NEWS

  • London drivers could have to pay £27.50 a day Congestion charge, Congestion charge could be expanded into Clapham, Stockwell, Peckham, Lewisham, Wandsworth

    A deal to provide emergency funding to Transport for London (TfL) could rely on the expansion of London’s congestion charge zone.

    Currently, the congestion charge operates in central London, covering the same area as the capital’s ultra-low-emission zone (ULEZ).

     

    However, an initial bailout from the Government in the wake of the coronavirus crisis has already seen prices increased and its hours of operation extended.

    It now applies from 7am to 10pm, seven days a week, while drivers must pay £15, rather than £11.50, to enter the zone. 

    At the time, TfL described that as a ‘temporary’ price increase as a result of a funding agreement between the Government and the transport authority.

    It secured a £1.6 billion bailout from the Government after warning it could have to cut services.

    TfL has asked for a £5.7bn package to prop up services for the next 18 months, after passenger numbers and revenues have fallen after the March lockdown.

    An interim funding measure was agreed for the next fortnight with ministers last Friday, but the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has hit out at Government proposals for further TfL funding.

    He labelled the plans “ill-advised and draconian”, and warned it would “punish Londoners for doing the right thing to tackle Covid-19”.

    The extension to the £15 congestion charge zone would go live in October next year, when the expanded ULEZ is also introduced due to be introduced covering the same area.

    It would see the zone expanded to cover approximately four million more Londoners.

    The Mayor also says that the Government wants to increase TfL fares by more than RPI+1%.

    A further Government proposal is to introduce a new council tax precept charge in the capital ­­– effectively increasing council tax by an as yet unspecified amount for all Londoners, regardless of whether they use public transport, claims Khan.

    He said: "I simply cannot accept this Government plan, which would hit Londoners with a triple whammy of higher costs at a time when so many people are already facing hardship.

    "The Government should be supporting Londoners through this difficult time – not making ill-advised and draconian proposals which will choke off our economic recovery.

    "Ministers already forced TfL to bring forward proposals to increase the cost and hours of the congestion charge in May – now they want to expand it to cover four million more Londoners.

    "They also want to significantly increase fares in London and hit all Londoners with a regressive new tax.

    "It is clear that difficult choices lie ahead to plug the huge gap the pandemic left in TfL's finances. I have been ready to talk with Government about how the necessary funds can be raised – but a proposal which singles out Londoners for punishment is completely unacceptable, as well as making no economic sense.

    "I urge Ministers to come back to the table with a revised proposal which does not punish Londoners for doing the right thing to tackle Covid-19 – and to publish their review into TfL's finances in full. I remain ready to talk."

    The Department for Transport (DfT) says talks over a settlement were ongoing.

    London's drivers could soon be forced to stump up £27.50 each day as part of a Government bailout of TfL.

    Sadiq Khan claims ministers are demanding he extends the £15 congestion zone to the North and South circulars as a condition for financial support.

     

     

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  • Skepta, JME, Julie ... are the Adenugas Britain's most creative family?

    Skepta, JME, Julie ... are the Adenugas Britain's most creative family?

    Skepta, JME, Julie and Jason – the four Adenuga siblings – are laughing as they remember building a go-kart as kids, raiding the factory next door for crates and pallets, their father’s toolbox for screwdrivers and bolts, wheels from a discarded pushchair, and making steering mechanisms from string.

    “If you wanted something and it wasn’t there, you just made it,” says Jason. When they finished, they dragged their kart to the top of a hill by the estate, and Skepta remembers, “going down there with the biggest joy in my heart”, thinking to himself: “This life, man, you can just make what you want. You don’t need to buy anything.”

    That has been the guiding mantra for a family who could lay a claim to the title of the most creative clan in Britain. In the past decade, the two older brothers and famed MCs, Skepta and JME, steered grime’s second wave, helping to build the success of British rap via their record label Boy Better Know. They have played huge stages at Glastonbury and Wireless, while Skepta has won the Mercury prize, scored three Top 3 albums, launched his own fashion brand and been the subject of tabloid dating gossip from Naomi Campbell to fellow Tottenham star Adele.

