Throughout his rise, FADER cover star Young Thug's label affiliation has remained in question. He's hinted at deals with Gucci Mane's 1017 Brick Squad, Future's Freebandz, and Birdman's Cash Money at various points, but actually he's been signed to Atlantic Records imprint Artist Partners Group since the fall of 2013 and he wants out. In a lengthy investigation for BuzzFeed, Naomi Zeichner explains.
Young Thug signed his first deal -- a binding production deal, likely entitling the label to exclusive rights to recording masters, videos, artwork, and name -- with his mentor Gucci Mane's 1017 Brick Squad in the spring of last year. When Gucci Mane landed in jail last September, perhaps thinking his contract was thusly void, Thug turned to Atlantic Records' imprint Artist Partners Group where he signed a "full-blown 360 deal" worth just $30,000, with $15,000 in advance, according to sources. (For reference: Kreayshawn singed with Sony for $1 million, A$AP Rocky for with Sony for $3 million, Chief Keef with Interscope for $6 million.) "If all had gone according to plan," Zeichner reports, "Thug could have put out up to six releases with APG and Atlantic’s support: two EPs released for sale on iTunes (but marketed, for the sake of approachability and authenticity, as 'mixtapes'), followed by four full-length albums."
APG was helping promote "Stoner" and working on plans for a never-released tape called #HiTunes when Gucci Mane produced paperwork evidencing his deal with Thug and things went off the rails. APG stopped sending Thug money, Thug cut off all communication with the label, and the contract signed last fall now hangs in limbo. Birdman has since come on as his manager, but it's unclear where things go from here for Young Thug. Read the rest of the story at BuzzFeed-- it's long and thoughtful, and full of insights into the tangled operations that are major labels these days.