Kanye West calls the music industry and NBA ‘modern day slave ships’


  • Kanye West says he won’t release any new music until he is freed from his contracts with music publishers Sony and Universal.
  • In a series of tweets on Monday night, the rapper expressed vague frustration with the “industry” and fellow rappers “dissing each other on labels we don’t own.”
  • “I’m not gonna watch my people be enslaved,” he wrote. “I’m putting my life on the line for my people. The music industry and the NBA are modern day slave ships. I’m the new Moses.”
  • On Tuesday morning, West suggested he’s exploring legal action to get out of his contracts and potentially buy back his masters.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Kanye West says he won’t release any new music until he is freed from his contracts with music publishers Sony and Universal.

“I’m not putting no more music out till I’m done with my contract with Sony and Universal,” he wrote in a now-deleted tweet. “On God … in Jesus name … come and get me.”

The declaration ignited a series of tweets on Monday evening, in which West expressed vague frustration with the “industry,” demanded a “publicly apology” from Drake and J Cole, compared himself to Nat Turner, and encouraged fellow rappers to stop “dissing each other on labels we don’t own.”

“Let’s stop killing each other … let’s show God that we are Gods people … my ego gets the best of me too… God doesn’t measure us by money in his kingdom … let’s love each other… I love my brothers and I miss my friends … real talk,” he wrote.

West also called himself “the 2nd richest black man in America,” but later deleted that tweet and distanced himself from the claim.

“I deleted that tweet about riches… the wealth is in our love of family and our brothers and our service to God … let’s rise up… let’s communicate,” he wrote.

In perhaps his boldest and most confusing tweet, West demanded to see “everybody’s contracts at Universal and Sony,” comparing the publishing companies to slave owners.

“I’m not gonna watch my people be enslaved,” he wrote. “I’m putting my life on the line for my people. The music industry and the NBA are modern day slave ships. I’m the new Moses.”

West signed a seven-year deal with EMI, which is owned by Sony/ATV, in 2003. The contract was extended in 2014.

The contract grants EMI control over the rights to West’s music and, according to The Hollywood Reporter, forbids him from retiring.

West’s contract stipulates: “At no time during the Term will you seek to retire as a songwriter, recording artist or producer or take any extended hiatus during which you are not actively pursuing Your musical career in the same basic manner as You have pursued such career to date.”

These documents were made public when West moved to sue EMI in January 2019, claiming his deal is a form of “servitude.” He was counter-sued for breach of contract, and the dispute was settled in January 2020, according to Billboard.

On Tuesday morning, West suggested he’s exploring legal action to get out of his contracts and potentially buy back his masters: “No one from Universal or Sony has responded so it’s Go time.”

The 43-year-old father of four posted a text exchange with an unidentified adviser, who suggested that Sony and Universal have not fully supported West and could be sued for breach of contract.

“If we went that route we would litigate and ask for your masters as part of a settlement,” the adviser wrote. “This is a high risk but high reward strategy.”

The adviser also said they could “look into buying” the rights to West’s masters — but claimed, without citing evidence, that his music “would cost a lot more” than Taylor Swift’s six-album catalog, which Scooter Braun acquired in a $300 million purchase of Big Machine Records.

Finally, the adviser proposed a “radical” joint venture with Universal, rather than ending West’s contract entirely.

West ended the exchange by saying he’s “not open to any form of business with Universal or Sony.”





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