Just like Kanye: we look at SA stars who have had record label troubles

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Nasty C is among the celebrities who have had disputes with their recording labels.
Nasty C is among the celebrities who have had disputes with their recording labels.
Oupa Bopape/Gallo Images

Kanye West never minces his words. He recently went up against record labels, questioning their ethics and accusing them of binding artists with ‘slave deal’ contracts.

The star alongside producer Hit Boy called out Universal Music Publishing Group for what they described as slave publishing deals.

In a series of tweets and screenshots of contracts, the rapper blasted the fine print that they see too often in these deals.

Read more | GRADUATION: Kanye West becomes highest paid male celebrity of 2020

In a now deleted tweet, the rapper wrote, “I’m not putting no more music out till I’m done with my contract with Sony and Universal. On God … in Jesus name,” reported Genius.

He then tweeted a conversation that appeared to be legal advice on how he could get out of his contract with the labels.

The posted captioned, “No one from Universal or Sony has responded so it’s Go time.”

No one from Universal or Sony has responded so it’s Go time pic.twitter.com/k5K0c1t4eF

— ye (@kanyewest) September 15, 2020

He went on to make an appeal to artists. “I need to see everybody’s contracts at Universal and Sony. I’m not gonna watch my people be enslaved. I’m putting my life on the line for my people. The music industry and the NBA are modern day slave ships. I’m the new Moses.”

Producer Hit Boy was the first to heed the call, talking about his own struggle with a deals he signed over a decade ago now.

They are not the only ones who’ve had run ins with record labels. We look at some of the artists who’ve sometimes had to fight Goliath style battles with labels in the country.

Nasty C

The rapper was served with a cease and desist last year by his former management company. They claimed he couldn’t continue to use his name. FreeWorld Music said they had given the rapper his stage name.

Read more | Nasty C's former management is forcing him to change his stage name


The rapper had a highly publicized squabble with former record label Ambitiouz Entertainment. The battle involving unpaid royalties.

Amanda Black

The Ama-Zulu hit maker is another artist who had a rocky split with Ambitiouz Entertainment. The dispute was over how she was treated and she’s since spoken out about how it affected her mental health.

“It's been dark and it's been really, really incredibly hard. Especially because I have battled with, I don't want to say depression, but I battled with really, really low days, more than I can count,” she shared with fans on her YouTube.

Read more | Amanda Black on how she felt when she took on Ambitiouz Entertainment: "I was scared and alone, I didn't trust anyone"


The multi-award winning afro-pop artist has spoken out a number of times about the troubles she’s had with her former record label.

She released her 2011 debut album, Loliwe with TS Records. She told media she was owed millions from performances and royalties.

Read more | Zahara plans to sue TS Records for alleged unpaid royalties

Priddy Ugly

He’s another Ambitiouz artist who left the stable after citing unfulfilled promises.

"I just felt like they didn't push the music. I was doing everything by myself anyway. [I] shot the videos [for] 'Tshela' and '02Hero', no one from Ambitiouz Entertainment was even on set. Even for support. They gave me the funding for the music video.

They gave me the money for one music video, and with that money, I shot 'Tshela' and '02Hero',” he told the hosts of the podcast The Sobering shortly after his departure.

A Reece

After his highly public spat about his departure with Ambitiouz the rapper went on to record a song explaining the split.

Titled Loyal he addresses issues around awards, payment and management that seems to be doing better than artists.

““Where the f*#k do awards stay at? Getting monthly pay of less than 20k was never part of the plan/ PR buying cars before the artist it doesn’t match up,” he says on the song.

Read more | Fifi Cooper explains why she left Ambitiouz Entertainment

Fifi Cooper

She’s a female rapper that scooped awards and the hearts of South Africans with her musical debut under stable Ambitiouz Entertainment.

The rapper left the label citing disagreements she often had with the owner about her finances she told DRUM in an interview.

She opened her own record label this year.

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