Kanye West Pulls Out the Hits For Lucrative Kazakhstan Gig

The Image Gate/Getty Images
June 12: Kanye West shares with the Design Miami/ Basel audience parts of its unreleased new album Yeezus during a listening session at Design Miami/ Basel in Basel, Switzerland.

Kanye West has friends in high places – even in Kazakhstan.

The rap superstar reportedly performed at the wedding of Kazakhstan president Nursultan Nazarbayev's grandson over the weekend, a show which netted him a fee in the millions.

West pulled out his big hits, including "Can't Tell Me Nothing", for his private gig at the Hotel Royal Tulip in the capital Almaty, TMZ reports.

Nazarbayev is the central Asian country’s first and only president, having served in the top job since before the nation won its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. The controversial leader has personally amassed billions during his time in office, and he’s persistently dogged with allegations of corruption.

It's not the only time a high-profile international artist has done "showbusiness" with Kazakhstan.

Sting accepted and later pulled out of a lucrative 2011 show for Nazarbayev, over the alleged mistreatment of oil workers in the country.

Sacha Baron Cohen's spoof 2006 documentary “Borat” lampooned the country, though it was largely filmed in Romania. While the film was an international money-spinner which had film-goers rolling in the aisles, no-one was laughing about it in Kazakhstan. Authorities initially banned the film and threatened to sue the comedian after its release. Kazakhstan's foreign minister last year said he was "grateful" for the tourism dollars “Borat” rained down on the country.


The Biz premium subscriber content has moved to Billboard.com/business.

To simplify subscriber access, we have temporarily disabled the password requirement.