Kanye West is legally banned from retiring or taking an extended hiatus under the terms of his record contract with EMI.
The Stronger rapper filed a lawsuit at the Los Angeles Superior Court in January (19) against bosses at EMI in which he demanded “to be set free from” their contract. The complaint was heavily redacted at the time, but it has been released in full following EMI’s response.
In the lawsuit, Kanye claims that under the terms of his contract, which he signed in 2003, he must “remain actively involved in writing, recording and producing” songs and albums.
“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,” the contract reads, according to his complaint.
The 41-year-old argues that the contract he signed was “lopsided” and claims it is a violation of California state law to keep anyone locked into a personal service contract for more than seven years. He also believes he is owed money.
He has signed five extensions with the label since 2003, but these should not count after 2010, his lawyers state. They have asked a judge to declare the rapper the owner of all music he has created since October 2010, when the seven years concluded. This would include music from albums including My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, his Watch the Throne joint project with JAY-Z, The Life of Pablo, and his 2018 release, Ye.
On Friday (01Mar19), lawyers of the music publisher lodged a notice of removal, an attempt to take the case from state to federal court, which has jurisdiction over copyright law.
It’s not the only lawsuit Kanye is currently embroiled in – he also recently sued JAY-Z’s Roc-A-Fella Records for money he insists he’s owed, and lodged another against Island Def Jam executives, again seeking to “be free” from his longrunning contract.