This week, Kanye West released screenshots of all of his record label contracts, which legal experts have been inspecting, noticing some issues that have been communicated via round-ups on Variety and other publications.
What people have learned is that Kanye already owns some of his masters but, apparently, the rights to his first six albums were sold by Jay-Z, the artist’s “big brother”, who sold them to buy back his own.
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According to a dissection of his contracts, Ye’s first six albums were under the Roc-A-Fella imprint, which Jay-Z owns. His contract states that he signed for an advance on his six albums, which include College Dropout, Late Registration, Graduation, and more, but that the masters belonged to Roc. When Def Jam purchased Roc-A-Fella in 2004, Def Jam then became the owner of some of Kanye’s most prized works.
Jay-Z’s deal with Def Jam was made to secure his own master recordings, which means that, in effect, he sold the majority of Kanye’s solo discography just for his own profit. He reportedly did so with the understanding that, in the future, Def Jam likely would not make a deal with Kanye to sell them back.
This could explain the tensions between Kanye and Jay. Despite all of this, Kanye does seem desperate to re-establish his friendship with Hov, tweeting about him a few weeks ago.
What do you make of all this? Should Kanye be mad at Jay?