This year RA Scion and NYC producer Rodney Hazard clicked up via the internets to make The Sickle & The Sword. It's dope—the best stuff from RA since Common Market, and the most interesting, for my money; I wrote this about it:
RA Scion has a history of album-length collaborations with producers like Sabzi (Common Market), MTK (Victor Shade), and Todd Sykes (uh, RA Scion and Todd Sykes)—his latest, and perhaps boldest, sonic move is his newest album (The Sickle and the Sword) with New York–based producer Rodney Hazard. Hazard's gauzy, vaporous cloud-work suits the spirituality in RA's devotional bars.
Today, Industry Rule #4080-something was invoked, as RA Scion announced via his Facebook page that Hazard officially put the kibosh on selling the album:
the business of music is ugly.
I realize it's poor form to air your dirty laundry in a public forum, but sometimes you just gotta tell it like it is, and this is one of those instances..
yesterday Rodney Hazard and his management company, Blind Barber Productions, Inc., registered a formal complaint with our digital distributor and demanded immediate removal of The Sickle & The Sword from all online retailers, including iTunes, amazon, etc.. they're citing copyright infringement, claiming I've used Rodney's work without permission - as if I don't have a thread of emails about 75-deep chronicling the creation of this project from its conception to its release..
this supreme bitch move is the direct result of my refusal to sign a contract that was presented to me back in October by Rodney's manager, Andrew Kelley.. despite the fact they continually refer to the contract as a "standard producer's agreement," it's a 10-page antiquated fossil of a document that's poorly written, sloppily edited and impossible to understand.. I sent it to some industry folks I trust, they said "don't sign it." I told Rodney I didn't feel good about it, he offered to get his attorney on the phone to explain it to me.. I suggested instead that we draw up a more simplified, mutual agreement between us, splitting everything 50/50 - they refused..
and then this. we're taking our ball and going home..
Instead, Abeo is giving the album away for "free.99". Get it here.
fine, you don't want me to sell the album? i'll give the shit away for free.. sure, that's unfair to the folks who've already paid good money for a download, but i'll ask them to kindly consider the fact that i'm still making payments for the recording, mixing and mastering; still trynna recoup the expense of the video production and its release.. i'm the ONLY one who's invested any real capital in this project, and now I'm being arbitrarily denied the ability to sell it to make some of that money back.. talk about unfair..
fuck it - you win some, you lose some.. let my loss be your gain, friends - go to rascion.com and download the living shit outta this album, for free! share it with everybody you know, for free! it really is a great album - i'm hella proud of it even though i'm thoroughly disappointed my co-d turned state's witness.. fuckin' asshole..
major thanks to all of you who have supported this project - I sincerely appreciate you and i'm sorry if this whole thing leaves a bad taste in your mouth.. bottom line is I worked too goddamn hard on this album to just let it die, and I felt like offering an explanation to people who give a shit..
whatever - I've already said too much.. i'll leave you to get back to your own life drama now..
The Seattle Weekly posted an official response from Hazard:
It is quite unfortunate that our album had to be taken down as a result of certain obligations not being met. The contract we submitted (that the other party considers "unreadable") is written by a reputable lawyer that works at one of the leading entertainment companies in the country.
We approached the situation with total transparency and even offered free legal advice at our expense which was refused immediately. We received word that the other party wouldn't hire a lawyer therefore the contract was never even read by another member of the legal system. Our attempts at providing a document that protected both parties were dismissed and the only agreement we were approached with was a googled document that just had our names replacing another's.
I provided all the production and creative surrounding the album - in return - everything was submitted to the third party distributor without consulting us, giving us any login information to check the back end, or providing us with the correct publishing information. I never received any calls or text messages prior to the announcement and believe that the other party has been unprofessional every step of the way.
It's truly a shame that it had to come to this but I will learn from this and continue to make great music. I'm excited for the future.
Lastly, RA's response to Hazard's statement:
I don't dispute any of the claims made - there's no glaring contradiction between their account and mine, just a slightly different perspective on the truth.. I do take issue with the indictment that I somehow failed to fulfill my "obligations;" I did my part, pulled my weight and then some..
here's the rub, folks: we started this thing with a gentleman's agreement - an electronic handshake, if you will, and I've got the email from August 5th to prove it.. there was never any mention of a contract at all until Oct. 11th.. we can argue all day about the way the contract's written, but the point is moot when you consider the fact it wasn't the original understanding - we had an agreement, man to man, and they changed up the game plan in the fourth quarter..
it's not about the money, goddammit - it's about the integrity of your word.. I never gave those folks a single reason to doubt me, but they insisted on doing business their way.. call me unprofessional, that's perfectly OK by me - I have never in my natural born life intended to make music my career, I do this shit cause I love it..
in the end, it's our actions, not our words, that speak the truth about our character; no more talkin, it's time to do work..
Yeesh. This sucks to see, especially surrounding such a promising collaboration. Check the video for their "Constant" after the break: