A Forbes Magazine cover story on Kanye West promises a rare look at the mind “behind a billion-dollar sneaker empire,” but it’s the mogul’s Star Wars-inspired solution for California’s housing crisis that’s getting the buzz.
No, West isn’t thinking outer space colonies. Rather, he wants to build Tatooine-style houses right here on Earth.
In an irresistible anecdote, Forbes’ Zack O’Malley Greenburg describes his midnight trip with West to a “bungalow in the woods” somewhere near Los Angeles. West, in a Lamborghini, picks up the writer and takes off for parts unknown, Bach blaring, and…well, let Greenburg tell it:
“Speaking of aliens, if you really want to see how West’s creative process works, then a visit to the Star Wars planet of Tatooine is necessary. Inspired by Luke Skywalker’s childhood home, West has been working with a team to design prefabricated structures that sport the same austere aesthetic, with the goal of deploying them as low-income housing units. Just after midnight he ushers me into his Lamborghini for an impromptu visit, barreling back down the road with Bach blasting on the sound system. After about 15 minutes, we arrive at a bungalow in the woods.
“A team of four is still clattering away on Apple laptops inside, ahead of a meeting the following morning in San Francisco with potential investors. Around them, the walls are plastered with written notes and sketches. West peers over the shoulders of his charges, instructing them to change a font here or brighten a picture there.”
“After a half hour or so, West appears satisfied with the state of the presentation and motions me toward a back door. We stroll out into the chilly, starless night, and I follow him up a dirt path deeper into the woods for several minutes until he stops at a clearing and looks up, wordless. There, with the hazy heft of something enormous and far away, stand a trio of structures that look like the skeletons of wooden spaceships. They’re the physical prototypes of his concept, each oblong and dozens of feet tall, and West leads me inside each one.
“He tells me they could be used as living spaces for the homeless, perhaps sunk into the ground with light filtering in through the top. We stand there in silence for several minutes considering the structures before walking back down to his lurking Lamborghini and zooming off into the night.”
The article, posted on Forbes’ website, is the cover of the publication’s Aug. 31 print issue. No word on whether the San Francisco investors jumped aboard the Tatooine express, but here’s another look at Luke Skywalker’s home planet. Really, could anyone resist?