Fetty Wap Reportedly Sued By Ex-Employee For 6 Figures

Bergen County, NJ – Fetty Wap reportedly owes a former tour employee a six-figure sum. According to Bossip, the man behind hits such as “Trap Queen” and “My Way” has been served a lawsuit for breach of contract and defamation. He’s expected in court next month.

Shawna Morgan, once an employee of Fetty and Fetty Wap Touring says she and Fetty had an agreement where she would receive anywhere from five to 10 percent of his show earnings. Morgan says she would often have to cover many touring costs herself.

While Morgan says Fetty initially reimbursed her, he fell behind on payments in early 2017 and now reportedly owes her $242,703.

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In addition to the breach of contract claim, Morgan has also accused Fetty of defamation. Fetty’s RGF Productions label fired her in 2017, alleging she pretended to be Fetty’s booking agent and manager and would “double dip” by obtaining more booking fees from venues.

Fetty claims Morgan had stolen $250,000 from him. Morgan says these allegations are false and have hurt her reputation and ability to get work.

A judge initially sided with Morgan, due to Fetty not responding to the case. However, Fetty had it reinstated and the two went into arbitration. He requested the case go back to trial when the arbitrators ruled he and his business owed Morgan $160,000.

The case is scheduled for trial on June 11.

Maisie Williams Reflects On Her One "Game Of Thrones" Regret

Game Of Thrones is gone, but certainly not forgotten. Though many have continued to act as if showrunners David Benif and Dan Weiss personally wronged them, the cast have spoken about their experiences during the final season rather fondly; course, the story did not go the way many expected, but for the most part, the discourse has been civil outside the internet. Maisie Williams, who portrays the beloved fan favorite character Arya Stark, recently opened up to Entertainment Weekly about her only regret. 

Like many, Maisie was hoping that Arya Stark would successfully cross f the remaining names on her list, with particular emphasis on Queen Cersei Lannister. In fact, many had long theorized that Cersei would meet her maker at Arya’s hand, especially given her extensive time training with the Faceless Men. Yet Cersei was destined for another fate, dying in the arms her brother Jaime, buried by the crumbling foundation the Red Keep. For Maisie, Cersei’s death meant she’d be robbed another scene with Lena Headey. 

“I just wanted to be on set with Lena again, she’s good fun,” Williams explained to EW. “And I wanted Arya to kill Cersei even if it means Arya] dies too. Even up to the point when Cersei’s with Jaime I thought while reading the script], ‘He’s going to whip f his face and reveal its Arya]’ and they’re both going to die. I thought that’s what Arya’s drive has been.” While she did ultimately come to turns with Arya’s fate, it’s goes to show that even the cast have come to draw their own story conclusions; in that sense, it’s no wonder the final season has elicited such a heated, and passionate response.

For more from Williams, including her take on The Hound’s wisdom, check out the full piece right here. When the dust and ash have settled, do you think the narrative surrounding Thrones will sten? 

Asian Da Brat, Who’s Signed To Gucci Mane’s Label, Wishes She Was Independent

Earlier this month, Asian Da Brat sat down with Fuse to fer up her ASMR installment. She whispered away and spoke with them about her image, her music, and what it’s been like being signed to Gucci Mane‘s label, 1017 Eskimo Records. She gave him credit for helping shape her career and said that she’s the female version Guwop.

“I’m only 22 and I’m the first lady, it makes me feel bossy to have that title,” she told the publication. She added, “I love to have fun, even when I’m mad or sad in the studio. I just like to talk my sh*t.” All seemed well during that conversation and there didn’t seem to be any hiccups between the rapper and her label when she dropped f her eighth mixtape, UNFUCCWITABLE just days later. However, Asian Da Brat recently dropped hints that things may not be well on the homefront.

