This article was published on September 12 and updated on September 18
Kanye West doesn't do anything halfway. The YEEZY founder has finally taken his beefs with business partners adidas and GAP to the one logical endpoint: he's confirmed that he'll leave both companies at the end of their respective YEEZY contracts.
The announcement, made during an interview on September 12, reflects a side of Ye that's all too familiar to anyone who's kept up with his shenanigans over the past several months.
Here's the flow: Ye perceives a transgression, blows up his personal Instagram page with accusations, and deletes everything while his foes are publicly silent. Maybe the offending party is cowed into submission, maybe they're too mature or professional to come down to Kanye's level.
The correct answer depends on your level of Kanye fandom.
Either way, even Kanye's spiciest takes are normally worked out in behind-the-scenes group messages so we rarely see what, if anything, comes of it all until Kanye hosts a concert with a former enemy or is called out by a former friend.
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 and will only become more successful once YEEZY goes independent.
In the meantime, even while splitting from adidas and GAP, Kanye's living large.
He showed up at Vogue's Fashion World event during NYFW on September 13, hustling in with a shiny suit seemingly quite unbothered.
Then, on September 15, an image of a termination letter from YEEZY to GAP surfaced, insinuating that Kanye wants his relationship with the casual fashion giant ended immediately.
GAP sent out an internal notice on the same day, confirming that it was indeed abruptly ending its partnership with Ye.
Then, on September 18, Kanye uploaded an image of what appear to be restrictions surrounding YEEZY in relation to its contracts with adidas and/or GAP.
WHo knows exactly what that means, though.
Still, the immediate implosion of YEEZY GAP is a shockingly swift end to what was intended to be a 10-year-long partnership. But, for Kanye, it was merely a Thursday.