    Julie, the third-born child, swiftly went from presenting on Rinse FM to being announced as one of three main presenters on Apple’s radio station Beats 1. The youngest sibling, Jason, was a producer on Skepta’s album Konnichiwa and, as a graphic designer and artist, has made album covers for both his brothers. A new memoir by their mother, Ify Adenuga, Endless Fortune, explains how they got here. It was drawn from diaries she kept about “any little culture shock I experienced” as a Nigerian immigrant bringing up her kids on a London council estate.

    Today the family of six, completed by husband and father, Joseph Sr, are gathered around a table in a photo studio. The children arrived in tracksuits and shorts, their parents in regal traditional Nigerian dress. “When I read the book,” Julie says, “I realised that Mum was a person. You haven’t changed, I know you as ‘Mum’, but you’ve been like this from early – it’s always been you.”

    The early chapters capture memories of Nigeria sinking into civil war. Ify was 10 when the country fractured along ethnic lines in 1967: the Igbo people and other ethnic groups in the south and eastern regions seceded, calling their new country Biafra. Her early chapters are a frank account of that chaotic period, as her Igbo family fled Lagos for their homelands with 13 of them in the back of a pickup truck, Ify cramped under a tarpaulin hearing Nigerian soldiers at checkpoints telling her father: “Shut up or I’ll shoot you.”

    The fighting stretched over two and a half years, claiming more than 100,000 lives. A Nigerian blockade cut Biafra off from food, aid and oil. Ify remembers how “there was nothing to eat”, how farmers “tilled the land, two or three consecutive seasons going”, until “nothing would come out of it”. Villages in the new Biafra were haunted by kwashiorkor, a severe case of malnutrition that swells the stomach and slowly kills those who have it, including two of Ify’s siblings.

    An estimated two million people died of starvation, a time so bereft of hope that Ify remembers how young men fled the villages to join the Biafran resistance on the frontlines, the wail of missiles a reprieve from the slow death of hunger and famine. In Endless Fortune, Ify writes: “Death became the boogieman that visited us every other week to steal one of us … I almost lost the will to live.”

    When the war was over and Biafra surrendered, uneasily reuniting Nigeria, Ify moved back to Lagos for work before flying to the UK in 1980. She hopped between relatives, cleaning the Bank of Illinois in the City of London for £11 a week. Those relatives advised her to head home, warning her London would be harder than Nigeria, but she enrolled to study business management and met Joseph when both worked shifts at the Top Rank bingo club. By the early 90s they were married with four children, living streets away from the Broadwater Farm estate where riots had broken out in 1985. “We didn’t know what a socially deprived area meant,” she says. “It didn’t register with us – we were just there to get a job and look after our kids.”

    Nonetheless, Ify writes that “it was difficult at times to keep the roof over our heads”. Struggling to meet mortgage payments, they lost their first home in Tottenham and were rehoused by the council on the nearby Meridian estate. Growing up, the Adenuga house was a Nigerian enclave in 90s Britain: brooms were woven from straw, and their father would DJ house parties into the early hours. Skepta says of that time: “The moment you step out of your house, you step into a different world. Your friends, the people around you, they could live next door to you, it doesn’t matter, they don’t understand what’s happening behind that door.”

    Skepta in concert.
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     Skepta in concert. Photograph: Dave Burke/Rex/Shutterstock

    As the eldest, he was handed “this big chore”, he says, “to have an understanding of both lines. It took me so long to navigate through that – going outside, having that life, then coming inside and having this life.” Julie also remembers the frustrations of low-income living, her frustration at being unable to replace broken dishwashers and vacuum cleaners, thinking that “life is getting long because we don’t have money”.

    Early in the millennium, grime was emerging, evolving out of UK garage and drawing on Jamaican sound system culture to become the soundtrack of Britain’s inner cities. When the sound took hold in north London with pirate radio stations such as Heat FM, boys from Meridian – JME and Skepta among them – were on the frontlines. Their freestyles and radio sets were captured on grainy DVDs, their skittish flows throwing up portraits of their lives as they sliced through growling, often Skepta-produced instrumentals.

