This time, it’s Lupe Fiasco. Though commentary from his former friend/producer Prolyfic and his Twitter beef with Eskay of Nahright are making Lupe look like more of a crybaby than rebel, we’re giving him the benefit of the doubt.
Lupe took to Twitter a couple weeks ago to announce that he’s handed his latest album, Lasers, over to Atlantic Records:
“Lasers is out of my hands guys and gals…it’s done and that’s all I can tell you…when they drop it…they drop it…so drop it…”
The announcement was enough to get a group of Lupe’s fans to start a petition last week asking for Atlantic to release the record. But haven’t we seen this dog and pony act before? Rappers have been battling their record labels for years now. To show you what we mean, we sat down and came up with a list of 10 rappers not named Lupe Fiasco who have gone through similar struggles. Feel their pain.
The Rapper: Clipse
The Label: Jive Records
The Politics: Pusha T and Malice of the Clipse actually started recording their sophomore album, Hell Hath No Fury, in late 2003. But thanks to a merger between their original label Arista Records and Jive Records, a slew of album delays, and a lawsuit which included the duo suing Jive for the right to leave the label, the album didn’t come out until November 2006. Like a fine wine, the project only got better with age (it eventually earned a “XXL” rating from XXL) but the long delay resulted in subpar album sales and Clipse left the label in early 2007.
The Rapper: Joe Budden
The Label: Def Jam Records
The Politics: Like the Thornton brothers (that’s Pusha and Malice, if you’re more punk rock than hip-hop), Joe Budden is no stranger to fighting with his label. He released his self-titled debut in June 2003. But his sophomore album, The Growth, which was delayed for years, never got released on the label. After four years of waiting, Jumpoff Joe finally got his walking papers from Def Jam in October 2007 and released his long-awaited second album, Padded Room, through digital retailer Amalgam Digital in February 2009.
The Rapper: Charles Hamilton
The Label: Interscope Records
The Politics: Once touted as one of the most promising freshman rappers by XXL in 2008, Charles Hamilton fell on hard times once he tried to move from the mixtape circuit to the major label game. He planned to release This Perfect Life, his first album on Interscope, digitally in June 2009 before dropping the physical product at brick-and-mortars in August 2009. But it never happened due to a slew of bad publicity that he received (including the punch-heard-round-the-world that his ex-girl delivered to him on a viral video) and Hamilton was dropped from Interscope in September 2009.
The Rapper: Saigon
The Label: Atlantic Records
The Politics: Like Lupe Fiasco, NYC rapper Saigon has had plenty of complaints for Atlantic Records. His debut album, ironically-titled The Greatest Story Never Told, has been on ice for five years now. In June 2007, Saigon posted a blog on MySpace (remember MySpace? Ha!) stating that he thought Atlantic wasn’t releasing his album because they only care about money. Then, he declared that he was quitting the rap game in November 2007. By 2008, he was back on the grind-but mostly on the independent scene. And today? Well, The Greatest Story Never Told is still untold. So much for that.
The Rapper: Pharoahe Monch
The Labels: Rawkus/MCA/Geffen Records
The Politics: A surefire way to make sure your album never comes out? Sign with a label that gets bought out by another label. That’s what happened to Pharoahe Monch, who was on Rawkus in the early 2000s when the company merged with MCA. MCA then went on to merge with Geffen Records, which only buried Monch even deeper. It killed a possible record deal with Shady Records and left Monch sitting on the shelf for more than seven years when he was finally able to release his sophomore project, Desire, through SRC Records.
The Rapper: Killer Mike
The Label: Sony Records
The Politics: With all the music Killer Mike–ahem, Mike Bigga–has put out over the years, it’s hard to believe that his 2003 debut album, Monster, is his only official major label project. But it’s true. His stellar sophomore project, Ghetto Extraordinary, had its release date pushed back numerous times in 2005 before it was shelved altogether. Mike also left Big Boi’s Purple Ribbon label in 2007. He’s now working with T.I.’s Grand Hustle, but with Young Dro and Yung L.A. taking up slots on the bench over there, it’s hard to see when the world will get a true second album from Mike.
The Rapper: Peedi Peedi
The Label: Def Jam Records
The Politics: To be fair here, Peedi Peedi–aka Peedi Crakk–did plenty of things (aka dissing Jay-Z) to sabotage his career. But he did most of them as a result of the fact that his deal with Def Jam disintegrated without him getting a shot to release his debut album. He signed to Roc-A-Fella in 2001 with some help from Freeway and was scheduled to drop his debut, Prince of the Roc, in 2005. But after State Property dissolved and the Roc broke up, he was left out to dry. He did sign with Def Jam in ’05 and worked with labelmates The Roots in 2006, but tensions between him and Def Jam President Jay-Z forced him off the label shortly after.
The Rapper: Lloyd Banks
The Label: Interscope Records
The Politics: After two solo albums and two G-Unit albums with Interscope, Lloyd Banks found himself at a crossroads in late 2009. The reputation of the label, he said, often prevented his music from getting out to the masses. According to him and fellow G-Unit rapper Tony Yayo, the label was holding them back. So to combat that, they both left the label and plan to release their next projects independently.
The Rapper: The LOX
The Label: Bad Boy Records/Def Jam Records
The Politics: No one knows label politics better than Jadakiss, Styles P and Sheek Louch. These three guys spent years trying to get Diddy to give them their publishing rights after their time on Bad Boy in the late 1990s. They also struggled immensely when it came time to sign a deal to do their sophomore project, We Are The Streets, in 2000. And each member has been on and off major labels throughout the course of their career. Something tells us these guys could teach a thing or two to these new jacks.
The Rapper: Big Boi
The Label: Jive Records
The Politics: Let’s not make this the most depressing list in the history of rap, okay? Sometimes, label politics can actually help an artist. It just takes awhile for them to realize it. Had Big Boi stayed on Jive Records for the rest of his career, there’s a good chance his spectacular new album, Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty, never would have seen the light of day. The label saw it as more of an experimental project (which, for the record, it kind of is–if you consider “experimental” to be a project that’s not just tailored for the radio) and didn’t want to give it the push it needed. That allowed Big Boi to leave and team up with Def Jam Records (another label that’s obviously no stranger to label politics) to release the album earlier this summer. See? Politics as usual.
Have any of your favorite artists seen their projects shelved thanks to label politics? Leave us a comment and let us know!
Source: The BVX
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