“I wish I wasn’t signed I wish I was still INDEPENDENT doing my own thing 💯,” she wrote before adding “I don’t care about the hype I been the hype.” The young rapper didn’t fer up an explanation as to why she’s dissatisfied with being a signed artist, but she did list f her accolades in a tweet just days prior. “I’ve did a lot sh*t in my career at 22. Nick Minaj co sign. Queen radio. Cover XXL & later that month I was in it again. Wildin Out. Cover Paper Mag. Signed to Gucci. Drop the Best mixtapes. Authentic Feature. Performed @ 3 rolling louds. World tour INDEPENDENTLY etc…”

It’s been a stressful time for Asian Da Brat as she announced on Twitter that her sister was recently shot. She fered up advice to her followers, telling them if they were ever able to move out the ‘hood, they should seize the opportunity.

Lira Galore Reveals Baby Girl Khaleesi’s Adorable Face

Last month it was reported that CEO Quality Control Pierre “Pee” Thomas had welcomed his baby girl with model and entrepreneur Lira Galore. The couple had broken up back in December, following rumours Thomas cheating on Galore, which appeared to be true since it was revealed that he was expecting another child with a woman named Kaylar Will.

Galore had no time for the baby-mama-drama though, as she was too busy being awestruck by her new baby girl, with whom she had shared an Instagram video (strategically covering the baby’s face) with, with the caption “Edges laid period 😍💕.”

Further updates on the new-born were kept concealed after her birth, until earlier this month when an Instagram post shared by Galore the nursery revealed her name to the world: Khaleesi. In case you didn’t know, Khaleesi is the name  Khal Drogo’s wife Daenerys Targaryen from the popular series “Game Of Thrones.” With the series having recently come to an end and absolutely everyone talking about it, it’s kind no surprise that the iconic show inspired a few names. Plus, the name actually means “Queen” in Dothraki, so it’s quite adorable that Lira would give that name to her baby girl. 

The new mommy took to Instagram once more this morning – in celebration her one month – to share the first video which showed baby Khaleesi’s darling face. Her #Twin indicates that Galore think Khaleesi resembles her, but we’ll let you guys decide: who does she look more like? Mommy or daddy?

Dounia Releases "NOT GOOD FOR THE EGO" EP

R&B singer Dounia has released her third EP, NOT GOOD FOR THE EGO, on Tuesday (May 21).

The four-track EP features production from DJ Frank E, Danny Majic, Bordeaux, Jeff Kleinman, Non Native and Dounia herself, and comes on the heels of her March single, “Lowkey Girl,” which was featured in Complex and has amassed over 30,000 YouTube views and hundreds of thousands of streams.

“It’s crazy to me how sonically different these songs are from each other, considering they were all made around the same time and naturally made a lot of sense to me to pair up. ‘UP 4 AIR’ and ‘ZERO’ give me the dynamic melodic components that can set an ambiance and really make this taste pack colorful and airy, while ‘TOXIC’ and ‘TRUST ISSUES’ offer a duskier and lyrically dense feeling that I always feel is necessary to have on any collection of songs from me,” Dounia describes the project in an exclusive statement to HipHopDX.

The Queens-born, Moroccan-raised artist first debuted in 2017 with her Intro To EP, and has steadily been climbing the ranks since. Her sophomore EP, The Avant-Garden, features the Kehlani-assisted single, “Rich Girl Mood.” The 22-year-old has been racking up a resume of performances across the country, including BUKU Music + Arts Festival, SunFest, and Soundset. She is also slated to perform at Mad Decent’s Block Party festival in Boston this summer.

Dounia Releases "NOT GOOD FOR THE EGO" EP


1)      TOXIC

2)      ZERO

3)      UP 4 AIR


Dionne Warwick Says Beyoncé Hasn’t Reached ‘Iconic Status’ Yet

Dionne Warwick has the BeyHive buzzing with her latest comments.

During an on-camera interview with Essence, the five-time Grammy-winning singer was asked about today’s artists and whether they are creating timeless music.

“I don’t know if 10 years from now, anybody can actually sing the songs of our babies today. That’s not, as you guys say, ‘throwing shade.’ That’s just looking at it with reality,” said the 78-year-old.

Added Warwick, “When you speak of folks who have been in the industry, recording for as long as I have, and my peers… These babies, who are approaching 20 years, maybe, which is amusing to me because I’m certain they wouldn’t even last that long. But since they have, when they get into the 50- and 60-year range, that’s when you can start saying, ‘Well, maybe there is a classic hidden somewhere amongst them.’ But at this very moment, I don’t see it.”

