Rapper Kanye West took a break from his presidential campaign and log on to Twitter to talk about his music career.
On September 14, the rapper said that he would not release any new music until his record company, Universal Music Group, and his publisher, Sony/ATV Music Publishing, free him from their deals.
Terminating his contract
West followed up the tweet by saying that rappers Drake and J.Cole must apologize to him, although it is not clear if this is one of the conditions that he has for releasing new music. He also asked for a meeting with Jay-Z.
On September 15, West added to his Twitter comments by posting a text exchange with an unidentified business adviser on his options for his catalog.
The adviser says that he and West can argue that Universal and Sony Music, with whom the rapper has deals, did not support him fully, and they can be sued for breach of contract.
The adviser and West explored the potential price of his recorded-music catalog, and the adviser claims, without any evidence, that West's catalog would be worth more than the $300 million that Scooter Braun's company paid for Big Machine Records and Taylor Swift's master recordings.
West has stated that he wants to get out of his label and publishing deals before, and he even sued the companies in January 2019, according to Complete Music Update.
However, he signed the deals with attorneys present, and those types of contracts do not allow artists to withdraw from the deals whenever they want, which makes his options limited.
Following his demand for an apology from Drake and J.Cole, he called himself "Nat Turner" and said he's 'fighting for us." He then called himself "the new Moses," according to Independent.co.
In a new tweet that he later deleted, the rapper wrote that he is the second richest black man in America and that he needs all his people with him for them to get free. The initial tweetstorm invoked Jay-Z's given name, with an apology for misspelling it.
West did not go into details about his agenda; he further invoked God and alluded to his disputes with fellow Black musicians in the industry.
The rapper had second thoughts about calling himself the second richest black man in America. He then tweeted that he deleted the tweet about riches because the "wealth is in our love of family and our brothers and our service to God." He then encouraged people to rise up and communicate.
Eventually, West wrote that he needs to see everybody's contracts at Universal and Sony and that he is not going to watch his people be "enslaved," adding he is putting his life on the line for his people. He said that the music industry and the NBA are modern-day slave ships, and he is the "new Moses."
There is still no clear reason why West went on a Twitter rant and what caused his trigger. The rapper has had issues with Sony/ATV, which owns EMI Publishing, the company that holds his catalog.
West and the companies were reported to have settled out of court in January 2020. He remains listed on Sony/ATV's roster.