nigga, ride or die. . .
We kind of waited until the shit storm calmed down, so this story could get some light; and not seem like a reach in the heat of the moment. A few weeks ago, Kanye West uploaded his music contracts (now deleted) on social media, and vowed to not release music until he’s released from his deal. Following that, information began to circulate that Jay-Z sold masters Kanye’s first six albums to Def Jam, in exchange for getting back his own masters.
This prompted Yeezy to clarify that he still had love for his big brother and said Jay still doesn’t get back his own masters for another 10 years (throwing subtle shade). Ye didn’t deny the report and blamed the system for trying to pit them against each other. But, over the years, we’re not sure if you noticed; but Kanye West has refused to perform tracks from his The College Dropout album. Many fans touts as their favorite project, as its also been called one of the greatest albums in hip-hop history.
Out of frustration with the system and not having ownership of the masters for that album; he’s hasn’t performed a single track from that album in over 10 years. Last year, reports surfaced that Kanye had sued Def Jam and Roc-a-Fella Records over financial disagreements. For whatever reason, Jay-Z was linked into the company; but he hasn’t run Roc-a-Fella in over 12 years. So, that lawsuit was aimed at Universal Music Group and Jay’s name was thrown in.
Here’s the important information that went over everyone’s heads, when Ye went to twitter and ranted. Jay, Dame Dash and Biggs sold Roc-a-Fella Records and its assets to Universal Music Group for a whopping $10 million. The reason Def Jam got Kanye’s masters; was Dame Dash worked out a label deal with Lyor Cohen to get his Dame Dash Music Group. In that same deal, Biggs and Dame agreed to sell the masters of every album, except Reasonable Doubt to Def Jam; hence Kanye mentioning Jay doesn’t own his content for another 10 years.
Everyone got big contracts and settlements in the announcement and it was smiles. In the meetings, many didn’t have a chance to choose between Jay’s Roc-a-Fella Records or Dame Dash’s self-titled imprint. Beanie Sigel said he didn’t have a choice in the manner and was put with Dame. However, the masses don’t know is that when Kanye West signed with Jay-Z, Hov didn’t want to give him a deal. Like Just Blaze’s situation, Jigga wanted Yeezy to work with him as a producer and not directly ink him to the Roc.
During the split, Biggs was the person that had to sign off on the final deal for all masters, not Jay or Dame. Def Jam and Universal were going to get Kanye’s masters, regardless, if Jay disagreed or not. It was out of his control, as they gave him a small percentage of Roc-a-Fella Records for the relaunch in 2005, as well as the label’s President title. So, he’s being blamed for something that he had no control over, since he was still technically an artist at the time.
As part of the deal, the multi-million-dollar agreement allowed Jay to eventually get part of his masters back, as well as be the face of the imprint; with L.A. Reid really controlling things behind-the-scenes.
We repeat, once Universal Records and Def Jam finalized the deal; Kanye’s College Dropout, Late Registration and Graduation albums became intellectual property of the imprint.
Once Jay wanted out of his contract with Def Jam, he paid $20 million (see: LL Cool J and Method Man) that he lost with Kingdom Come , and went to start up Roc Nation. This led to him signing a 360-deal with Live Nation and Sony for the Blueprint 3. With guaranteed concert money and merchandise set to sale, this is what Jay needed to make his next big move with Roc Nation. 360 deals aren’t bad, if ou’re an established artist like Jay, which can put him in football stadiums and overseas venues.
That deal, from 2009, lasted until last year after touring with Beyonce, which he now has complete control of everything. When Yeezy signed his 6-album deal, he was happy to be in the game like any other aspiring artist. However, this something that happened 16 years ago, that didn’t involve Jay’s final word.
This type of backlash will never happen publicly with anyone calling out Clive Davis, or even Jimmy Iovine. We’re hopeful Big Sean, Teyana Taylor, Pusha T, Desiigner, John Legend, Hit-Boy, and even Kid Cudi have updates on the whereabout of their masters.
I’m not putting no more music out till I’m done with my contract with Sony and Universal … On God … in Jesus name … come and get me ⛷
— ye (@kanyewest) September 14, 2020
watch me shine
— The Chosen One (@KidCudi) September 18, 2020
FEEL FREE TO START WITH MINE 🙏🏾
— Sean Don (@BigSean) September 15, 2020
Ayo @kanyewest where percentage 💸 at cuzzie lol
— Desiigner (@LifeOfDesiigner) October 1, 2020
I feel what Kanye is saying but at the same time his company was already getting 20% off top so it didn’t matter who I was working with. He also knows rihanna I worked with her during my GOOD term and I gave Asap Rocky Goldie , Kendrick backseat freestyle etc during this time
— Hit-Boy (@Hit_Boy) September 16, 2020
Don’t let the system pit us against each other … JAY IS MY BROTHER … I have eternal love for all artist that have been through and are still trapped this crooked system. Jay still doesn’t get his own masters back for ten years. I will see to it that we all get our masters pic.twitter.com/LshyaIVO1Y
— ye (@kanyewest) September 18, 2020
Universal. Sold ten cent a Chinese co 10 per cent at a 33 billion dollar valuation. Principal is Vincent bollerre. Universal own a chunk of Spotify that was given to them for agreeing to license artists masters. Flowed through nothing to artists.
— ye (@kanyewest) September 18, 2020