The legal rights to music have been a hot button topic this past year due to Taylor Swift’s headline-making quarrel with Big Machine Records and Megan Thee Stallion’s label refusing to release her music. While some artists take issue with labels and companies owning the rights to their music, others actually seek out the opportunity. Wu-Tang Clan producer RZA has done just that, selling half of his music to the company Hipgnosis Songs.
According to Variety, Hipgnosis Songs acquired 50 percent of the musician’s catalog in the deal, about 407 tracks in total. The new partnership with RZA isn’t the first collection of music Hipgnosis Songs has bought the rights to. Before securing the deal, the firm also scooped up the rights to music from Jack Antonoff, Timbaland, and No I.D.
In a statement, RZA said he is excited about the new partnership: “I wear various hats in my artistic expressions but the one that has been so deeply reflective of my life’s journey is my songwriting. I’m honored to partner up with Merck and the Hipgnosis team to usher my songs into an exciting future.”
Hipgnosis Songs founder Merck Mercuriadis echoed RZA’s anticipation and praised the musician as a trailblazer in hip-hop: “RZA and the Wu-Tang Clan did not invent hip-hop but they took it from being fun to something that represented a true reflection of what the streets and being Black in America was really like. They were and are the most authentic band and brand in hip-hop and it all starts with RZA’s vision, his songs and his struggle, manifested in music, that could show the entire world what was really going on. He is now globally recognized as a true renaissance man of hip-hop and most would argue that he is the G.O.A.T.”
In other RZA news, the rapper teamed up with Good Humor to pen a new ice cream truck jingle because the old one had a racist history. The current jingle is the song “Turkey In The Straw,” which originally didn’t have problematic connotations until blackface-wearing minstrel show performers adopted the tune and set it to racist lyrics in the late early 20th century. But with his new jingle, RZA aims to “make a new ice cream jingle for a new era,” saying he wants “to make a melody that includes all communities that’s good for every driver, every kid.”