Lil Yachty has nonchalantly shrugged off perceived verbal jabs from J. Cole and real slights from actor and aspiring rapper Shia LaBeouf. The Atlanta rapper’s seeming indifference about his publishing rights raised questions after a profile for The Fader gave some the impression Yachty didn’t know about his publishing rights.
“I don’t think I signed my publishing,” Yachty said in an interview for The Fader with Duncan Cooper. “I don’t know who my publishing is signed to. I really don’t. But this year I met with everybody. Every label. So I went to Rick Rubin’s house in Malibu. There’s no nothing there—there’s just work. I got to record. That’s where I met D.R.A.M., working on his own stuff. We recorded “Broccoli” in L.A It’s his song, but I’m glad to be a part of it.”
The “publishing” in question would seem to be music publishing rights that ultimately determine the share of royalties an artist receives for their work. Hip Hop is littered with tales both true and exaggerated of artists being unaware of their publishing rights or voluntarily signing them away. In the case of Yachty, he is listed under his government name (Miles McCollum) as one of the primary composers on each song listed on his Lil Boat album. However, as Yoh points out in a deep dive published by DJBooth.com that initially questioned Yachty’s statement about his publishing, there could be more to the story.
In laymen’s terms, an artist can assign their portion of a copyright in any given song to a publisher. That publisher can hypothetically collect all of the revenue from a song or album on an artist’s behalf and pay the remaining balance to the artist. From an artist’s standpoint, Yachty potentially not knowing if anyone is collecting the money from his work on his behalf is troubling. Equally troubling is the prospect of someone potentially collecting a larger share of that money than they are traditionally entitled to. The rapper may be potentially missing out on money that is rightfully his, which probably not something to be nonchalant about.
“He’s signed to [Quality Control], it’s possible QC handles his publishing as well, especially if he signed a 360 deal,” noted Yoh. “This is something he needs to know, publishing is a big part of how an artist generates revenue through their music.”
Read the full Fader profle here.