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Kanye West Comeback Success: How His Hit ‘Vulture 1’ Project Took Him From the Brink of Bankruptcy

Kanye West is enjoying success with the Feb. 9 release of his album “Vultures 1” alongside Ty Dolla $ign. However, he revealed in an interview with TMZ that just last year, he was on the brink of bankruptcy before his recent comeback. 

BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA – FEBRUARY 09: Kanye West attends the 2020 Vanity Fair Oscar Party hosted by Radhika Jones at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on February 09, 2020 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Rich Fury/VF20/Getty Images for Vanity Fair)

On Feb. 12, TMZ caught up with West at Los Angeles International Airport for an impromptu interview a day after Super Bowl 58. 

How West Marketed His New Music and Merch

Despite admitting he was just two months away from potential bankruptcy, the disgraced former billionaire expressed confidence in his comeback album, viewing it as a testament to his resilience against cancellation. 

It remains unclear whether the bankruptcy he referenced was personal or corporate, but he said, “I’mma just be honest with y’all: I was two months from going bankrupt.”

The release of his new “Vultures” album, “Vulture Volume 1,” coincides with the 20th anniversary of his “College Dropout” album, which dropped Feb. 10, 2004.

The rapper also is seeing a boost in sales of Yeezy products since the “Vultures” release and his 30-second advertisement that aired during the Super Bowl. The $7 million commercial featured him seated in his softly lit car, promoting his Yeezy brand website. The ad seemingly proved effective, with West claiming to have made $19 million in sales for his Yeezy T-shirts and Pods, both priced at $20, since the commercial ran.

The album also shot up to No. 1 on Spotify despite one track, “Good (Don’t Die),” being taken off the streaming platform on Feb. 14 over a dispute with the estate of Donna Summer over a music sample.

“Vultures 1” marks West’s first independent project since parting ways with Def Jam/Universal and other brands like Adidas following controversies and anti-Semitic remarks in late 2022. 

The track “Carnival” featuring Rich The Kid and Playboi Carti is gaining significant traction, topping the Spotify Global chart and earning the No. 1 spot on Billboard’s songs ranking list, Billboard reported.

West’s potential to achieve his 11th No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 remains high, as it was reported to have debuted at No. 1 on the chart with around 140,000 first-week sales, according to HITS Daily Double.

“I put everything I had into [Vultures Volume 1 and my business, YZY] and we moved to Italy,” West told TMZ on Monday. “We moved to the factories and we survived. We survived through the cancellation. We back No. 1.”

The TMZ interview also features West criticizing the music industry’s streaming structures; he pledges to advocate for fair treatment of artists. He evoked Taylor Swift without disparaging her.

Artists like West and Snoop Dogg have faced challenges adapting to streaming service payouts, leading them to seek success in alternative ventures to sustain their careers. Snoop Dogg, for example, said he earned only $45,000 from his one billion streams, highlighting the limitations of streaming revenue for some artists.

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