She also shared her thoughts on Beyoncé. “I have an admiration for Beyoncé,” said Warwick. “Watching her grow has been quite refreshing. It’s wonderful to see how she’s been able to create what and who she wanted to be and who she is.”

While she is a fan of Queen Bey, she doesn’t think the 23-time Grammy winner has reached “icon” status just yet. “Now sustaining and become the icon [like] Gladys Knight, or Patti LaBelle, or Johnny Mathis, or Frank Sinatra, or Sammy Davis Jr.? I doubt that. I really do,” she said. “I love her to death and can appreciate her talent. But that iconic status that I just mentioned before? Those names? It’s a long road [ahead].”

After the story went viral, Warwick took to Twitter to clarify her comments, sharing a screenshot of the article. “What I said is in quotes. What @Essence said is not,” she tweeted. “It takes a long time to reach and achieve iconic status. That’s not to say that Beyoncé isn’t well on her way. She is a gifted performer. That was a reach from Essence.”

New Music: Ed Sheeran feat. Chance the Rapper & PnB Rock ‘Cross Me’

Ed Sheeran is not letting up. Fresh off his Justin Bieber collaboration “I Don’t Care,” which sits at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100, the British crooner delivers the follow-up, “Cross Me” featuring Chance the Rapper and PnB Rock.

On the throwback R&B jam, Ed shows his loyalty to the lady in his life (“If you cross her, then you cross me / Nobody’s coming close,” he sings). Chance, who married Kirsten Corley in March, pays homage to his wifey (“Better pay your respect to the queen / Gotta respect the HBIC”), while PnB lays down the hook.

“Cross Me” and “I Don’t Care” are among the 15 tracks set to appear on Ed’s upcoming album No.6 Collaborations Project. The star-studded collection will include even more collaborations with some of his favorite artists.

“Before I was signed in 2011, I made an EP called No.5 Collaborations Project,” he explained. “Since then, I’ve always wanted to do another, so I started No.6 on my laptop when I was on tour last year. I’m a huge fan of all the artists I’ve collaborated with and it’s been a lot of fun to make.”

No.6 Collaborations Project drops July 12. See the tracklisting below.

New Music: Ed Sheeran feat. Chance the Rapper & PnB Rock  'Cross Me'

Koncept Talks Upcoming LP & Revisited Royce Da 5’9” Collaboration: “He Murdered It”

New York City, NY – Having been blessed to spend the past two years on the road — with much of that time spent in Asia — Brown Bag All-Stars alumni Koncept is preparing to drop his new album this summer.

Fresh off of a sold-out tour in South Korea/Japan with Scoop Deville, the Queens (New York) native tells HipHopDX about the first single “Watch The Sky Fall 2” featuring elite MC Royce Da 5’9”.

“Obstacles, problems, and fails … you have to roll with them and use them to better yourself and make you stronger,” Koncept says of the song’s message.

“When The Sky Falls 2” is an updated revisit of the original 2011 version (also featuring Royce) which was produced by Marco Polo. The update, as he explains, was him tapping into where it all started — but with a zest for new life

“Working with Royce was a blessing,” he says of the collaboration. “[He’s] undeniably one of the best and definitely one of my biggest inspirations as a rapper … so to have him on my song is an honor. He murdered it.

The song is the first taste of Champagne Konny, due out this August. Having been able to let the smoke settle after the past few years, he says the album is an evolution of himself as an artist.

“This new album [Champagne Konny] is the new improved better me … after being on the road for so long out of the country, and reflecting on everything leading up to this point,” he says. “I feel recharged and more inspired than ever before.”

Stream “When The Sky Falls 2” by Koncept featuring Royce da 5’9” below.

Will Smith Jokes He Doesn’t Watch "Red Table Talk" Because "They Tellin’ All Our Business!"

