Kanye West and JAY-Z are longtime business partners, collaborators, and friends. But on Sunday, rumors about issues in the rapper's working relationship emerged. According to TMZ, Kanye West is reportedly leaving Tidal over a money dispute and the streaming platform may level a lawsuit against him. Bustle has reached out to representatives for JAY-Z, Kanye West, and Tidal for comment, but did not receive a response. With rumors like this, many fans are left to wonder if Kanye West and JAY-Z still friends period. A major celeb like West leaving the Tidal family probably would not be good for business, and if these reports prove true, it's hard to imagine the stars' relationship could remain during a contentious legal battle.
Fans have gotten pretty used to great things coming from this duo; their co-produced album Watch The Throne was a hit in 2011. Since then, the two have guest-versed on each others' tracks and performed around the world together. It's unfortunate that the rappers would forego such a successful creative relationship over alleged financial disputes, but the report in TMZ claimed that Yeezy has been unhappy with Tidal for a long time. The rapper reportedly said he is owed $3 million, as the company allegedly failed to pay a bonus on his most recent album Saint Pablo or allegedly did not reimburse him for music videos acquired by the service.
TMZ's sources claim that lawyers from both sides tried to resolve the conflict, but when no agreement was met, Kanye's lawyer reportedly tried to terminate the artist's contract. Tidal is reportedly holding the position that West didn't deliver the music videos, and the company reportedly plans to sue the artist if he walks away from their exclusive contract, according to TMZ.
Of course, reports of this legal dispute come days after the release of JAY-Z's 4:44. The opening song on the Tidal-exclusive album features a verse that has been interpreted as Kanye diss. JAY-Z raps the following on the track "Kill JAY-Z."
But you ain't a Saint, this ain't KumbaYe
But you got hurt because you did cool by 'Ye
You gave him 20 million without blinkin'
He gave you 20 minutes on stage, f**k was he thinkin'?
F***k wrong with everybody?" is what you sayin'
But if everybody's crazy, you're the one that's insane
It's unclear if this dig has anything to do with Kanye's alleged financial battle with Tidal, but according to US Weekly, Ye's decision reportedly came before the release of 4:44. The rapper has not publicly made a statement about the verse, although some sources claimed that Kim K wasn't pleased by the track.
This also comes in the wake of a rant Kanye gave on stage in November 2016. “JAY-Z — call me, bruh,” West said, according to US Weekly. “You still ain’t called me. JAY-Z, I know you got killers. Please don’t send them at my head." The rapper also reportedly addressed Beyoncé, referencing when he spoke out against the singer's loss to Taylor Swift at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards and claimed that she would only perform if she won Video Of The Year over him. The stars were reportedly spotted out together soon after the performance, and it was presumed that JAY-Z, Beyoncé, and Yeezy remained on good terms.
Could this alleged lawsuit signal the end of JAY-Z and Ye's long lasting professional and personal relationship? The friends have feuded and made up in the past, but it's difficult to say what a future full of financial lawsuits would bring for the two high profile stars.