    Jason would see his brothers build beats on their PlayStation and soon followed, at the same time developing a love of drawing that he has “held forever”, after finding a folder JME had of anime drawings and feeling like “this is what I want to do: drawing and copying all day”.

    Their creative gifts flourished – Ify tells of the boys flying in and out of the house to pirate radio sessions and gathering with friends in the front room, reciting lyrics deep into the night. Julie studied performing arts, feeling that “my creativity didn’t manifest in the way that these three did. Part of me is a little bit sad about it. They did it kind of blindly, like it didn’t matter what else was going on. I felt like I always had to protect everyone and be of service. As much as I didn’t want to stand out as the only girl, I couldn’t really do anything about it – I ended up being the middle child who is the facilitator.”

    JME on stage in 2009.
    Pinterest
     JME on stage in 2009. Photograph: Ollie Millington/Redferns

    They inherited their creative spark from their father, who had studied architecture, and as a child in Nigeria would craft yo-yos from beer cans and string. “Back home there was no money – you don’t get toys,” he says. Growing up, the kids watched him build things from scratch, such as a desk for Julie, and repairing fridges and freezers. “They got all that skill, knowledge, creativity from him,” Ify says, sat next to her husband. “They got their personality and being themselves from me.”

    JME continues: “What Mum and Dad gave us was the power of imagination. There was so many things that they imagined and made happen. Now, if I’m in my house and I want to lay the garage flooring down, I just look on YouTube and think, ah, I’ll just do it myself.”

    Throughout their careers they’ve expressed the nuanced realities of Nigerian life in Britain. In 2007, Skepta covered the classic west African highlife song Sweet Mother, infusing the gentle percussion-led productions with jittery grime, and rapped about Nigerian delicacies in 2019 on Greaze Mode: “I’m gonna need some palm wine / I’m gonna need some pepper soup.”

    When Skepta’s fourth album, Konnichiwa, won the Mercury prize in 2016, Ify was by his side on stage in traditional Nigerian attire, the kind of clothing usually reserved for African hall parties and weddings. A couple of years later, in 2018, when Julie presented the music outlet GRM Daily’s annual Rated Awards, she wore the same.

    Julie at Wireless festival in 2018.
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     Julie at Wireless festival in 2018. Photograph: Tabatha Fireman/Getty Images

    Recently, the Adenuga family have deepened their roots. On a trip back to Nigeria, Skepta was ordained as a chief in his father’s village. He remembers seeing young boys dangling their legs from the top of freight trucks driving the roads into the village, and it made him reflect on the life his father had left behind. “That was the last level I needed to make both outside and inside the house make sense,” he says.

    Ify and Joseph Sr are grandparents – JME and Skepta have daughters. Julie, who has left Apple Music and started her #JuliesTop5 music discussion series on YouTube, describes their births as “the two happiest days of my life”. They all remember an afternoon in late 2018 when the boys broke the news of the pregnancies. Skepta arrived at the home to tell the family, followed a few hours later by JME and his wife, who were unaware of what had happened. When the coincidence set in, Julie was crying and Ify was on the floor. Joseph Sr stood in the kitchen, shaking his head in disbelief, thinking: “This is mad.”

    “It was spooky,” Jason says. “That day was a real life thing, it peaked.” Skepta adds: “It was almost like the feeling when someone dies that’s close to you, but the opposite, and it’s two people.”

    JME was typically calm amid the melee. To raise his daughter, he says, he’s pulling on the values he was raised with, using “all the positives from my childhood. You don’t need to buy your kids a life, you literally just build it with them.”

     Endless Fortune by Ify Adenuga is co-published by Boy Better Know and Own It!, RRP £18.99. To order a copy for £16.52, go to guardianbookshop.com. Free UK p&p on all online orders over £15.

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  • We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude.

