: "Yes I am personally rich and I can buy furs and houses for my family", "but I need access to more money in order to bring more beautiful ideas to the world." "If I spent my money on my ideas I could not afford to take care of my family. I am in a place that so many artist end up." and "Also for anyone that has money they know the first rule is to use other people's money."

Really?

It's a new approach, and if it works, Kanye will have the last laugh. There are a few small signs he may not have thought it through entirely. First, Zuckerberg is fairly committed financially, solving major world problems. Second, he's not really put much effort into his tweets - for a start, Zuckerberg's birthday is in May. Finally, he chose Twitter to get in contact with the founder of Facebook, which may not have been the smartest move.

However, asking billionaires for cash is not the only option open to him. He could always bite the bullet and go on tour again - where the big money is for massive artists. He's only actually played 78 shows since the beginning of 2013, so he's missing a massive trick.

Alternatively, he could follow the well-trodden path of joining forces with a major corporate in order to fund his brand. If it worked for Diddy, it's not an impossible step for Kanye.

Plus, of course, he doesn't have to look far if he's on the hunt for someone a bit closer to home to foot any bills for a while - leaving him free to invest in the greatest artist of all time (that's himself of course). He and his wife Kim Kardashian reportedly keep their finances separate, but given that she made $53 million last year alone, he's fairly certain of keeping a roof over his head while he struggles to bring this generation's Disney to the world.

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Kanye West claims to be $53 million in debt
The richest man in the world is Bill Gates, with a fortune of $72.9 billion - up 16.2% in a year. His fortune is all the more impressive when you add in the fact that he has given away $28 billion - most of it to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Microsoft is now just a fifth of his fortune.
The Mexican telecoms magnate is still sitting on an incredible fortune of $65.5 billion - but this is actually $9.7 billion less than last December. He held the top spot for three years until it was regained by Gates, and now has interests ranging from mining to real estate - and even a stake in the New York Times.
The Spanish retail guru behind Zara is worth $61.9 billion - made from his 60% stake in the business. His company now also owns Massimo Dutti, Bershka and Pull and Bear.
The Investment genius known as the Sage of Omaha is now worth $58.2 billion. He still has no plans to retire at the age of 83. Last year he made $12.5 billion, and bought Heinz.
The man behind the Ikea brand is worth $50.3 billion. This finding differs dramatically from the net worth estimated by Forbes - who say that he demonstrated in 2011 that the majority of his economic stake had been transferred beyond his control decades ago and put his worth at $3.3 billion.
Their fortune (of $45.2 billion each) comes from the family business, Koch Industries (the second biggest company in the US), where Charles is CEO and David Executive Vice President. Both brothers invest 90% of everything they make into the business.

The technology firm Oracle has made its founder $41 billion. He is enjoying his money, investing in properties and his America's Cup team. He has also started donating enormous sums of money to his own medical foundation - which is working on reversing the effects of ageing.

The family behind the Wal-Mart brand has profited enormously, with Christy (daughter-in-law of founder Sam) worth $36.5 billion and Jim (son of the founder and pictured) worth $35.1 billion. Christy became the richest woman in the world after the death of her husband in a plane crash in 2005.
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