Disney’s live-action Aladdin film hits theaters on Friday which means that Will Smith, who portrays the role Genie, is in full promotion mode. Following his appearance on Ellen yesterday, Smith was a guest on Jimmy Kimmel Live! where he talked about his blue-bodied role, as well as what’s it’s been like seeing the women his family star in their Facebook Watch series, Red Table Talk.

Smith admitted that the sensitive topics are a tad f-putting for him. “No, I don’t watch it,” he quipped on Tuesday. “They tellin’ all our business!” All jokes aside, Smith is proud what his wife Jada Pinkett Smith, his daughter Willow Smith, and his mother-in-law Adrienne Banfield-Norris have accomplished with the show. “It’s actually fantastic, the episodes I could bear,” he said. “And they sit down, and it’s really wide open, raw conversation across the generations about a cornucopia topics.”

Will Smith Jokes He Doesn't Watch "Red Table Talk" Because "They Tellin' All Our Business!"
Kevin Winter/Getty s

Kimmel couldn’t help but joke, “Yeah, right…even a pornocopia topics, some people might say.” The talk show host was referencing this past Monday’s episodes where the women talked about pornography. Willow shared that she first watched porn as a child and Jada revealed that prior to her relationship with Will, she had a “little porn addiction.”

“Porn addiction I think was the topic,” Smith replied. “Yeah, there was one those. They all go into a blur, you know?” So out the three women, what story was worse to hear: his wife, his daughter, or his mother-in-law?  “It’s all bad,” he said.

Watch Smith’s Jimmy Kimmel Live! segment below:

Diddy Thinks "Father Of Asahd" Is DJ Khaled’s "Illmatic": Everything We Learned From CRWN

When you’re DJ Khaled, you’re faced at each moment with finding more bombastic ways outdoing yourself— more bangers, more glitz, more superstar collabs, and more bass. With his last album, Grateful, Khaled built on the hype a nascent Snapchat career to relaunch his brand into the meme and Twitter generation. Except Internet virality has a short shelf life, and it creates peaks that are nearly impossible to ascend a second time. So on his eleventh studio album, Khaled chose to turn inward, centering his album on his son, again.

Father Asahd is an album that taps every top-tier musician in the R&B and hip-hop worlds, along with many newcomers. Listen and you’re guaranteed to find some your favorite artists mingling in DJ Khaled’s house party, perhaps a little unwillingly. The musical side the DJ Khaled brand has begun to tarnish, but the man shrewdly capitalizes on hype and publicity, so alongside the album he has a released a documentary showing how this album came together over the course a year. The documentary was released exclusively and at a screening in New York’s Apollo Theater. TIDAL followed by a live interview with Elliott Wilson.

Here are some the major takeaways from the documentary.

Diddy Thinks "Father Of Asahd" Is DJ Khaled's "Illmatic": Everything We Learned From CRWN

DJ Khaled, his wife Nicole Tuck and their son Asahd attend Nickelodeon’s 2019 Kids’ Choice Awards – Jon Kopalf/Getty s

DJ Khaled says he’s crazy for trying (successfully) to get Beyonce on “Top Off”

It took a little persistence, and a little wine, for DJ Khaled to cajole Jay-Z into getting on his hit “Top Off.” In his interview with Elliott Wilson, Khaled admitted to taking two bottles wine “to the head” and then playing Jay-Z the track f his hit song, which at the time only included Future’s verse. After Jay-Z sent the verse back to him, Khaled had the temerity to take the request a step further. He hit Jay-Z back, asking for “the queen” to jump on the track.

Puff Daddy believes Father Asahd will become DJ Khaled’s landmark album

DJ Khaled counts Puff Daddy among his biggest influences, as a musician, a businessman, and a father. So when Khaled sat Puffy and Nas down to listen to the album’s “You Stay,” which flips Puff Daddy’s “Señorita” he was visibly on edge waiting for the patriarch’s blessing. After listening to the project and the accompanying music video, Puff Daddy proclaimed that Father Asahd would be DJ Khaled’s Illmatic, “your] Life After Death.” Oouf. Do you agree with that bold statement?

