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Jay Z Pulls A Majority Of His Catalog From Spotify

The mogul pulled the stunt without warning last week. 

Jay Z, hip-hop megastar, music business mogul, entrepreneur and, significantly, the co-owner of streaming music site Tidal, has seemingly deployed a "nuclear option" of sorts. This apparently was done yesterday (April 7) as he pulled his catalog from competitor Spotify.

A search today on Spotify showed only two collaborative albums with R Kelly listed: Unfinished Business (2004) and Best of Both Worlds (2002). There are now also only five singles, all collaborations: "N****s in Paris" (Kanye featuring Jay), "Numb/Encore" (Linkin Park with Hova), "All the Way Up" (Fat Joe and Remy Ma ft. French Montana, Infared and Jay Z), "Clique" (Big Sean with Jay Z and Kanye) and "Dirt Off Your Shoulders" (with Notorious B.I.G.).

Billboard reached out to Spotify and Jay Z and only heard back at press time from Spotify, which confirmed that "some of his catalog has been removed at the request of the artist."

The move comes as Tidal, the company Jay Z launched in 2015 and heavily invested in, remains a distant finisher in the opaque streaming marketplace. The self-proclaimed more artist-friendly service trails leaders Spotify (50 million subscribers as of last count), Apple Music (20 million at last official count) and Amazon (never says, but when bundled with Amazon Prime could be well over 10 million). Tidal's subscription numbers are thought to be under 3 million and perhaps on par with competitors Deezer and Napster.

In January, Tidal sold a 33 percent stake in the company to Sprint for $200 million, giving it access to the telecom company's 45 million customers.

Tidal launched in 2015 with sixteen artist investors in addition to Jay Z, including: Beyonce, Rihanna, Kanye West, Jack White, Arcade Fire, Usher, Nicki Minaj, Coldplay, Alicia Keys, Calvin Harris, Daft Punk, deadmau5, Jason Aldean, J. Cole and Madonna. Part of the service's allure is the exclusive content these superstar artists can provide.

Reports earlier today seemed to erroneously claim that Jay Z's catalog had similarly been removed from Apple, but albums including The Black Album, Vol. 2…, Hard Knock Life, Vol. 3: Life and Times of S. Carter, Kingdom Come and his last solo LP, 2013’s Magna Carta… Holy Grail, were all listed. His other albums The Blueprint and Reasonable Doubt, for which Hova owns the masters, are not listed but were previously removed.

One primary difference in the services that may have led Jay Z to remove the titles from Spotify and not Apple is the former's ad-based freemium tier which pays artists less in royalties than subscription tiers.

This article was originally published on Billboard.

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Jordan Peele’s ‘Us’ Is Expected To Make $64 Million Opening Weekend

Thanks to Us, Jordan Peele has another blockbuster on his hands. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the highly-anticipated horror flick starring Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke, Shahadi Wright Joseph and Evan Alex, is expected to have a $64 million opening weekend at the domestic box office.

Peele’s sophomore horror film earned an impressive $7.4 million on Thursday (March 21) night previews, and is forecasted to take in about $27 million from Friday sales. The film is also on pace to knock Captain Marvel out of the No. 1 spot at the box office.

Once final numbers are tallied, Us will likely snatch the third-best opening weekend record for an R-rated horror film behind It, which brought in a whopping $123.4 million, followed by Halloween’s $76.2 million opening weekend last year.

Aside from rave reviews and a genius promo run that included simultaneous screenings in major media markets, Us earned a 95 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

The film, set in the mid-1980s centers around a family of four who set off on a vacation that finds them confronting some familiar faces.

Peele recently spoke to VIBE about casting Duke (our April 2019 cover star) in the role of patriarch, Gabe Wilson. “I have to have somebody voice what the audience was saying,” he said. “In the case of Get Out, it’s Rod, like, ‘How have you not left yet?’ [In Us], Winston is largely that voice. There’s one moment where Lupita [Nyong’o] takes a step into the unknown, where black people [will think], ‘I don’t know.’ But to have Winston say, ‘Aaaand she left. Your mother just walked out of the car.’ That’s all we need.”

Duke also opened up about the intricacies of his character. “His function isn’t to see through the veil. His function is to tell the absolute truth how he sees it,” explained the 32-year-old actor. “He’s sometimes there to say the things that other people don’t want to say, but he’s also there to make fun of things to keep it from not getting too heavy, even though it’s real. That was my job. [Peele] respected that. I like to lean into functions. If I’m going to be your antagonist, I’m gonna really push you. If I’m gonna be your clown, funny guy, I’m gonna do that.”

Click here to read VIBE’s April 2019 cover story.

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Cardi B Explains Why She Wants To Trademark “Okurrr”

Cardi B hopes to secure as many “bags” as possible. In response to backlash and burning questions surrounding her decision to file to trademark “okurrr,” the 26-year-old rapper took to social media Friday (March 22) to defend her latest money move.

Since people tend to ask Bardi to use what has become her signature catch phrase, she figured that it was time to cash in. “You think I ain’t gonna’ profit off this sh*t? B*tch white folks do it all the motherf**king time,” she said. “So you gon’ be mad at me ‘cuz I want to get some motherf**king money?

“While I’m still hear I’ma secure all the fucking bags,” Cardi continued before adding that there are a “lot of ways to get rich” in 2019.

The Bronx native caught heat for wanting to trademark the word because she wasn’t the first to say “okurrr.” Cardi already revealed that she started using it after she heard Khloe Kardashian saying it, but the word was originally popularized in drag culture -- most notably by Rupaul’s Drage Race contestant Laganja Estranja, in 2014.

However, Rupaul attributed the word to Broadway actress, Laura Bell Bundy, who used it in YouTube skits dating back to 2010. In the skits, Bundy pretends to be a hairdresser named “Shocantelle Brown.”

Although Bundy caught criticism for her little character, which was deemed racist, she typically gets credit for bringing “okrrr” (different spelling) to the internet a full decade before Cardi made it mainstream.

No matter the origin, it looks like Cardi will be the only one profiting off of “okurrr.”

 

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#CardiB on why she decided to trademark “Okurr”

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Kanye West, EMI Working Towards Private Settlement

Kanye West and EMI could be close to settling their legal drama. Each party filed documents requesting a stay of the case to “explore the potential for a resolution,” The Blast reports.

West sued EMI in an effort to “gain freedom” from his contract, and to own his publishing. In the lawsuit, ‘Ye argued that his contract ended in 2010 under California law, which bars entertainers from being tethered to an agreement for more than seven years. The multi-Grammy winner, who signed the deal back in 2003, also accused the company of slavery because the contract doesn’t allow him to retire.

“Even if the contract were not lopsided in EMI’s favor (it is), even if its terms valued Mr. West’s artistic contributions in line with the spectacular success he has achieved for EMI (they do not), and even if EMI had not underpaid Mr. West what it owes him (EMI has), he would be entitled to be set free from its bonds,” the lawsuit reads.

EMI hit back with a countersuit filed in New York, instead of California. The suit pointed out that the 41-year-old rapper signed multiple contract extensions, in addition to accepting millions in advances.

According to The Blast, West and EMI now feel that putting a hold on the legal proceedings will be beneficial to both sides “and the Court by enabling the parties to engage in meaningful discussions in an attempt to resolve this action without having to incur the burden and expense of litigation and motion practice.”

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