Kanye Omari West was born on June 8th, 1977, in Atlanta, Georgia. Although he briefly lived with his mother in China, South Central Chicago inspired his music and career. Although West won a scholarship to Chicago’s Academy of Art, he never finished opting to pursue his career in music. According to biography, the beginning of his career was as a producer. Over time he developed his style of music called “chipmunk soul” because it was an uptempo version of traditional soul music. In 2007, his mother passed away, leaving a lasting mark on West’s music. He named the album after her death 808 & Heartbreak and called it “pop art.” During this time, he turned away from the music that made him famous and even once said, “Hip hop is over for me.” The same year he won two Grammy’s for his collaborations on Estelle’s Ameican Boy and TIs Swagga Like Us. The following year his unstable behavior began at the MTV Video Music Awards. While at Radio City Music Hall, he interrupted Taylor Swift’s speech loudly, proclaiming Beyonce should have won the award, beginning a feud with the two artists.
Sneakers and legal issues
After the VMA meltdown, West took a break from music to focus on fashion lines, a project he’d been working on since 2006. West worked with labels like Nike on limited edition sneakers. There were rumors he interned with Fendi and Gap to further his fashion knowledge. In 2011, he debuted his collection on a Paris runway, although none of his designs were well received. In 2013, he tried again with Adidas, signing a 10 million dollar contract that launched his Yeezy collection. In 2017, Vogue editor Anna Wintour complimented his line feeling that he put more time and effort into it. On the other hand, West began to have more legal issues in several different aspects of his professional life. Additionally, his mental state was called into question numerous times.
According to Spin magazine, West’s Hollywood Bowl opera show employees sued him for unpaid wages totaling a million dollars. The same year he started an ill-fated presidential campaign which coincided with the first time the rapper voted in an election. In 2021, Kanye West lashed out during a legal deposition during a court case with MyChannel. The company’s lawsuit against West was based on an alleged breach of company data. The rapper defaulted on the contract. MyChannel alleged that he used their technology for his on Sunday Service merchandise. According to all hip hop, during the ten-minute deposition, West spewed expletives at attorney Michael Popok. He refused to look at him and even played with his phone while refusing to answer any questions. The interview culminated with West donning a mask of Jesus Christ, saying that the legal counsel didn’t deserve to see his face, and added another 63000 dollars to a lawsuit already totaling 20 million. After this lawsuit, another was filed. This time it,s Kanye West taking on one of the largest retail giants in the country.
According to the New York Post, on June 24th, 2021, Kanye West and Yeezy sneaker filed a lawsuit against Wal Mart. West’s brand cited that the retail conglomerate is selling knock-offs of his sneaker slides. Last year, Yeezy’s version drew unfavorable revises. Some even compared them to crocs. However, the strange shoes enjoyed a cult following and sold out, undoubtedly because Kayne West’s name was on them. Walmart’s alleged imitations retail for half the price of West’s Yeezy’s. Before the lawsuit, the company sent numerous complaints to Walmart asking them to take the shoes off their shelves. Since they didn’t, Yeezy took the complaint further and sued Walmart.
The lawsuit makes several allegations, including Walmart is using Yeezy’s success to add more profits to their bottom line. Additionally, West’s company feels that the knock-off shoes will cost his company over a 100 million. Further, they added customer comments about buying their children the less expensive shoes because of the similarity to the more expensive ones. Even though some parents have purchased these for their children and happily saved money, other retail consumers have had different experiences. Multiple reviews state that Walmart’s version is of poor quality and barely lasted outside the parking lot, another point of contention: West feels the poor quality will reflect on his brand, making people less likely to purchase his product. According to Business Insider, The foam slip ons sold out so quickly in 2019; they are still sold online for triple the retail value. Even though West does not see profits from third-party sales, he feels Walmart is using his success in both the rap and fashion industry to sell their version of shoes and driving down his earnings. He cited social media posts from Justin Beiber, Snoop Dogg, and his wife Kim Kardashian wearing the shoes creating desirability and added marketing. However, Walmart has a similar version at a discount cost encourages people to spend less on something that barely has a noticeable difference from the real Yeezy’s.
Currently, all parties are at a standstill. Adidas has yet to comment, and Walmart has said they looked into it but nothing else. Additionally, the retail giant is trying to eliminate blame by citing its third-party retailers selling the sneaker slides. However, the feud between West and Walmart doesn’t stop there. Aside from the Yeezy dispute, there is one additional piece of marketing the two are fighting over. Walmart has been using its “rays from the sun” logo for thirteen years. However, West wants to use a similar logo for his brand. Walmart is adamantly opposed because they feel the logo looks almost identical to theirs. Nonetheless, people closely aligned with Yeezy’s brand feel it’s crazy to think that the rapper is trying to capitalize off Walmart’s name since his brand sells at a higher price point. Either way, both companies continue to battle over trademarks and foam rubber sandals, each feeling that the other is infringing on their brands.