DJ Khaled has essentially become an executive producer on his own albums

Although Khaled got his start as a DJ and continues to be listed as a producer on his albums, the documentary portrayal his artistic process never shows the man himself behind the computer. Instead, Khaled has become a celebrity curator, telling his sound engineers (whom deserve a lot credit) and collaborators the kinds arrangements and sounds he wants to hear on each track. There’s nothing inherently wrong with this, but it was refreshing to see Travis Scott jump into the production chair and do the work on his own contributions to the album with a verse on the song “Celebrity.”

Khaled is a loving father, but it’s still hard to see how the album connects to fatherhood

Large portions the documentary are devoted to scenes Khaled and his wife, Nicole Tuck, doting on their son, the album’s namesake. For all the photoshoots and time spent introducing his son to Khaled’s celebrity friends, we never get to hear Khaled’s thoughts on fatherhood, on the role his son has played in his life, the way it has changed his music. When asked, he’s prone to throw some platitudes at you and suggest that the answers are to be found in the content his verses, but a successful articulation the issue remains elusive.

Nipsey Hussle continues being honored in DJ Khaled’s projects

When DJ Khaled released the music video for the song “Higher,” he did so in honor Nipsey Hussle, who is featured on the song and appeared in its music video. Prits from the single’s release will go directly to supporting Nipsey Hussle’s children. DJ Khaled devoted a moment his documentary to describing how the song came together. Following a long conversation about minority ownership and systemic racism, Nipsey Hussle recorded his verse, which DJ Khaled said contained the exact same ideas and content that they had discussed just minutes before.

DJ Khaled’s musical ambitions have grown to an international scale

Khaled knows his biggest strength: He is just ingratiating enough, and just trustworthy enough to produce hits, that every performer will give him a shot— and more than ten it works out for everyone involved. In creating the song “You Say,” DJ Khaled revealed that he deliberately sought to reach out to the Latino world and “touch people’s soul and bones,” hence his collaboration with J Balvin. Just as crucial to this album were Sizzla and Buju Banton, who literally took this project to Jamaica. “I felt like I was in Kingston, but in my studio,” Khaled said after recording Sizzla’s track. The documentary includes footage DJ Khaled shooting his music video for the song “Holy Mountain” and mingling with locals in Jamaica. 

Aaron Rodgers Roasts The "Game Of Thrones" Finale In Epic Rant

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is a big fan  Game Of Thrones and even got have his very own cameo in the penultimate episode the series. Much like many the fans the show, Rodgers was disappointed by how the show ended. Some felt like the show was rushed, while others thought the writing was poor compared to previous years. 

Rodgers was one the people who was angered by the finale as he was asked about the show in a recent interview. WSIN News 12’s Stephen Watson tweeted out a video Rodgers’ answer that has since been deleted. In it, Rodgers was highly critical what he saw.

“I love the show and it was a great 10 years, but no,” Rodgers said when asked if he enjoyed the ending. “I mean, you come down to the end and Tyrion says the person with the best story is Bran, who by the way three episodes ago said he wasn’t Bran Stark anymore.”

Rodgers then proceded to give his own theory on everything that went down, saying a lot it didn’t actually make any sense.

“Here’s the thing, though, here’s my last theory,” Rodgers said. “If Bran, the three-eyed raven who’s all about the health the realm, let’s think about what he did. Basically wanted the Throne the whole time because he’s the one that told the Starks knowing that Sansa would tell Tyrion, knowing that Tyrion would talk to Varys, knowing they’d scheme for Dany’s death, knowing that would piss her f, which led her to be the Mad Queen. So, he the entire time had to set this whole thing up? And at the end, he goes, ‘I don’t want to be king, but why did I travel all this way to be here?’ No.”

Hopefully, Rodgers can give his Packers a better season finale next year then he got with Game Of Thrones.

Snoop Dogg Left Utterly Shook By "Game Of Thrones" Finale

Snoop Dogg has been riding with Game Of Thrones for a minute, so naturally, the Doggfather took a moment to catch up on the divisive finale. Given that everyone and their most tenuously-related cousin has an opinion on the epic saga’s conclusion, it’s surprising that Snoop managed to get through spoiler-free. On that note, spoilers for the Game Of Thrones finale will ensue, so if you’re uninitiated, be sure to tread lightly. 

