Drake and Kanye West both credited people accused of abuse as songwriters on their new albums, benefiting men like R. Kelly and Marilyn Manson

Drake and Kanye West both credited people accused of abuse as songwriters on their new albums, benefiting men like R. Kelly and Marilyn Manson
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  • R. Kelly
    R. Kelly
    American singer, songwriter, and record producer
  • Kanye West
    Kanye West
    American rapper
  • Drake
    Drake
    Canadian rapper, singer and actor
  • R. Kelly is credited as a cowriter on Drake's new album, "Certified Lover Boy," released on Friday.

  • Kelly's "Half on a Baby" is sampled on the "TSU," which means he could get royalties.

  • Marilyn Manson, another person accused of abuse, has writing credits on Kanye West's new album.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Drake's long-awaited album arrived on Friday with a motley crew of contributors - including R. Kelly, the R&B singer who's on trial in federal court over sex-trafficking charges.

Kelly's 1998 single "Half on a Baby" is sampled in "TSU," the eighth track on "Certified Lover Boy."

To be clear, Kelly is neither a featured artist nor a collaborator. The credits for "TSU" include eight cowriters, including Kelly, who is the only lyricist and producer credited for "Half on a Baby."

(Note: Drake's "TSU" also appears to sample two more songs: 'N Sync's cover of "Sailing" by Christopher Cross and "Until the End of Time," which was written and produced by Justin Timberlake, Timbaland, and Danja. They are all also credited as cowriters.)

Because Drake's song clips the violin recording from Kelly's single, the latter is entitled to a writing credit - and, therefore, to royalties.

It's extremely common for hip-hop producers to sample old instrumentals. It's also standard for the original authors of a sample to receive a share of the new song's revenue, in addition to a one-off licensing fee.

Much of that share will typically go to the artist's label. Most of Kelly's hits appear to be covered by a publishing deal that Kelly signed with Zomba, which Universal Music Group acquired in 2006, according to Billboard.

But as the lead or sole lyricist on most of his songs, Kelly is still entitled to a chunk of royalties. A report from Billboard indicates he's been trying to sell his publishing catalog, but prospective buyers are wary of being associated with someone accused of abuse.

r kelly
Kelly during a 2019 hearing. Antonio Perez/ via AP Pool

Even though Kelly didn't have a direct hand in the creation of 'TSU,' he could still benefit from the year's most hotly anticipated album

Drake is one of the biggest rappers. "Certified Lover Boy" is all but guaranteed to be a commercial hit. It's unclear how much Kelly stands to be compensated from this sample.

The resulting royalties could go toward Kelly's growing legal fees and debts, as well as toward awards to his accusers, but whether the money goes into his pockets is irrelevant to some critics. Drake's open association with Kelly has been read by many critics as apathy - or worse, complicity - toward the allegations against Kelly. (Kelly has pleaded not guilty to all charges.)

"By sampling that song, Drake is letting R. Kelly stay relevant when he doesn't need to," the journalist Ernest Owens wrote on Twitter. "A lot of people are now going to go back and listen to 'Half on a Baby' because of Drake. R. Kelly is back in the conversation again because of an unnecessary sample add that didn't need to happen."

Drake has also collaborated repeatedly with Chris Brown, who pleaded guilty to felony assault after punching and choking Rihanna in 2009. He has since been accused of assaulting several more women, sexual battery, and rape.

Brown pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault in 2014 after punching a fan seeking a photo with the singer. He denied assault and domestic violence accusations in 2016, 2017, and 2018. He filed a false-accusation complaint after he was questioned on an allegation of rape in Paris in 2019 and released without a charge. He has not addressed the most recent battery allegation against him.

DaBaby Kanye West Marilyn Manson
DaBaby, Kanye West, and Marilyn Manson at West's "Donda" livestream event. Brian Prahl/MEGA/GC Images

Drake isn't the only A-list rapper who's willing to credit someone accused of abuse on his album.

Last week, Kanye West was widely criticized for welcoming Marilyn Manson to his livestream event in Chicago.

Manson, whose real name is Brian Warner, has multiple sexual-assault cases pending. His ex-fiancée Evan Rachel Wood, who began dating the singer when she was 19, has alleged he groomed and "horrifically abused" her for years. She is one of more than a dozen women who have accused Manson of abuse.

Manson called Wood's allegations "horrible distortions of reality." A member of Manson's team told The Cut that he "vehemently denied any accusations of assault."

Manson is credited as a cowriter for "Jail, Pt 2," the 24th track on West's new album, "Donda." And Brown was credited as a cowriter for "New Again."

Much like Kelly, Manson and Brown are poised to benefit from West's much-hyped album, whether it's financially or in terms of reputation and exposure. With the allegations attached to these men, fans are bound to question whether they deserve to.

Read the original article on Insider

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