In a surprise appearance at the Cannes Lions International Creativity Festival, rap superstar and reality television celebrity Kanye West shared some of his thoughts on the recent acquisition of Beats Music by Apple. West compared Apple's buy-out of the company co-founded by Dr. Dre to Samsung's tapping the popularity and cultural influence of Jay-Z when they partnered with him last year to give away a million free copies of his latest album to Galaxy phone buyers. In fact, West suggests that the Apple Beats deal wouldn't have happened if not for the success Samsung saw from leveraging Jay-Z's popularity for promotion.
The Grammy-winning rapper, who has repeatedly, if not delusionally, compared himself to Steve Jobs, was quoted as saying, "There would have been no Beats deal without the Samsung deal. It showed the number one company, the importance of connecting with culture."
Though a friend and business partner of Jay-Z's, West didn't hold back on expressing his distaste for the Korean smartphone and tablet manufacturer. "The reason [I've] said I didn't like Samsung particularly," the outspoken rapper went on to say, "is because throughout my entire life, because of how my parents raised me, I have to work with the number one. Samsung is not quite Apple, but it showed that Jimmy and Dre would be able to connect with the number one influencers."
"Jimmy" (Iovine) and "Dre", as they will be called around the Apple campus, not only scored big financially with the Apple/Beats merger, they've also been appointed as executive staff members at Apple as part of the deal.
In the past West has made no secret of his admiration for Apple's late leader; even if his comparisons to Jobs are a little, shall we say, grandiose. At Cannes he expounded further on his great respect for the Jobs, saying, "Steve Jobs, as everyone knows, was my biggest influence. Just seeing the way he fought to make things easier for people. After he passed, I made it my life's mission to do what he did inside of that company."
West's assessment of the Apple Beats deal is not without merit, as studies show that not only has Apple's "cool" factor spiked significantly since the deal with Dr. Dre, but the company stands to tap into the lucrative buying power of black Americans who currently, are still predominantly Android smartphone users.
Meanwhile, Dr. Dre hasn't been shy about celebrating his status as hip-hop's first billionaire. The rap pioneer recently sold his former home for a cool sum of 35 million and purchased a new Los Angeles super-mansion (formerly the dwelling of supermodel Gisele Bundchen and NFL quarterback Tom Brady) for 40 million, and just this past weekend, he dropped a $5,000 tip on his waitress after a night of tequila and merriment at the Skybar in West Hollywood's Mondrian Hotel. It certainly seems like Apple is treating their newest employee quite nicely, and that he's relishing paying it forward.