After his musical success, the Yeezy zeitgeist, the Kardashian partnership, and his very own church, Kanye West has taken his enormous ego into real estate. Since this is Kanye we're talking about, of course it isn't just the buying and selling of mansions like most celebrities. It's a whole lot bigger—or at least, that's what Kanye says.
It started last April in an interview with Charlemagne tha God, when Kanye revealed his purchase of 300 acres of land in Calabasas, California, on which he hoped to build his "first community" made up of five properties. "I’m going to be one of the biggest real-estate developers of all time, what Howard Hughes was to aircrafts and what Henry Ford was to cars, just the relationships I have with architects, my understanding of space and sacred proportions, just this new vibe, this new energy," Kanye said. "We gonna develop cities."
The newest update came with a Forbes cover story earlier this month. Per Forbes' report, Kanye and his team are creating "prefabricated structures" inspired by the Star Wars planet of Tattooine. West hopes to develop them as "low-income housing units" or "living spaces for the homeless." Other than Forbes' visit, West's project has been fairly secretive—until now.
Earlier today, TMZ released images of 50-foot dome-like structures on West's property. (It's not the first time the rapper has fixated on domes: in January, he pulled out of this year's Coachella after the festival refused to build a giant dome just for his performance.) Construction is in an early state, but ultimately, the rapper hopes the homes will "break the barriers that separate classes," sources close to the project allegedly told TMZ, "namely, the rich, the middle class, and the poor."
To this we must say: what??? It all feels a little rich, given that the location of Kanye's idyllic development isn't far from the home he shares with Kim—a house that Kris Jenner has stated is valued at $60 million after the couple's renovations, despite Kanye's own claims that he's "tired" of mansions. It's also worth noting that Calabasas is an affluent suburb, known mostly for its celebrity residents like Miley Cyrus, the entire Kardashian crew, Jake Paul, and Drake. Its median household income is $114,143, according to the Census Bureau; Manhattan's, by comparison, is $79,781, and Detroit's, meanwhile, is $27,838.
All of this is to say that if Kanye—with an estimated net worth of $240 million—really wanted to make an impact on class divides in the United States or housing for the homeless, there are many other ways he could spend his money instead. Financial support for organizations already doing that legwork seems far more practical than a Star Wars-esque compound centered on "sacred proportions" and "vibes."