Virginia rapper Pusha-T’s latest album, Daytona, released May 25 via G.O.O.D. Music, has unleashed some intense backlash for what some believe is crude cover artwork. The controversial cover photo depicts late singer Whitney Houston’s drug-covered bathroom sink taken on the night of her death in 2012.
Kanye West, who produced the album, reportedly switched the cover art for the album at 1 am on the morning of its release after paying $85,000 to license the photo. Pusha-T told radio host Angie Martinez that the photo of Houston’s bathroom was not the original artwork, but that West changed it at the last second because he, “wasn’t feeling it.”
According to Rolling Stone, Houston’s estate was extremely disappointed in West’s decision to change the cover. “Even in Whitney’s death, we see that no one is exempt from the harsh realities of the world,” said her estate in a statement to ET on Tuesday. In an interview with Rolling Stone, Houston’s ex-husband Bobby Brown called the album cover disgusting, and said that West, “needs somebody to slap him or something.”
Prior to the release of the album, Pusha-T also escalated his long-running feud with Canadian rapper Drake. The dispute finally boiled over with the release of “Infrared,” the final track on Daytona where Pusha-T calls out Drake for using ghostwriters in his songs. Drake fired back on the same day with “Duppy Freestyle,” in which he calls Pusha-T a hypocrite since his producer, Kanye West, has publicly acknowledged his use of ghostwriters. Drake was a credited songwriter on West’s Life of Pablo.
The altercation intensified on Tuesday when Pusha-T posted a 2007 photo of Drake made up in blackface, and released a diss track called the “The Story of Adidon,” which claims that Drake fathered a child with porn star Sophie Brussaux.
The disagreements surrounding Pusha-T’s new release are eerily similar to the manufactured publicity stunts that often accompany West’s album and product releases. West is adept at stoking strong emotions from his fan base to ramp up publicity and create fodder for gossip columns.
The controversy did not stop there, however. According to Ian Sams, a communications manager for Senator Tim Kaine, who took to Twitter, the controversy has even taken hold in the UK with press outreach asking Kaine to weigh in on the drama.
For those who were unaware of how these things connect: Kaine campaigned with Pusha-T in Florida during Hillary Clinton’s run for President in 2016.
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