In a move that will come as no surprise to anyone who's been following the situation, Epic Records confirmed that they are working to sever ties with Death Grips - the confrontational and sonically bruising hip-hop combo that has been doing virtually everything in its power to antagonize the label in recent weeks.
A rep for the label confirmed the following statement, which was first posted on Pitchfork:
"Epic Records is a music first company that breaks new artists. That is our mission and our mandate. Unfortunately, when marketing and publicity stunts trump the actual music, we must remind ourselves of our core values. To that end, effective immediately, we are working to dissolve our relationship with Death Grips. We wish them well."
While Death Grips were always an odd fit for a major label, the relationship's death spiral began a month ago today: The group followed up on a promise they had made on Twitter by leaking their sophomore album, No Love Deep Web , onto their website months before the release date planned by label Epic. When their website was shut down, the group blamed Epic; a rep for the label told Billboard.biz that it had nothing to do with the issues on [Death Grips'] site." The album popped up on SoundCloud shortly after.
Rather comically, the group topped BitTorrent's list of legally downloaded music at the time.
Just yesterday, the group posted emails they claim are between their manager and Epic Records after the album leak. The Epic email said it was "upset and disappointed, demanded the new music be taken from websites, the masters returned to the label and that the new album would not count "towards the Recording Commitment." The band posted the email with the comment "HAHAHAHAHAHAHA NOW F--- OFF."
The group is currently on a European tour; their publicist had no comment at press time.