The sign of a true artist is one willing to sacrifice commerce for creation. By that measure, an artist that is $53M in debt must be the greatest artist of all time. I’m talking about you, Mr. West, an artist whose music I had miraculously failed to enjoy until three minutes ago, when I heard it for the first time. Clearly you are not prepared to make any sacrifices for your art. For that, I salute you.
Whether you raise $1B from Mark Zuckerberg or the “billionaires and hedge fund guys” who answered your call on Twitter, I propose you take your brand and vision far beyond music and fashion to a place decreasingly void of true genius: the automotive sector.
Visionaries currently lead just a handful of boutique manufacturers. Their attempts at fashion and music range from pathetic to non-existent. When was the last time you saw a Ferrari jacket worthy of the New York Fashion week runway? The closest thing to “music” coming out of the automotive sector is Lewis Hamilton. Oh wait. Jacques Villeneuve had an album once. Listen if you dare.
There are numerous business opportunities in the automotive sector, only one or two of which are being exploited by experts in self-promotion, and none of whom possess your marketing genius. Horacio Pagani? Christian Von Koenigsegg? Nobodies. Maybe you’ve heard of Elon Musk, but who cares? He’s a lousy dresser.
You’re Kanye West. Yeezy. MF’ing Kanye. Everyone has heard of you.
Art and business are diametrically opposed? These rookies don’t know. Here are seven automotive ventures in which to invest your next billion. Profitability? Secondary. Diversifying your brand? That’s what I’m talking about:
You’ve got an Aventador SV? Not unless people see you in it, you don’t. Enter the KanyeMapper. It’s an app that gives the user directions to the last sighting of you in any of your cars. The app costs a dollar, but here’s the hook: If someone spots you driving and uploads your picture, they get $2 back. You want organic growth? Hire an impersonator and rent him a G-Wagen.
Maybachs come with two problems: the chauffeur, and the cost of ownership. Enter KanyeShare, the world’s first Maybach sharing app, and also its last. There just aren’t enough Maybachs around to support a competitor, guaranteeing exclusivity and irrational pricing, the hallmarks of true artistry. Some say Maybachs won’t last. Not to worry: The first Bentley Bentayga will come off lease in 2019.
Why did MC Hammer blow his fortune? His entourage cost him. But a player needs his entourage. How best for the player to protect his millions? An entourage that comes and goes on demand. Enter KanTourage, an app that summons an entourage replete with Escalades, trusted friends, wingmen, hangers-on, con men, women of ill-repute, a patient ex-girlfriend, a drug dealer, a corrupt accountant, that guy who bought Michael Jackson’s doctor’s practice, an up-and-coming hip-hop artist, and security. Lots of security.
The Escort 360 is the current state-of-the-art in radar detectors. One problem: It’s too complicated, especially if you’re a Kantourage or KanyeShare customer. Enter the KanyEscort180, a co-branded detector that does away with the complex display and replaces it with a single warning message yelled in your voice when police are detected: TURN THE FUCK AROUND. Charge $1,200, or double the price of the standard model, which is still a fraction of the cost of a possession charge. For anything.
Tesla’s Supercharger network cost them $150M. What are all those electric vehicle owners missing as they stand around for 20-30 minutes? Music. It’s the ultimate marketing opportunity to a demographic largely uncracked by hip-hop. Enter KanyeCharge. Cut a deal with Klipsch or Marshall and rig those chargers up with sound. A Kanye playlist kicks in as the cars approach. Motion detector-linked cameras will livestream to KanyeCharge.com whenever people start dancing.
You were born too late to buy a Vector W8—but not too late to buy up Vector Aeromotive’s assets, rebrand it and get in on the supercar business. Koenigsegg? Old news. Enter Kanyesegg, a brand that has everything but a car. If anyone is going to offer the first driverless, autonomous—maybe even seatless—supercar, it should be you. Oh, it’s missing a powerplant? Bolt two LS1 crate motors together for 16 cylinders and 820 horses of choke-on-your-pasta, cock-wilting power, and watch Saleen sales drop from eleven cars to zero. Throw in a KanyeRift VR headset for the beyond-line-of-sight driving experience. A LaFerrari is $1.5M? Charge $2M. Call Floyd Mayweather. He’s good for two. Or just charge $10M, build one, and suspend operations. Don’t even deliver it. Call it a limited edition, like that Wu-Tang album, and give it to the Petersen. Don’t let Will.i.am run away with this.
Sure, you could make an electric car. But think bigger. As in space...putting celebrities in space. Elon Musk has already ceded the tourism market to Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic, which still hasn’t sent a single paying customer into orbit, let alone a celebrity of your caliber. Pathetic. Does Branson even understand how to build a brand? Take your $1B, slap KanyeX on the side of a Proton rocket, and you’re in business. For $1B the Russians will send up 142 of your closest friends, just not all at the same time. Charge them $100M each for a nice markup, or $1M each and call it an art project. You could do worse.
Wait, you already have.