Kanye West’s DONDA company seals a joint venture with Jay-Z’s Roc Nation. The two longtime friends and business associates come together again to form a lucrative entertainment partnership. West has produced beats for Jay-Z’s early signature hits and both rappers have reaped great benefits from their friendship. In 2011, both artists released an album together, Watch The Throne, which was followed by a tour by the duo. DONDA is a company named after West’s late mother, which is a multidesign and content company for art, apparel, film, music and other forms of entertainment. Jay-Z’s Roc Nation will manage DONDA Music ventures, which works with other big name artists like Lil Wayne, Big Sean and 2 Chainz. Roc Nation will oversee West’s international recording brand and worldwide touring projects.
West’s DONDA company placed itself on the map in 2009 when the rapper collaborated on a deal with Louis Vuitton to create footwear. It was an impressive venture considering the conservative French fashion house would do business with a brash urban American entertainer. The collaboration opened doors for West’s creative genius and unique design sensibilities to other global brands. When West designed two versions of the AIR YEEZY with Nike his ability as a designer solidified. The release of the iconic shoe sold out in minutes and garnered four figure prices on the secondary market. West’s two apparel collections with Parisian brand A.P.C. was also a sold-out release and his line with Adidas that is slated for the fall is highly-anticipated.
Jay-Z is no foreigner to profitable partnerships and high-end business deals; his resume in the business world is more impressive than most people who have earned a Harvard MBA. Since his days at Roc-A-Fella Records with former business partner Damon Dash, he has been known as the “Golden Boy” of hip-hop; everything he touches turns to gold and green. He has collaborated with Belvedere Vodka, Reebok, Hublot and bought a percentage of the basketball franchise, the Brooklyn Nets. His entertainment management company, Roc Nation, was founded in 2008 and has a lineup of popular artists such as Rihanna, Shakira and J Cole. Roc Nation has also diversified to sports management. It’s not surprising that he would form a partnership with Kanye West a rapper just as equally talented. West’s design aesthetics with Jay-Z’s business acumen will form a successful partnership between DONDA and Roc Nation.
West is considered the most influential artist in today’s music scene and is more than just a hip-hop artist. He is a fashion designer, a connoisseur of good taste and a power brand ambassador. Many might alienate him for his pompousness, his braggadocio in his interviews and his superiority complex. However, his creativity has no bounds to anything and has proven his prowess and aptitude in music production, lyricism, fashion and stage design. Someone with that kind of creative brilliance should unleash his ideas on the world. Kanye West’s partnership with Roc Nation could evolve his creativity to other realms beyond entertainment that one would not expect from a hip-hop artist. What West has done for rap is comparable to what Michael Jordan has done for basketball.
By Isriya Kendrick