Kanye West sues Jay-Z's former record label, claims he helped 'revitalize' Jay-Z's career

Claudine Varela
Jan 28, 2019
07:23 A.M.

Kanye West is seeking his rights and presumably a huge sum of money in lawsuits he recently filed against two record labels. One of the labels is connected to Jay-Z who hasn't been in the best of terms with the rapper.


Kanye West is suing two record labels, one of which is Jay-Z’s.

Reports this weekend reveal two lawsuits filed by the 41-year-old rapper who claims record labels, Roc-A-Fella and EMI owe him money.


The first lawsuit is seeking a “declaration of rights over a dispute” with Roc-A-Fella and Island Def Jam, its parent company.


Roc-A-Fella was founded by Jay-Z, Damon Dash, and Kareem “Biggs Burke” in 1995. According to West, he signed an exclusive deal with the company so he’s entitled to an undisclosed amount of money.

Reports suggest West’s dispute isn’t with Jay-Z but with the companies involved. In 2004, the music mogul and his two co-founders sold their remaining 50% shares of Roc-A-Fella to parent label Island Def Jam which is also one of the parties West is suing in the lawsuit.


Because the court documents he filed were heavily redacted, details of the lawsuit are scarce. However, in one section pertaining to “allegations common to all cause of action,” he cites his career accomplishments since he debuted in the '90s. Among them, he claims he “revitalized Jay-Z’s career” when he produced Jay-Z’s album, “The Blueprint” and co-wrote four songs in it.

He also mentions other accomplishments stemming from his valuable work on Jay-Z’s album including collaborations with other recording artists and 21 Grammy awards.



West’s second lawsuit, though also redacted, provided more details. In it, the rapper claims he signed a publishing contract with EMI April Music in 2003. In a span of eight years until 2011, he reportedly wrote and co-wrote over 200 songs, the rights of which he gave to EMI. West is seeking for the declaration of his rights under the contract in an effort to claim the money that’s rightfully his.



West hired powerful law firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart and Sullivan to handle his cases. It’s unclear if the same company is also in charge of handling another lawsuit the singer was slapped with on Thursday.

Manufacturing firm Toki Sen-I Co is suing West’s Yeezy Apparel for failing to pay for thousands of yards of fleece fabric the rapper ordered. The total amount due to the company is $624K which also includes storage fees.


There has been no word from West regarding the case, nor the two suits he filed on Friday.


Meanwhile, West’s relationship history with Jay-Z was brought to light after the recent lawsuits came to the public’s attention. It is believed the two began drifting apart in 2014 due to Jay-Z and Beyonce's absence at West’s wedding to Kim Kardashian.


In 2016, West hinted at a lack of relationship between them when he opened up about the fact that their two daughters, North and Blue Ivy have never played together. He also vented about Jay-Z and Beyonce’s indifference to the Paris robbery his wife experienced. He told his concertgoers that the power couple didn’t even check on him and his wife after the incident.

However, in November 2017, Jay-Z revealed he was back on speaking terms with West. In an interview with The New York Times Style Magazine, T, he said,


“[I talked to] Kanye the other day, just to tell him, like, he’s my brother. I love Kanye. I do. It’s a complicated relationship with us…. ‘Cause, you know — Kanye came into this business on my label. So I’ve always been like his big brother.”


Speaking of big brother, West’s only son, Saint will be a big brother himself soon. It has been confirmed that the rapper and Kardashian are expecting another son via surrogate. The baby will be their fourth following 5-year-old North, 3-year-old Saint, and 1-year-old Chicago.

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