Two giants of hip hop released highly anticipated albums last week, though for some reason both decided to collaborate with very controversial figures.
Kanye West finally unveiled Donda to the public after a series of listening parties and delays, while Drake released his Certified Lover Boy yesterday, September 3, after much hype and speculation.
While both artists frequently collaborate with others, some of the guests on Donda and CLB have raised more than a few eyebrows, and it isn’t because of their musical prowess.
Kanye’s controversial guests, most notably Marilyn Manson and DaBaby, were to be expected after he brought them both out during a listening party in Chicago. Manson is currently being sued by a number of women for sexual assault, while DaBaby faced severe criticism after making homophobic remarks.
Meanwhile, on CLB, Drake has listed disgraced RnB singer R. Kelly as a songwriter on his track TSU. Though Kelly didn’t directly help in the songwriting process, the use of a sample from his 1998 track Half on a Baby means Kelly will be benefitting financially from the song. As a result, his portion of the royalties could be going towards his legal fees during his ongoing trial for sexual abuse and bribery, among other charges.
‘Drake is letting R. Kelly stay relevant when he doesn’t need to… R. Kelly is back in the conversation again because of an unnecessary sample add that didn’t need to happen,’ journalist Ernest Owens wrote on Twitter.
While some samples will be cleared with a one-off payment, as the lead or sole lyricist from the song sample Kelly could be entitled to royalties from Drake’s track, Insider reports.
Both Drake and Kanye have also collaborated with Chris Brown – Drake appeared on Brown’s track No Guidance, while Brown is listed as a vocalist on Kanye’s Donda track New Again. In 2014, Brown pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault after punching a fan and has also been accused of domestic violence in 2016, 2017, and 2018. In 2019 he was questioned over the alleged rape and released without charge. He has denied the domestic violence accusations and filed a false accusation complaint after the rape allegation.