As Kanye West continues his Twitter crusade against Universal and Def Jam for ownership of his masters, some sources have reinterpreted elements of his contracts — which he posted page-by-page to Twitter a few days ago — to insinuate that Jay-Z “sold out” Kanye for ownership of his own Reasonable Doubt masters in 2005. As part of Jay’s agreement to take over as Def Jam president, he made a deal with then-CEO LA Reid for ownership to revert to himself in exchange for his shares in Roc-A-Fella Records, where Kanye was originally signed.
A few outlets have since reported this as a “shady business move” on the part of Jay, believing this meant Jay sold the masters of all his Roc-A-Fella artists to Def Jam in exchange for control of his own. However, as a subsidiary of Def Jam, Roc-A-Fella’s catalog would have already fallen under ownership of Def Jam in the first place, so this reading betrays a dire misunderstanding of how things work.
Meanwhile, Kanye himself made sure to set the record straight on Twitter, posting a screenshot of a post from one such outlet and warning, “Don’t let the system pit us against each other.” He reminded followers that he still considers Jay his “brother,” despite their falling out, and that he has “eternal love for all artist that have been through and are still trapped this crooked system.” He also suggested that “Jay still doesn’t get his own masters back for ten years,” a revelation sure to delight the infamously private Jay.
Don’t let the system pit us against each other … JAY IS MY BROTHER … I have eternal love for all artist that have been through and are still trapped this crooked system. Jay still doesn’t get his own masters back for ten years. I will see to it that we all get our masters pic.twitter.com/LshyaIVO1Y
— ye (@kanyewest) September 18, 2020
Kanye left off with a promise that “I will see to it that we all get our masters.”