    When life has to be a certain way in order to be good enough for us, we close ourselves off from so many of the real and present opportunities available.

    On the contrary, when we let go of the way it “should be,” we free our minds to deal with life’s unexpected changes, challenges and chaos in the most effective way possible…

    We create space for acceptance, learning and growth.

    We learn from our mistakes and the mistakes of others.

    We see the world through an unbiased set of eyes.

    And gradually, we allow ourselves to step forward with more peace of mind.

    With that said, I don’t always let go when I need to. I don’t always have a clear and focused mind. Because I’m only human, and human beings have the tendency to hold on too tight. Sometimes life slaps us really hard and we attach ourselves to the pain, even when we know better.

    When I’m holding on too tight, I can really feel it in my gut. I feel anxious, frustrated, irritated, and upset. There’s an aching for things to be different than they are ...... a feeling of rejection or betrayal or hopelessness.

    I’m sure you can relate. We’re all struggling through this one together, in our own unique way right now. And the vast majority of our torment is the result of being caught up in whatever story we’re telling ourselves about how life “should” be.

    So for starters, here’s what I try to keep in mind…

    Quotes and Reminders to Let Go of “How Life Should Be”

    1. We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our attention and gratitude. How often do you pause to appreciate your life just the way it is? Look around right now, and be thankful… for your health, your family, your comforts, your home. Nothing lasts forever.
    2. Some of the most powerful moments in life happen when you find the courage to let go of what can’t be changed. Because when you are no longer able to change a situation, you are challenged to change yourself ......... to grow beyond the unchangeable. And that changes everything.
    3. Letting go isn’t forgetting, it’s remembering without fear. It’s stepping forward with a present mind and a lesson learned. So just remind yourself right now: you are not your bad days, you are not your mistakes, you are not your scars, and you are not your past. Be here now. Be free.
    4. Forgive yourself for the bad decisions you’ve made, for the times you lacked understanding, for the choices that hurt others and yourself. Forgive yourself, for being young and reckless. These are all vital lessons. And what matters most right now is your willingness to grow from them.
    5. Be selective with your energy today. If you can fix a problem, fix it. If you can’t, then accept it and change your thoughts about it. Whatever you do, don’t attempt to invest more energy than you have, tripping over something behind you or something that only exists inside your head.
    6. Life is change. You must accept the fact that things may never go back to how they used to be, and that this ending is really a new beginning.
    7. Even though you cannot control everything that happens, you can control your attitude about what happens. And in doing so, you will gradually master change rather than allowing it to gradually master you.
    8. Every difficult life situation can be an excuse for hopelessness or an opportunity for growth, depending on what you choose to do with it.
    9. In the midst of particularly hard days when I feel that I can’t endure, I remind myself that my track record for getting through hard days is 100% so far. (The same is true for you, too.)
    10. Too often we waste our time waiting for a path to appear, but it never does. Because we forget that paths are made by walking, not waiting. And we forget that there’s absolutely nothing about our present circumstances that prevents us from making progress again, one tiny step at a time.

    First Steps for Coping with Unfavorable Outcomes

    Reflecting on the reminders above can be incredibly grounding when life doesn’t go as planned. But what can you do if the immediate tension inside you is spiraling out of control?

    • Acknowledge the tension inside you. – If you notice yourself getting angry, it’s a sign that you need to pause, take a deep breath, and practice the remaining steps.
    • Resist the urge to act in haste. – The greatest harm comes whenever you act out of anger ....... actions that might include giving up too soon, consuming unhealthy substances, or even attacking someone else. So whenever you notice anger building up inside you, try not to take any form of destructive action. Instead, turn inward and mindfully assess whatever it is that’s arising.
    • Sit with your feelings, and give them space. – Turn directly towards the tension you feel, and just be a witness. See it as something that’s passing through you, but is NOT YOU. It’s a feeling, a dark cloud passing across a vast sky, not a permanent fixture. Treat it that way. Instead of obsessing yourself with the dark cloud’s presence, try to broaden your perspective — give it the space it needs to pass. Sometimes you need a little distance to see things clearly again.
    • Be OK with not knowing. – Now that you’ve given yourself some necessary space, tell yourself, “I don’t know why things are this way.” And be OK with this unknowing. Give yourself full permission to not have concrete answers in this moment. What would it be like to allow this moment to unfold without knowing? What is it like to not know what’s going on in the hearts and minds of others? What is it like to not know how to respond to life’s chaos? What is it like to be here right now, without jumping to conclusions?

