Is Travis Scott Gen Z's Kanye West?


Table Of Contents


Travis Scott Skyrockets To Kanye West-Level Status

Travis Scott seems to catch every brand deal under the sun, from his high-end fashion collaborations, Cactus Jack combo meal at McDonald’s, and recent Cacti agave spiked seltzer with Anheuser-Busch. These diverse industry partnerships are creating extreme success for Scott as well as these brands, and many people wonder how the 29-year-old rapper from Houston, Texas can have so much influence over young consumers.

But Scott certainly isn’t the first hip-hop artist to capture attention and record-high merchandise sales from major brand deals. Rapper and producer Kanye West has had major influence in the fashion industry, and Travis Scott is certainly following and expanding upon the creative path paved by West. In this blog, Hollywood Branded discusses how Travis Scott has reached Kanye West’s level of innovative partnerships and creative influence to bring success to brands that Gen Z can’t get enough of.

Is Travis Scott Gen Zs Kanye West Blog Cover-1

Fans Go Sicko Mode

Travis Scott and Kanye West are not only two of the most popular and successful rappers in the music industry, but both superstars have also built business empires that make them cross-industry success stories. Fans of Scott and West will wait hours and spend hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars on merchandise and products related to these artists. Fans will quite literally go “Sicko Mode” for a pair of Yeezy Boosts or a McDonald’s Happy Meal packaged in a Travis Scott limited-edition box.

The hype created by announcing and releasing merchandise related to Scott and West is what makes them such good brand influencers. Most people are familiar with West’s widely famous and successful Yeezy clothing line and collaboration with Adidas. However, Travis Scott has taken a slightly different approach to brand partnerships compared to Kanye West. Despite their similar starts in the fashion industry, Travis Scott’s ability to move into different industries and product markets has made him a success with younger generations.

Cactus Jack Happy Meal Box From McDonald's

Credit: McDonald's

Fashion-Forward Thinking

One of the biggest similarities between Scott and West is that they have made a major impact on the fashion industry. In 2013, Kanye West signed with Adidas, starting his Yeezy brand. Though he previously was signed with Nike, West wanted more artistic freedom and ownership over the brand. Adidas was willing to give Kanye that creative leeway, and Adidas’s partnership with Kanye proved to be successful. West has been both criticized and praised for his monochrome, utilitarian clothing lines, but the proof of success is in the sales: West’s apparel business was valued at $3.2 to $4.7 billion. His next project for the Yeezy brand is to work with clothing and accessories retailer GAP. More on that later.

Scott on the other hand was introduced to the creative side of the fashion industry due to his personal stylish pairings of high-end fashion and streetwear. This caught the early attention of brands like Been Trill, Diamond Supply Co., and A Bathing Ape. Since then, Scott has partnered both creatively and as the face of several clothing lines for luxury fashion houses like Helmut Lang and Saint Laurent, well known designers such as Virgil Abloh, and industry titans like Nike. Travis Scott’s first several brand deals mainly surrounded the fashion industry, but it is because he moved into different industries that he is making such a big impact on Generation Z.

Kanye West And North West At Yeezy Fashion Show

Credit: Valerio Mezzanotti for The New York Times

New call-to-action

Astronomical Sales

Kanye West and Travis Scott have reached record-high sales numbers for brand success due to their reputation as musicians, but they have also created a sense of hype surrounding their products that keeps consumers wanting more. Both Kanye West and Travis Scott have had clothing lines and merchandise sell out in a matter of minutes.

For example, West’s newest Yeezy 450 Cloud Whites, which were released on Saturday March 6th, 2021 were sold out in under 60 seconds. Similarly, you might see a pair of Scott’s Nike collaboration sneakers selling for $22,500 on StockX, a popular luxury clothing resale site. Brand deals like this have proved to be extremely lucrative for Scott with his net worth rising to over $40 million.

Travis Scott Nike Collaboration Air Jordans

La Flame In Gen Z's Fire

Travis Scott has the current upper hand on celebrity brand deals because he appeals better to Generation Z. Scott’s success with brands comes in part to his ability to capture young people’s attention on social media, as he is known to post promotional images relating to his various brand deals. In addition, Scott has a strong social media presence with 40.3 million followers on Instagram, while in comparison, Kanye only has 5 million. Yet, despite this, what exactly is Scott doing better that makes him appeal more to Gen Z than Kanye West? To put it simply, Scott is partnering with diverse brands, new and old, across industries that are accessible to everyone.

Scott is taking part in brand partnerships that are revamping the way we view traditional brands and creating hype around new brands in a way that is relatively accessible to all. Travis Scott’s partnership with McDonald’s is a perfect example of his ability to turn an older, less trendy brand into something that young people want to get their hands on. For example, the Cactus Jack meal at McDonald’s reportedly made Scott $20 million off the brand deal, mainly in merchandise sales. Blake Robbins, partner at Detroit venture capital firm Ludlow Ventures, said of Scott’s McDonald’s partnership that “if he can make McDonald’s cool - the thing of pop culture right now - that’s the ultimate sign he’s made it.”

Scott’s McDonald’s brand deal isn’t the only one that has caught the eye of younger consumers. Scott has also partnered with Reese’s Puffs, Hot Wheels, Fortnite, and Nerf. Many of these brands appeal directly to the current needs and wants of Generation Z, approximately ages 9 to 24. Travis Scott’s brand partnerships have something for everyone, from Fortnite for middle-school age Gen Z-ers, to Cacti spiked seltzer for those of the legal drinking age.

Travis Scott Eating His Cactus Jack Combo Meal From McDonald's

Credit: Jerrit Clark/Getty Images for McDonald’s

Watch The Throne

Despite Travis Scott’s major brand deal successes and influence over Gen Z, Kanye West still reigns over Scott as the master creative money-maker. West is now worth $6.6 billion due to his Yeezy brand, making him one of the richest Black men in the United States. West’s Adidas partnership and Yeezy brand are still selling well even through the pandemic, but Travis Scott has captured the market of customers who want limited edition but relatively accessible products – if they are willing to wait for it.

However, Kanye may be taking a few tips from the Travis Scott playbook. Kanye West’s 10-year partnership with GAP may be the move Kanye needed to make to reach customers that find luxury segments less attainable. About $970 million of the Yeezy brand’s value is due to the GAP partnership line which will go on sale this summer. Only time will tell if Kanye is able to turn around this traditional retailer with his creative influence and design.

Kanye West Collaborates With Clothing Retailer GAP

Credit: Teen Vogue

Highest Sales In The Room

Generation Z follows in the footsteps of influencers and highly values inclusivity and expression, according to consulting firm McKinsey & Company. Travis Scott is the perfect celebrity for brands to partner with if they want to capture emerging Gen Z consumers. Both Kanye West and Travis Scott have become cross-industry successes because of their musical talent and ability to navigate the dynamic world of brand partnerships.

Kanye’s more focused approach to sticking within the fashion industry has made him very successful to date, but Travis Scott’s innovations and partnerships across industries may help him one day surpass West’s level of success. Scott’s willingness to revamp products that haven’t seen strong PR in decades is why he’s able to draw in curious members of Gen Z. In Travis Scott’s own words, “Yes, money is important. But it’s all about the creative process.”

What's Next?

Surely both Travis Scott and Kanye West will continue to thrive in the brand partnership space. Take a look at some other Hollywood Branded blogs below to learn more about Travis Scott’s partnerships and how clothing companies are using stars like him to boost their brands!

Want to know more about leveraging celebrities? Check out our e-Book on how to invite celebrities to your brand's event!

New Call-to-action