On Monday 13 March 2017, hip-hop star Riky Rick trended the whole day after twitting that he has parted ways with Mabala Noise – a record label that signed him in 2016. While his decision to leave the stable didn’t come much as a surprise, many congratulated the rapper for making this bold move.
Hardly hours after this announcement, Mhlo Gumede – Mabala Noise Head of Communication was interviewed on Sowetan Live and pointed out that the hip-hop talent was still legally signed to the label.
Gumede denied that Riky Rick terminated his contract with Mabala Noise. He was quoted as saying: “Remember we have a contract in place? If you are asking me if the contract has been terminated or there is an amicable split between Riky Rick and the company where we sat down and discussed him leaving, the answer is no there has not been those sort of talks. We have a contract with Riky Rick that is still very much in place,”
From his response, the story here is simple… Riky Rick is still legally signed to Mabala Noise even though he announced his exit from the independent record label. What is likely to happen here is that, the label will refuse to give him clearance, forcing him to record whatever amount of albums still outstanding. If he had signed a deal that seeks to control certain aspects of his career, like artist management, taking bookings, merchandise and other elements then he must brace himself for an ugly party.
If he decides to defy the label and do things outside of the Mabala Noise family, the label will have the right to claim whatever he is doing as theirs. This will be guided by the type of contract he signed. If indeed Riky Rick is legally locked, this means the artist will have to eat a humble pie and sit with the label to negotiate an exit from his contact.
We just hope that whatever decision that the rapper takes, it will be best for his career because in most cases when an artist try to ignore their contractual obligation, it leads not only to loss of income but also self-assassination of career. And if indeed there is a binding contract in place that Riky Rick has to respect, then we just hope Mabala Noise will play part and negotiate in good faith – something that hardly happens in the music fraternity.