    The bottom line is that when life dishes you a harsh dose of reality, the best first steps involve sitting silently and witnessing the thoughts passing through you. Just witnessing at first, not interfering and not even judging, because by judging too rapidly you have lost the pure witness. The moment you rush to say, “this is absolutely terrible” or “things should be different,” you have already jumped head first into the chaotic tension.

     

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  • Police officer shot dead at Croydon Custody Centre

    Police officer shot dead at Croydon Custody Centre

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    Flowers left outside Croydon Custody CentreImage copyrightPA MEDIA
    Image captionFlowers being laid outside Croydon Custody Centre where a police officer was shot by a man who was being detained in the early hours of Friday

    A police officer has been shot dead at Croydon Custody Centre in south London.

    The male sergeant was shot in the chest when a man, who was being detained, produced a weapon during a search. The suspect then apparently shot himself.

    The officer was treated at the scene overnight but died in hospital. A 23-year-old man is in a critical condition after being treated for gunshot wounds.

    Met Police Commissioner Cressida Dick said: "We are all deeply shocked and very sad."

    "I have visited and spoken to our officer's partner together with other colleagues and we are of course giving her the best support we can," said the Met chief.

    "My heartfelt condolences go to her, to their family, to his colleagues and his close friends.

    "A murder investigation is under way and officers are working at several crime scenes to secure evidence and to establish the facts of what happened.

    Croydon Custody CentreImage copyrightEPA
    Image captionA number of officers were stationed outside the custody centre earlier on Friday

    "Early indications are that the suspect shot himself, this has not yet of course been established as a fact."

    The suspect, who is believed to have been detained for possessing ammunition, has since been arrested on suspicion of murder.

    The victim is believed to have been a few weeks away from retirement.

    No police firearms were discharged during the incident, which happened at about 02:15 BST at the Windmill Road centre, the Met Police said.

    Prime Minister Boris Johnson, said: "We owe a huge debt to those who risk their own lives to keep us safe."

    In a post on social media he also said: "My deepest condolences go to the family, friends and colleagues of the police officer who was killed in Croydon last night."

    Officer holding flowersImage copyrightPA MEDIA
    Image captionFloral tributes were left at the custody centre by both police officers and members of the public

    Asked about how someone could enter the building while armed, Leroy Logan, a former Met Police superintendent, said: "It depends if that person was arrested outside the police station and has been transported in a vehicle.

    "There are circumstances where someone might turn up at the custody suite area itself and be led straight through.

    "So not knowing all the details - how this person got into the secure area of the station or whether it's outside the building or in the yard - we just need time to try and find out what has happened, because the details are very scant at the moment."

    Presentational grey line

    This appalling incident in Croydon appears to be absolutely unique - an officer shot by a man who was already inside a police facility - and the shock felt today underlines how rare it is for police officers in the UK to be killed by a suspect in the line of duty, relative to other nations.

    The Metropolitan Police officer shot dead in Croydon is the 17th from the force to have been killed by a firearm since the Second World War.

    But since the beginning of the 20th Century only 73 police officers have been shot and killed by criminals in the UK, excluding all deaths in Northern Ireland.

    The majority of those deaths - more than 50 - have occurred since 1945.

    Police officers in other parts of the world are often puzzled why British constables are not routinely armed. But the fact is that there are very few criminal guns in circulation - and the culture of policing has never seen it as acceptable to be universally armed.

    However, Tasers are increasingly a common sight in the UK - and a massive survey of police officers recently found three-quarters would carry one of the less-than-lethal devices on the frontline, if given the choice.