That said, Snoop is displeased. So much so that he took to Instagram live during his initial viewing to express his disappointment with a specific plot development: the death Daenerys Targaryen at the hands her occasional nephew-with-benefits Jon Snow. Clearly, Snoop stood firmly behind team Targaryen, likely supporting Dany’s decision to bring “Fire and Blood” upon the people King’s Landing. As such, his disgust with Jon Snow is nearly palpable.

“Bitch ass n***a done killed the queen, cuz,” reflects Snoop, shaking his head.  “I’m mad cuz. Burn his muthafuckin’ ass. Son a fuckin’ bitch!” He signs f on a heated note, seeming simultaneously deflated and pissed f. “This n***a killed the queen cuz, mutherfucker!” It stands to reason that Snoop did not endorse Jon’s bittersweet fate, which found him riding f to experience a newfound life among the Free Folk. As Cersei once said all those years ago, “when you play the Game Thones, you win or you die.” 

Will Smith Gets Jiggy With It & Wears Suggestive Genie Lamp Costume On "Ellen"

It’s undeniable that Will Smith is one the most endearing entertainers in the industry. Earlier today he was a guest on Ellen, and from the moment he stepped on stage he made sure to give the screaming audience an interactive performance. Smith walked out to his 1998 Big Willie Style hit “Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It,” and instead letting the song fade as he took his seat, he proceeded to rap the first verse before the audience chimed in for the “na na” chorus.

The star was visiting Ellen to promote his film Aladdin that hits theaters this Friday. There’s been some criticism over his portrayal “Genie” as some diehard Disney fans can’t see anyone reprising a role that Robin Williams made popular. However, Smith made the role his own, drawing inspiration from both the late actor and hip hop.  

“The music is where I found my ‘in’ to the Genie,” Smith explained. “‘A Friend Like Me’ was the first song that I messed with in the studio and then I found that hip hop flavor.” He added, “I was like, ‘Oh, I can just use my Fresh Prince persona and use that ’cause the Genie’s been forward and back in time, so he can pull references from anywhere. So I mirrored that. The hip hop ‘in’ was where I saw I could put my own signature while maintaining the nostalgic value.”

Showing he’s dedicated to promoting Aladdin by any means necessary, Smith even came out dressed in a genie’s lamp costume that was slightly…suggestive. Smith quipped that this part the show would be edited out, but Ellen made it clear that it wouldn’t. The audience chuckled as Ellen kept looking at the costume. Then she said, “It’s been a while since I’ve seen a lamp so I don’t know what size it should be.” To wrap things up, Ellen wanted to help Smith get over his fear mice, and that, course, was yet another hilarious turn for his visit. Check it all out below.

Chris Brown feat. Nicki Minaj & G-Eazy ‘Wobble Up’

Show me love. Just in time for summer, Chris Brown unleashes the vibrant visual for “Wobble Up,” his collaboration with Nicki Minaj and G-Eazy.

Directed by Brown and Arrad, the colorful clip finds the trio on an island in paradise. Breezy shows off some killer moves alongside his crew and some twerking ladies in a neon-lit room. Queen Nicki rules her sand castle and heats up the screen while looking sexy in her summer fits. G-Eazy makes it nasty, decked out in pink on his beach chair with a bikini-clad model by his side. Plus, Tyga and viral sensation Dan Rue make cameos.

“Wobble Up” marks the third single, following “Back to Love” and “Undecided,” off Brown’s upcoming ninth album, Indigo, due June 21. The project is set to feature 30 tracks, with appearances from Justin Bieber, Tory Lanez, Tyga, Tank, H.E.R., Sage the Gemini, Lil Jon, Juvenile, Joyner Lucas, Gunna, and Juicy J.

Chris, who stars in DJ Khaled’s “Jealous video,” is also set to announce a joint tour with Nicki, which will kick off later this summer.

Watch the “Wobble Up” visual below.

