[list] 5 Artists That Hated Their Label

Some of our favorite rages against the music industry machine (does not feature Rage Against The Machine).

- Nov 2, 2012

Turns out the union of Death Grips and Epic Records made about as much sense to them as it did to us: Death Grips have been dropped, and the partnership that was always either going to be a stroke of genius or a royal fuck-up fell decidedly in the latter category. It's the end of a music industry meltdown played out on Facebook, where the band leaked their latest album NO LOVE DEEP WEB and posted subsequent emails from the label. The messages from Epic were stern, yet exasperated and even hurt, and painted Death Grips's rebellion as that of a shitty teen smashing their XBox the day after Christmas because playing Halo online isn't as fun as he thought, rather than your typical narrative of artist against corporate suits. Whether or not Epic should have seen this coming is pretty secondary to the troubling possibility that they will now probably be a lot more hesitant to put LA Reid money behind a band as unique and talented as Death Grips.

So in honor of this weird thing that happened, we've put together a brief list of some notable band/label conflicts that preceded the Death Grips/Epic fuckery. Enjoy!



When the Purple One wanted out of his contract with Warner Brothers, he sped up his output to fulfill his obligations, and made appearances with the world “SLAVE” scrawled on his face. Subtle.


Neil Young

After signing to Geffen based on his legendary rock n'roll credentials, Neil Young delivered two albums before they sued him for making music “unrepresentative” of the brand they signed. That music consists of an album of Gary Numan-flavored electro (1982's Trans) and Everybody's Rockin' wherin the Crazy Horse frontman experimented with rockabilly. Geffen lost, btw.


Sex Pistols

The seminal punk band was tossed around by just about every label in England, but the best label conflict also coincided with the height of their notoriety. After some TV presenter baited them into swearing on TV, a tabloid-bred firestorm exploded, and the band were suddenly radioactive. EMI dropped them, and the band responded on their first and only LP with the acerbic “EMI.”



Lord Willin' was tipped as a classic hip-hop LP before it's release, and that reputation had awhile to build thanks to Jive's constant delay of its release date. This irritated Malice and Pusha-T no end, and referenced the label's malfeasance in “Mr. Me Too



Free of their contract, Thom Yorke and co left EMI without much fuss. That is, until the label put out the inevitable Radiohead Best Of without the band's input or consent. The legendary band stated that they would never release a greatest hits record, because they've never had any hits, which is a pretty good point.

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