Jay Z Says There Is No Incentive For Labels To Promote An Artist's Last Album


On Tuesday, Dec. 21st, Rob Markman hosted a Twitter Spaces with Alicia Keys and Jay-Z to celebrate Alicia's latest album, "Keys." While most of the takeaways from that discussion centered around Jay-Z comparing Beyonce to Michael Jackson or if anyone can beat him in a Verzuz battle, my interest was piqued when Jay-Z shared his thoughts on artists fulfilling their contracts.

The discussion came up when it was revealed that with "Keys," Alicia has fulfilled her major-label contract

Jay Z and Alicia Keys On Twitter Spaces

and is now free at, free at last, thank God almighty free at last, or as most people call it - independent. So with that, she asked Jay-Z about recording his last album with a major.

Jay-Z first congratulated Alicia and noted, "the fact you were signed to a label for 20 years is, you know, an amazing thing in itself, but the fact that you were able to complete your contract; not many people have been afforded that. That rarely happens for someone to maintain relevancy through a contract like that."

He then went on to explain his thought process when it came to artists dropping their final project for a label, "The record label doesn't have any incentive to promote an artist who is no longer going to be signed to their label, at least in the way deals are structured."



When he spoke on this, I immediately thought of two artists: Nicki Minaj and Megan Thee Stallion. Both have albums dropping in 2022, and both are fulfilling their contracts with their labels. Now, even though Megan is not on a major label, the concept of an Indie label not wanting to help an artist who will most likely not resign with them still stands, especially in Megan's case.


In Nicki Minaj's situation, she is releasing what many call the 5th thing-thing," however, I am speculating that the "Beam Me Up, Scotty" re-release may have counted as an album. So this upcoming project is actually her "6th thing-thing," AKA her last "thing-thing."

First, let's acknowledge that if, in fact, this is Nicki's last album, she will be in rare air as one of the few artists who managed to fulfill their contract before the label shelved/dropped them, or they became so

Nicki Minaj Albums Keep Dipping With Each Project. That Can Be Considered A Flop In The Music Industry. Next Album Must Be A Hit.

disillusioned with the industry they quit.

With that said, Nicki Minaj needs this upcoming album to be a hit, and considering Jay-Z's perspective on labels and final albums, it makes me wonder how much support can Nicki expect from Republic? It already appeared she had a shoestring budget with Queen, and now with this possibly being her farewell project, what leverage does she have to get Republic to support her?

Nicki is constantly embroiled in scandal, her features no longer top the charts, and her label doesn't have a 360 deal to benefit from even if the music doesn't do good. Also, with everything being about the numbers, Nicki is expected to see another drop in album sales based on past data. So, her situation is definitely one to watch.


Megan's upcoming project is pivotal because she will either solidify her spot in Hip Hop or watch her piece of the crown slip from her hands. So, fighting 1501 and the sophomore jinx is not the ideal spot for her to be in, but that is exactly where she finds herself. We already know Carl is with the sabotage shit, but since Warner bought 300 Entertainment, what is unclear is how Warner views Megan. Is she competition that needs to be stopped or a missing piece to their female rap puzzle?

Megan Thee Stallion Avoids Sophomore Jinx And Is Carl Crawford Sabotaging Her With 1501.

Now, Warner is not new to Megan Thee Stallion. 300 Entertainment had their distro deal with Atlantic, which is under Warner. However, with Megan finishing her contract with 1501, who has a distro deal with 300, as Jay Z exposed, there is no incentive to make an artist bigger as they are on the way out.

Megan's leverage is that she is still in the early stages of her career. It will be in Warner's best interest to go all out for her in hopes they can woo her into signing with them directly. We see how they are attempting to control the market by collecting female rappers like game pieces. Warner has Erica Banks, Dreamdoll, and Saweetie. Their subsidiary, Atlantic Records, has Cardi B. Also, rumors of KenTheMan signing with Asylum Records, whose parent company is...you guessed it...Warner. So, getting Megan sets them up perfectly. However, their reputation is awful, and I would hate for Megan to go with them.


Both Nicki and Megan are not known for getting the best push, so it will be interesting to see if things get better or worse for both ladies.


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