A History Of Controversial Artwork In Hip-Hop

At its inner core, hip-hop is an image-conscious subculture. Whether that is expressed through high-end apparel, tricked out automobiles or audacious jewellery, the aesthetic is something that many artists allocate a great deal their time and effort to. A tool that’s used to elevate their stature in the rap game, the attempts to outdo and outdrip their peers has led many rappers to drop exorbitant amounts money– ten in the millions– on cultivating their look. Epitomized by Lil Yachty’s admission that he was once “addicted to buying jewelry,” what’s peculiar is that this meticulous attention to detail and resolve to best their peers doesn’t always extend to their music’s artwork. Whether it manifests in album covers or in merch, hip-hop has been plagued with an undercurrent shoddily thrown together packaging. For every iconic snapshot time such as Illmatic or Straight Outta Compton, there’s a cavalcade slapdash photoshop or uninspired design templates to go with it. A plight in both mainstream and struggle rap circles, some these fenders may have just fallen victim to the passage time and technological limitations whereas others have just taken an apathetic approach to their music’s visual presentation and viewed it as a troublesome obligation.

In other cases, hip-hop album sleeves or merchandise can take on a life its own for a vastly different reason in the form an outpouring controversy or backlash. A staple ever since 2 Live Crew and the image them flanked by four buxom women was deemed obscene in the state Florida, hip-hop artwork falling foul censors and even aggrieved artists has been a recurring event throughout the ages.

A History Of Controversial Artwork In Hip-Hop

J. Cole‘s “K.O.D.” album cover, by Sixmau

In what was a far cry from the lacklustre portrait that graced his debut album Cole World: The Sideline Story, J.Cole’s 2018 record K.O.D is the latest to weather a storm headlines. Rendered in a lavish colour palette, this depiction Cole as a king shepherding a gaggle drug-addled delinquents may have been controversial in the 80s but it’s not the content that has sparked debate recently. Although he’d signed f on its usage as an insert, Michigan-based artist recently conjured up a wave dispute after he claimed that Cole had been less than transparent about his plans for the illustration:

“I did all the creative direction for the KOD album and he told me my work was only going to be used for booklet art. Only to turn around and make merchandise illegally with my art behind my back and prit majorly f it while on tour. F**k them.”

In a move that’s at odds with Dreamville’s image as a haven for creatives, he’s far from the only globe-trotting artist to come under fire for alleged plagiarism or straight up theft. Over the past couple years, everyone from Chris Brown and Drake to Young Thug,Tekashi 6ix9ine and Kanye West have dealt with the contentious world copyright infringement. In the cases Lil Uzi Vert and Pusha T, the album artwork for Eternal Atake and Daytona embroiled them in surreal beefs with the remnants the notorious Heaven’s Gate cult and Bobby Brown respectively.

A History Of Controversial Artwork In Hip-Hop

Pusha T “Daytona” album cover, a photograph from Whitney Houston’s bathroom circa 2006

Inconvenient as these disputes may seem, Uzi running afoul a cult that committed ritual suicide in matching Nike Decades’ or Pusha incensing an ex-husband a late pop icon is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, history has taught us time and time again that hip-hop artists gaining the ire the establishment through artwork has granted them the sort organic publicity that money simply cannot buy. With Cole’s fracas as yet unresolved, there’s an avenue to examine some the most infamous cases controversy-courting artwork in hip-hop and how these skirmishes gave these hotly-debated album covers and designs a life their own.

While 2 Live Crew’s obscenity case set a precedent for hip-hop defying middle America’s values, their gaudy cover art wasn’t the first to spark uproar. Ice-T caused tensions to rise when he posed alongside DJ Evil-E and then-girlfriend Darlene Ortiz, who was not only dressed seductively but wielding a machine gun, for his Power album cover. As innocuous as this would be today, this image was far from commonplace at the time and led to claims that he was “perpetuating stereotypes” and glorifying violence. While the pinnacle his time as a source moral panic was still to come with 1993’s “Cop Killer,” his similarly named LA-based peer would cause pandemonium with a far more galling image. As if Ice Cube’s file at FBI headquarters wasn’t already bustling by 1991, he was about to find himself the subject a state-wide ban. The release his sophomore solo project Death Certificate in March that very year was a turning point for Cube in more ways than one. Anarchic and unrepentant in its lyricism, an album with such strong convictions came complete with a similarly stark piece artwork. Given its scathing examination societal injustices in America, the image Cube hovering over the Uncle Sam’s toe-tagged corpse in the morgue is a fitting representation the music that awaits you. However, this proved to be far too inflammatory for Oregon’s local government. In conjunction with boycotts and calls for its removal from stores across America, the Beaver state took things to overzealous levels by imposing a blanket ban on any image Ice Cube in a retail outlet. As a result, Cube’s advertisements with St Ides malt liquor were consigned to the trash heap. Despite their best efforts to raise trumped-up moral panic, it didn’t stop the album from going platinum within two months hitting the shelves.

