Yesterday, Kanye West punctuated a Twitter rant by releasing a new song on the platform. The track, or his "theme music" as he called it, is the latest installment of the rapper reclaiming ownership of his music.
After months of delaying his album release, Kanye's political ambitions finally inspired him to release some actual music. First, he posted his official presidential campaign ad and shared some fake poll results, then Ye hit back at haters doubting his presidential bid by tweeting the song.
"[PEOPLE] TRIED TO TALK ME OUT OF RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT... NEVER LET WEAK CONTROLLING PEOPLE KILL YOUR SPIRIT." He added, "THE WHOLE TEAM IS SO ENERGIZED THAT I HAD TO RELEASE THEME MUSIC NAH NAH NAH."
The victorious song is set to a video of a recent UFC fight between middleweight Joaquin Buckley and Impa Kasanganay that featured what many have described as the most spectacular knockout in UFC history.
"If I put myself on, swear they get my own masters," West raps, appearing to reference his recent dispute with Universal Music Group over the terms of his record contract. He also samples a clip from Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of The Sith and raps "Don't jump Anakin, I got the higher ground."
Kanye recently made a powerful point about music labels treating their artists like slaves, and this strategy of dropping a track on Twitter could well upset the dated business model. In the current set up, musicians sign away the rights to their music and leave millions on the table for a label that they could — in the age of social media — essentially do without. Many musicians then fight a losing battle to reclaim their art. It's a recurring tale, but one that could finally be coming to an end.
In July, industry mogul Steve Stout interviewed the rapper Russ who declared that if Drake went independent, the music industry would be “over”. He predicted that he would make at least $10 million a week for 60 weeks from the streaming proceeds of just one album as an independent. "If Drake posts a picture on the ‘Gram of his new album, link in bio — f–k a link in bio, “new album out,” Russ explained. Stoute seconded, "If Drake goes independent, the music business is over. If Drake goes independent, the music business is done."
While fans have spent months anticipating a Kanye album the traditional way, the rapper has thrown all rules to the wind with his latest release — and while that move might not seem like much to you right now, it could soon prove incredibly powerful for independent artists.