LL COOL J Talks about Owing His Masters

Music craft is a strange enterprise. Just because you compose a song doesn’t mean that you own it. You could be the best-selling act to ever live and yet only see a portion of the earnings your work generates.

That’s where issues of masters step in. Most individual who owns the “masters” of music is technically the lawful owner of that music. They are the ones who can choose how it is used. Also, they can choose how the artist is compensated in terms of residuals. Famously, Taylor Swift re-recorded an entire album to claim ownership of it after she was incapable to buy her own master.

Throughout history, artists have long battled to control their music. Furthermore, there are countless instances of this being manipulated by the owners of an artist’s masters.

“Yeah, I own my masters,” Cool J told the Million Dollarz Worth of Game podcast, “I got my catalogue back just before 2000. And, you know, it just worked out well. So now, if you hear an LL COOL J song in a movie, or if you hear my song in a commercial, I’ve licensed that song.” Legendary Queens emcee LL Cool J’s work can be heard just about everywhere in popular culture. However, it’s not just about the cash for Cool J, it’s about the principle of making music.

“But that’s a blessing, you know? There but for the grace of God, you know what I’m saying? It just worked out. I got a lot of bites at the apple. And I was born to do what I’m doing. I’m not a dude that’s just doing Hip Hop because I’m doing it. Do you know? I was born to do it,” Cool J stated. While the fund is likely very nice from a catalogue as prolific as Cool J’s, his words resonate as to why he owns his work. It’s blood, sweat, and tears on those tunes. While he isn’t in the game to make funds, if there is money to be made, he deserves to be the one to make it.

© 2023 • Story By Edem Latsu Nukafu
Writer’s email: edemlatsu093@gmail.com

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