A History Of Controversial Artwork In Hip-Hop

Ice-T’s “Power” album cover, photographed by Glen E. Friedman

At a time when suburban America’s apprehension over supposed gangsta rap was at an all time high, this same reactionary terror would work wonders for artists from across the nation. In 1993, the MC then known as Snoop Doggy Dogg became a totem hip-hop’s cultural ills for one the most persistent anti-rap activists. Decried as a “motherf****r” by 2pac on “How Do U Want It,” C Delores Tucker led a band her fellow concerned elder stateswomen in defiance Snoop’s debut album Doggystyle. In a report from The Washington Post, news writer Paul Farhi described a scene at the site one her public condemnations the genre’s direction:

“Loudly competing with shouted slogans like “Our women are queens — they’re not ‘hos, they’re not bitches” were The Wiz’s blaring outdoor speakers and construction noise from across F Street. Protesters took turns holding up a poster the XXX-rated comic-book-style cover gangsta rapper Snoop Doggy Dogg’s new album, Doggystyle.”

A History Of Controversial Artwork In Hip-Hop

Snoop Dogg‘s “Doggystyle” album cover, by Darryl ‘Joecool’ Daniel

Unwilling to stop there, the album cover was also enlisted as evidence during a hearing on “Commerce, Competitiveness, and Consumer Protection.”

Snoop is far from the only man to prit from outrage. Provocative covers such as Geto Boys’ We Can’t Be Stopped, which featured an image Bushwick Bill making his way through the hospital after he was shot in the eye by his girlfriend, the Christlike iconography 2Pac, or in this case, Makaveli’s, posthumous album The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory and Master P’s Ghetto D all got that extra boost notoriety due to the anger and abhorrence they whipped up. In the case the latter, the album originally known as Ghetto Dope featured an image a man inhaling deeply from a crack pipe. After it was pulled from shelves, he trimmed down the title and replaced the cartoonish drug use with a hastily patched-together replacement. Nevertheless, the album went to number 1 and is 3x platinum as 2006.

Rather than these incidents being a relic the ’90s, their modern-day counterparts have heeded the example their forebearers on numerous occasions. In a sterling example hip-hop’s awareness controversy as a marketing implement, the man behind Kanye West’s mythical creature sex from My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy has said that the response it elicited was not just fully anticipated but the preferential state affairs.

According to artist George Condo, he was commissioned to devise “eight or nine paintings” for West and that he was in the pursuit “something that will be banned.”

While Kanye may have allegedly incurred the top brass Walmart with the cover, his “Wouldn’t Get Far” and “Crack Music” collaborator The Game took it upon himself to anger an even higher authority just two years on.

Crafted by artist Mike Saputo, the cover the Compton rapper’s fourth album Jesus Piece sees its namesake reimagined on stained glass with a teardrop tattoo, red bandana and chain. Although he’d later unveil a less sacrosanct sleeve, The Game spoke his intention and the fallout that he incurred from none other than a Christian institution:

“The Roman Catholic Church called Interscope and it got really crazy. That was my plan, That album cover was always the deluxe album but I put it out first because I knew what it was going to do controversy-wise. It did what I wanted it to do and everyone was pissed f.”

Whatever the conclusion J. Cole’s intellectual property altercation with Detroit’s Sixmau may be, it’s abundantly clear that controversy never hurt the mythology that surrounds a hip-hop record and if anything, can add a unique dynamic to its longevity.