Kanye West doesn’t do anything halfway. The YEEZY founder has finally taken his respective beefs with business partners adidas and GAP to the logical endpoint: he’s announced plans to leave both companies when each one’s YEEZY contracts end.
The announcement, spontaneously issued on September 12, reflects a side of Ye that’s all too familiar to anyone who’s kept up with Ye’s shenanigans over the past several months.
Ye perceives a transgression, blows up his personal Instagram page with accusations, and deletes everything while his foes are publicly silent. Maybe they’re cowed into submission, maybe they’re too mature or professional to engage in blatant mudslinging.
Either way, these things normally work themselves out in behind-the-scenes group messages so we rarely see what, if anything, comes of it all.
Kanye rarely does interviews or speaks to the media about his hijinks but made an exception for Bloomberg, to whom he explained his rationale for leaving adidas and GAP.
“I made the companies money. The companies made me money,” Ye said.
“We created ideas that will change apparel forever, like the Round Jacket, the Foam Runner, the slides that have changed the shoe industry. Now it’s time for Ye to make the new industry. No more companies standing in between me and the audience.”
Considering Kanye’s immense, loyal following, it’s not so surprising that he’d eventually go independent.
The seeds of his latest move were planted earlier this summer, when the first official YEEZY Instagram account suddenly appeared, blue check and all.
To this day, it’s only ever posted YEEZY GAP content and campaigns, shying away from any of the assertions made on Kanye’s personal Instagram account.
YEEZY’s new social media page made no mention of corporate partners adidas or GAP.
Later, Ye announced that YEEZY would soon open a standalone store in Atlanta, presumably the first of several YZY SPLY outposts to come.
Even as YEEZY GAP was launching in-store for the first time, Kanye continued to bite the hands that fed him.
He called out adidas for holding YEEZY DAY 2022 without his consent and chafed against GAP for perceived imitation of YEEZY GAP designs, swiftly uploading and deleting callout posts on his Instagram account throughout August and September 2022.
In his recent interview, Kanye touched on his corporate frustrations.
“No one should be held in that position where people can steal from them and say we’re just paying you to shut up,” he said. “That destroys innovation. That destroys creativity. That’s what destroyed Nikola Tesla.”
I have to wonder if that latter line is Kanye parroting some talking point fed to him by pal Elon Musk, considering the reality of Nikola Tesla. But whatever.
Kanye’s adidas and GAP beef came to a head on September 6, when Kanye posted a flurry of personal attacks, claims, and even the occasional product leak on his Instagram account, which has all been deleted since.
I don’t think it’s unfair to assume that the machinations of Ye’s plan to leave adidas and GAP were long in motion already but, by controlling the narrative on his Instagram page, he amplifies the splashiness of the news.
Considering how much time we’ve collectively spent covering his outbursts, I’d say he was quite successful.