Kanye West might have plans as ambitious as running for president.
In the midst of all the chaos from West’s past month, his team filed a slew of trademark applications that would allow West to create his own mini-community — or as West intends to call it, the “Yecosystem.”
West’s plan for his own small “universe” has been in the works for years, two Yeezy sources confirm to Rolling Stone. The sources describe it as a self-sustained enterprise that would have its own branded homes, retail stores that sell Yecosystem-branded food items and beverages. The plan is serious, with arrangements to launch the first campus as early as next month, one source says. Eventually, West hopes to establish these mini-communities across the country, the source says.
West’s vision is on par with Steve Jobs, Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos, another source says, adding that West is adamant on creating something equally as world-changing. “He’s trying to do shit that people couldn’t even conceive of and he’s trying to make it happen,” they explain. “He comes from a good place. It’s definitely his goal that everything that people touch that’s his is a good thing and has a good impact on the world.”
All signs point to the venture being called “Yecosystem,” as West’s team has registered a website domain for the name, complete with a mail server. It’s possible the name could change, as West is known to switch up plans at the last minute and trademarks have also been filed for Yzyverse, Yxyverse, and Yeezyverse. (A rep for West did not immediately reply to Rolling Stone‘s request for comment.)
West teased the idea of his own self-sustained enterprise in mid-September when he appeared on CNBC to explain why he severed his relationship with Gap and to hint that he might terminate his Adidas deal, too. (Following West’s antisemitic remarks, Adidas said it was putting its partnership with West “under review.” On Friday, Balenciaga announced it had severed its relationship with West, despite the rapper’s close relationship with the French fashion house’s creative director Demna.)
During the interview, West spoke of building his “own castle,” saying he was tired of having to answer to retailers’ boards, being frozen out of business discussions, his designs allegedly ripped off and having his team members poached. (West himself has been accused of “borrowing” designs from emerging designers without their knowledge.)
Instead, West said he wanted to build his own company and purchase his own factories, boasting that his new private school, Donda Academy, would “focus on bringing the American economy back, starting with our children.” “We are focusing on engineering for our species — what’s the thing we need the most? Food. [We are] engineering food,” he told CNBC, adding that Donda Academy students would also be learning automotive, software and shelter engineering.
Days after his CNBC appearance, West’s company Mascotte Holdings filed numerous trademark applications that create the framework of a mini-community, trademark attorney Josh Gerben tells Rolling Stone.
“The way these series of trademark applications were filed would very much be how you would file trademark applications to protect this type of idea of building this type of community out,” Gerben explains.
The trademark applications cover branding and typical products, such as clothing items and retail goods. But in a first for West, the CEO of Mascotte, these new filings include a range of beverages; pre-made alcoholic drinks and liquors; raw fruits and vegetables; snacks, candy, and other processed foods.
The filings indicate that West plans to create a variety of services under the Yecosystem umbrella, such as consulting services for nutrition, beauty, interior design and a public relations firm. Yecosystem has filings that would establish a production arm for movie, television, and radio programs, as well as an online media site that features “information on a recording artist in the fields of beauty, fashion, modeling, acting, music, [and] the arts.” The Yecosystem also hopes to create its own “residential buildings and houses.”
There’s also a philanthropic arm associated with the filings, indicating charitable services that include biological cloning, reproductive healthcare, children’s education and supporting members of the United States military.
West’s vision is borne out of a sincere desire to make the world a better place, one Yeezy source explains, such as creating new technology like his Stem Player and offering a new approach to education with Donda Academy. “There’s a saying that he would say, which is like, ‘Yeezy makes life easy,’ they say. “I think his ideal vision is, ‘Let me use where I’ve come from and what I’ve achieved to spread good in the world.’”
Gerben says the vast range of goods and services is a “pretty significant start” in getting Yecosystem off the ground. “The fact that they’re filing trademark applications indicates that there’s certainly conversations going on between him or his team and his lawyers,” he adds. “That rises to a certain level of this is more than just something that’s been mentioned in the media. There’s some thought going into this behind the scenes.”
It’s unclear exactly where West plans on building his first campus, but Atlanta could be a likely choice, considering Young Thug recently offered West his 100-acre plot of land after West vented that Gap and Adidas had allegedly failed to fulfill contractual obligations to build Yeezy stores.
While there’s clearly a long way before Yecosystem fully comes to life, this isn’t West’s first time trying to create his own city. The artist shared plans for an “eco village” in 2020 that failed to materialize, but would have largely focused on building a self-sustained community for mothers and children.
According to West, there would have been an educational component to the “ranch,” with dwellers generating income for the community through growing their own food goods, “mushroom plastics” and creating “wildcraft and herbal products.” Around this time, he was also building prototypes of Yeezy Shelter, a large dome structure, crafted from wood and metal material.