    Presentational grey line

    Yogarajah Emmanuel, 43, who runs a shop opposite the custody suite, said he woke up at 02:30 BST to the sound of sirens.

    "I looked out of my window and could see three ambulances," said Mr Emmanuel.

    Yogarajah Emmanuel
    Image captionYogarajah Emmanuel, who runs a shop opposite the custody suite, said he saw an ambulance speed away at 02:30 on Friday

    "There was noise and all of a sudden one ambulance from inside the car park came out and sped off.

    "This morning I heard it was a police officer and just felt so sad. They are all very good people and wave and say hello when they come to my shop."

    Latest updates on investigation into officer's killing

    The Reverend Catherine Tucker, who was at the centre earlier, said: "The action taken against the police is really unacceptable but I also feel sorry for the perpetrator."

    The reverend, who went to the centre to see if anyone needed prayer or support, added that she was "sadly not surprised" to learn of the shooting.

    Presentational grey line

     

    ForensicsImage copyrightREUTERS
    Image captionForensic workers were seen at the custody centre on Friday

    It's a cold and windy morning in south London and Met Police officers have been standing outside the custody suite doing something they dread - mourning one of their own.

    Several bouquets of flowers have been placed outside the building in memory of the man who was shot.

    Residents who live opposite have shared their shock and disbelief that such a tragic murder has happened so close to home.

    Forensic teams have been spotted in the nearby yard gathering evidence, while other officers can be seen inside the suite carrying on with their duties.

    Presentational grey line

    'Sick to their stomachs'

    Ken Marsh, chairman of the Met Police Federation, said news of the shooting was "utterly devastating".

    Police officers leave flowers outside Croydon Custody Centre in south LondonImage copyrightPA MEDIA
    Image captionPolice officers leave flowers outside Croydon Custody Centre in south London

    "Officers across London are in shock and sick to their stomachs at the nature of his death," he said.

    "Sadly, on very rare occasions officers make the ultimate sacrifice whilst fulfilling their role. When that happens we will ensure their bravery and sacrifice is never forgotten."

    The incident has been referred to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), which will lead an independent investigation.

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  • Kanye URINATES on Grammy

    Kanye URINATES on Grammy, declares 'Black Masters Matter' and says he 'can't be muted or canceled' after comparing the music industry to a slave ship and vowing not to release songs until he's freed from Universal and Sony contracts

    • Kanye West shared shocking footage of himself urinating on a Grammy Award on Wednesday
    • The rapper is enraged that most artists do not own their masters (the rights to their own work), and has been savaging the structure of the music industry
    • West wants to buy his masters from Universal, and is trying to get out of his contract with the label
    • He has vowed not to make new music until he owns his masters and is freed from various contracts he has signed over the years 
    • West's masters are likely worth hundreds of millions of dollars
    • Last year, Taylor Swift was left dumbfounded when her rival, Scooter Braun, snapped up the rights to her masters in a $300 million deal
    • Wife Kim didn't post on Instagram on Facebook on Wednesday as she 'freezed' her accounts to protest 'the spread of hate and propaganda' 

    Kanye West has shared shocking footage of himself urinating on a Grammy Award as he 'goes into battle' against labels Universal and Sony to try and retrieve the rights to his own music.

    The rapper, 43, posted the vision to his Twitter feed on Wednesday afternoon, which showed one of his 21 Grammys placed inside of a toilet bowl. 

    'Trust me... I WON'T STOP,' West captioned the clip, which referred to his current bid to gain ownership of his masters - otherwise known as the copyright to his original songs. 


     

    It came amid a Twitter rant that lasted several hours, during which he violated the social media site's code of conduct after he shared the personal contact details of a magazine editor he called 'a white supremacist'.  

    'If any of my fans want to call a white supremacist... this is the editor of Forbes,' West wrote above the phone number of the publication's editor Randall Lane. 

    West has repeatedly hit out at the magazine in the past for failing to label him as a 'billionaire'. Twitter took 30 minutes to hide the tweet with Lane's details, which has now been deleted. 

