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Anita Baker thanks Chance The Rapper for helping out in her recent masters dispute

By | Published on Tuesday 31 May 2022

Chance The Rapper and Anita Baker

Anita Baker has publicly thanked Chance The Rapper for helping her regain control of her master recordings after spotting him in the audience at a show in Las Vegas this weekend.

In a clip posted to Twitter, Baker is seen mid-performance saying: “Would you guys say hello to a friend of mine, by way of the music industry, and by way of helping me to get ahold and ownership of my master recordings?” She then pointed out Chance in the crowd, who stood up as the audience applauded and Baker declared: “Mr Chance The Rapper is right there!”

It’s not clear what role the rapper actually played in settling the dispute between Baker and her former label – Warner Music’s Elektra – although she was vocal about that dispute on social media last year, before announcing things had been settled in September.

In a tweet in March last year, Baker referenced the termination right under US copyright law, which allows artists to regain control of any copyrights they previously transferred – or “assigned” – to a business partner after 35 years, albeit only within the US. That said, there remains some debate as to whether that right applies to conventional record contracts, with some labels arguing that record contracts are not actually assignment deals, meaning there is no assignment to terminate.

Baker implied that Warner was making that argument as she sought to reclaim control of her rights – so much so, she urged her fans to stop buying or streaming her music. After stating that the termination right should now apply to her old Elektra released recordings, she added: “Unfortunately, they’re gonna make me fight for it – I’m prepared to do that”. She then urged fans to not “advertise or buy” her old tracks.

But then in September she tweeted above a picture of her old albums that “all my children are coming home – impossible things happen … Every. Single. Day. Gratefully”. She then added that her fans could now “stream on”.

As noted, quite what role Chance The Rapper played in all that isn’t known, and a subsequent Twitter exchange between the two musicians didn’t provide any more information.

“I saw one of THE greatest performances of my LIFETIME last night!” the rapper wrote of being at Baker’s show. “Thank you so much for being an inspiration and an icon to so many of us”.

“Had no idea you would be in our midst”, she responded. “Such a nice surprise. Brought tears to my eyes”.