It’s a tired but often used analogy that black artists are slaves to their record-label overseers. Nina Simone wrote in her memoir, “I Put a Spell On You,” that she probably lost a million dollars in royalties because of the contract she signed as an impressionable young artist with Bethleham Records. Lupe Fiasco famously battled it out with Atlantic Records for years before the label finally released his third album “Lasers.” And, of course, there’s A Tribe Called Quest’s infamous warning: “Industry rule number 4,080, record company people are shady.”
Now, after years of delays and creative differences with her label Interscope/Polydor, rapper Azealia Banks has finally is free of her record label. Banks seems ecstatic about the news because now she’ll be able to record and release music on her own, including her debut album “Broke With Expensive Taste,” which has reportedly been finished for more than a year.
To celebrate the occassion, and point out the power dynamics at play, Banks quoted “The Color Purple.”
IM ABOUT TO GET OUT OF MY DEAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THATS THE BIG SURPRISE!!!!!— AZEALIA ⚓️ BANKS (@AZEALIABANKS) July 10, 2014
I’S IS FREE!!!!!!— AZEALIA ⚓️ BANKS (@AZEALIABANKS) July 10, 2014
I’m feeling like miss celie at the end of color purple.— AZEALIA ⚓️ BANKS (@AZEALIABANKS) July 10, 2014
Not that Banks has done much to endear herself to fans in the years that she’s been fighting with her label. She’s gotten into several high-profile Twitter beefs with everyone from celebrity blogger Perez Hilton to fellow rappers Angel Haze and T.I.
Let’s hope that she’ll finally be able to let her music do the talking.
(h/t Music Times)