     

    Kanye West has shared shocking footage of himself urinating on a Grammy Award as he 'goes into battle' against labels Universal and Sony to retrieve the rights to his own music

    Kanye West has shared shocking footage of himself urinating on a Grammy Award as he 'goes into battle' against labels Universal and Sony to retrieve the rights to his own music

    West has won a whopping 21 Grammy Awards across the past two decades. He is pictured with three of the accolades back in 2005

    West has won a whopping 21 Grammy Awards across the past two decades. He is pictured with three of the accolades back in 2005

    In a separate tweet, the star also joked that his wife, Kim Kardashian, would represent him in legal proceedings.  

    Kardashian last year revealed that she was starting a four-year law apprenticeship under the supervision of attorneys Erin Haney and Jessica Jackson  

    However, the reality star has not yet commented on her husband's latest antics. 

    Kardashian is taking 24 hours off Facebook and Instagram to protest the spread of 'hate, propaganda and misinformation' on the social networks.

    West's current battle with his labels began on Monday, when he attacked the structure of the music industry, declaring that musicians actually had little to no power because record labels owned all of their work. 

    He took aim at his labels Universal and Sony and vowed not to release any new music until he was freed from his contracts with them.   

    West also referenced his wife, Kim Kardashian, by joking that she would be working as his lawyer as he seeks to free himself of his music contracts and gain control of his masters

    West also referenced his wife, Kim Kardashian, by joking that she would be working as his lawyer as he seeks to free himself of his music contracts and gain control of his masters 

    West's wife, Kim Kardashian, has not commented publicly about his bid to free himself of his music contracts. They are pictured together last November

    West's wife, Kim Kardashian, has not commented publicly about his bid to free himself of his music contracts. They are pictured together last November 

    What owning a master recordings means

    Owning an artist's master recordings has become more profitable with the rise of streaming services because it means less is spent on marketing, with users able to stream a back catalog at the touch of a button. 

     

    It's standard practice in the music industry for an artist to sign away the master rights to their recordings.

    In exchange, the contract will award the musician an advance and sales royalties.

    Artists including Metallica, AC/DC, Pink Floyd and Chicago have bought back rights to their music, but this is rare as it is a costly exercise. 

    ADVERTISEMENT
     

    In a stinging tweet on Tuesday, West also savaged the strict contracts that black NBA players were under, and stated: 'The music industry and the NBA are modern day slave ships. I'm the new Moses'.

    Taking to Twitter again on Wednesday morning, the rapper repeated the same sentiment, claiming: 'There is no NBA or music industry without black people... fair contracts matter... ownership matters.'

    West also shared the screenshots of a private contract he signed with Universal back in 2011, just minutes after he tweeted: 'I feel so humbled and blessed that God has put me in a strong enough position to do this ... Everyone keep praying.. It's working... I am on my knees this morning.' 

    He then appeared to address black artists directly, and claimed that there needed to be an overhaul in the business. 

    'We've gotten comfortable with not having what we deserve ... they [record labels] allow us to have a little money from touring, get some gold chains, some alcohol, some girls and fake numbers that feed our egos ... but we don't own our masters,' he wrote.  

    He further accused the media of 'trying to kill' black heroes, including Michael Jackson. 

    He also riffed on the Black Lives Matter movement, by tweeting: 'BLACK MASTERS MATTER'.  

    West is seen after scooping three gongs at the 2006 Grammy Awards. He now says the accolades mean nothing if he does not have ownership of his own work

    West is seen after scooping three gongs at the 2006 Grammy Awards. He now says the accolades mean nothing if he does not have ownership of his own work 


    Kanye West goes on Twitter rant to get masters back
     
     
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    During his Wednesday Twitter rant, West also stated that he was too powerful to be 'muted or cancelled' and declared that he was rich enough to buy his masters from Universal and Sony. 

    'Universal won't tell me what my masters cost because they know I can afford to buy them,' he taunted in a tweet shared shortly after 6am PDT. 

