On Friday, it was revealed that Kanye West filed two lawsuits, one against Jay-Z’s record label, Roc-a-Fella Records, and another directed towards Kanye’s music publishing company, EMI. Not much more information is available about either lawsuit, although the Roc-a-Fella one is reportedly “regarding the parties’ rights and obligations to one another under the Recording Agreement and Extensions.” Whatever the case, Kanye has since filed a third lawsuit, and this one could be the reason why Yandhi has been delayed.
The Blast reports that the third lawsuit is against Bravado merchandising and Island Def Jam. According to documents obtained by the publication, the suit claims the companies have been exploiting “one of the world’s most iconic, multi-faceted, and productive talents,” and that Kanye is seeking an order from a judge to make him “free and clear of obligations” to Def Jam. The publication reports that “the documents reveal Kanye is refusing to hand over” Yandhi because “he does not want it swallowed up with his current contractual obligations” to the label, which he has been on since his debut album, 2004’s The College Dropout.
The documents also say that Kanye is seeking the rights for his master recordings, and claim that Kanye’s relationship with Def Jam was restricting: “At no point since the commencement of Mr. West’s services under the recording agreement and extensions in 2002 has he enjoyed any ‘moment of freedom’ that is, any moment during which he was freed from his obligations under the contract and able to offer his services to anyone else, take a break from his recording career, or even retire from it altogether.”
Furthermore, the suit claims Kanye is owed a “substantial” (but unspecified) amount of money, and that Def Jam “has unjustly earned millions of dollars by binding Mr. West’s recording talents to [Island Def Jam] for an unlawful term.”
Back in November, Kanye tweeted that the reason he pushed back Yandhi‘s release date is because he felt the album wasn’t ready yet, writing, “It felt so good being on the stage last night with my brother Cudi. After performing again, I realize the new album I’ve been working on isn’t ready yet. I’ll announce the release date once it’s done. Thank you for understanding.”