What does the future hold for Kanye West? The iconic and controversial hip hop artist is now attempting to secure his freedom in the face of EMI's efforts, in the words of his court papers filed on Thursday, that could "tie him to an exclusive publishing agreement that could last for years, if not his entire life." And the next few months could be a turning point, holding the possibility on one hand that West scores a renegotiated deal while on the other, the prospect that he could be forced into some sort of career limbo.
To quickly recap the background here, West filed suit in January against EMI in California with the contention that he's been "laboring" for the publisher since 2003, when he signed a "lopsided" contract during the recording of College Dropout. To escape a contract that explicitly forbids him from retiring as a songwriter, recording artist or producer, West argues that the repeatedly re-upped contract is illegal under California Labor Code section 2855, which limits personal service contracts to no more than seven years.
EMI has filed in its own lawsuit against West. Hoping to adjudicate the dispute in New York, the publisher alleges that West has breached his deal, specifically the clause in his contract that provides New York with the exclusive jurisdiction to handle this type of controversy.