    West has a reported net worth of $1.3 billion. The cost of his masters is likely to be upwards of $300 million. 

    Back in 2018, Scooter Braun bought Big Machine Label Group for that price, acquiring almost all of Taylor Swift's masters in the process. 

    West went on to share a number of Biblical verses, before writing: 'I KNOW MY LORD AND SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST WILL MAKE FOOLS OF AND PUNISH ALL WHO HAVE PARTICIPATED IN UNFAIR CONTRACTS'. 

    He added: 'I will do everything in my legal power and use my voice until all artist contracts are changed, starting with getting my masters for my children. I will not stop, I promise you. I am petty and very personal.' 

    He further claimed that the bid to own his masters was to ensure the future financial security of the four children he shares with Kardashian. 

    Referencing his daughter, North, he stated: 'She will be able to do nothing but put up emojis for the rest of her life because my children will own my masters.' 

    During his Wednesday Twitter rant, West also stated that he was too powerful to be 'muted or canceled' and declared that he was rich enough to buy his masters from Universal and Sony

    During his Wednesday Twitter rant, West also stated that he was too powerful to be 'muted or canceled' and declared that he was rich enough to buy his masters from Universal and Sony

     

    On Monday, West hit out at the fact most artists do not own their masters. 

    'In the streaming world master ownership is everything... that is the bulk of the income ... in COVID artist need our masters,' he wrote. 

    'Artists are starving without tours ... Ima go get our masters ... for all artists ... pray for me.' 

    Later in the day, he reportedly tried to contact Universal and Sony about being released from his contracts. 

    The following day he shared a text conversation on Twitter about possibly taking legal action against Universal and Sony after failing to hear from them. 

    In the actual text conversation, the individual who could be a lawyer writes: 'Meaning that we can argue that Universal and Sony have not supported you fully. And that as a result they have breached. This is the lawsuit/termination nuclear option.'

    The individual continues: 'If we went that route we would litigate and ask for your masters as part of a settlement. This is a high risk but high reward strategy.'

    At some point, West and the individual spoke about Taylor Swift and the controversial $300million deal that Scooter Braun, who manages Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande, struck in order to obtain her master recordings in 2019. 

    'Re masters ownership we can look into buying. But if Taylor's [Swift] cost $300million yours would cost a lot more I assume. Remember that if you re-recorded these songs you could own these new masters outright,' the person speaking with West wrote. 

    'A much more radical consideration would be to propose an entirely new relationship or joint venture with Universal. One that is equal and not one sided. I am not sure you are interested in that. But if [sic] could be a Yeezy Media/Universal joint venture play but one where you have the power,' the person continued. 

    In response to those text messages, West responded: 'I'm not open to any form of business with Universal or Sony.'

    The incident comes following his failed bid for President - a move which prompted many armchair experts to say he was in the midst of a bipolar episode. 

    West first acknowledged his bipolar disorder in 2018, a condition that is associated with episodes of mood swings ranging from depressive lows to manic highs and can be controlled with medication.

    Kardashian hinted last month that his struggle with bipolar was to blame for his recent erratic behavior, that has seen him embark on the unlikely bid for presidency and get emotional at his first campaign rally in South Carolina while discussing abortion.

    The following day he shared a text conversation on Twitter with a person who appeared to be a lawyer. The conversation revolved around West about possibly  taking legal action against Universal and Sony to get out of his contracts
     

    The following day he shared a text conversation on Twitter with a person who appeared to be a lawyer. The conversation revolved around West about possibly  taking legal action against Universal and Sony to get out of his contracts 

    On Monday night, West declared himself to be the 'new Moses' and proclaimed the music industry to be 'modern day slave ships'

    On Monday night, West declared himself to be the 'new Moses' and proclaimed the music industry to be 'modern day slave ships'

    On Monday, he announced he would not be putting out any more music until he was finished with his contract with Sony and Universal

    On Monday, he announced he would not be putting out any more music until he was finished with his contract with Sony and Universal

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