The first of the four separate albums Kanye West has promised from his label G.O.O.D Music finally dropped on Friday with rapper Pusha T’s “DAYTONA.”
Produced entirely by Mr. Kim Kardashian West, the seven-song collection has already been hailed as Pusha T’s “best album in years,” but, of course, where West goes, controversy will follow. Look no further than the album’s cover art.
While Pusha T originally intended to use multiple photos for the cover, West apparently insisted that they use a photo of the late singer Whitney Houston’s bathroom in disarray.
Taken by one of Houston’s family members without her permission in 2006, the photo, which includes various drug paraphernalia, was sold to the National Enquirer amid the singer’s well-publicized struggles with drug addiction.
And as for the price of licensing such a photo? $85,000, according to Pusha T.
“1 a.m., my phone rings, no caller-ID. ‘Hey, yeah, I think that we should change the artwork. I like this other artwork.’ Now this other artwork is 85 grand,” Pusha T recalled West saying on “The Angie Martinez Show” earlier this week.
“Hey, I don’t want to pay for that. And I wasn’t even going to ask you to pay for that. We picked what we picked. It’s here, it’s ready,” he said responded to West.
“No, this what people need to see to go along with this music,” he said West told him. “I’ma pay for that.”
But the Bronx-born rapper had nothing but positive things to say about the last-minute switch-up.
“I feel like the cover represents an organized chaos. The energy of the album is a bit chaotic, but it’s all in place,” he explained to Entertainment Weekly. “Looking at that cover, I’m sure whoever frequents that bathroom or area knew whatever they wanted to find and knew where it was.”
Houston died at age 48 in 2012, accidentally drowning in a bathtub with additional complications of heart disease and cocaine use. Three years later, Houston’s daughter, Bobbi Kristina, 22, was found unresponsive in a bathtub, and died six months later.
HuffPost has reached out to Houston’s estate for a comment, as it’s unclear whether West paid the National Enquirer or a family member to license the photo.
On Thursday, West celebrated the impending the release of the album, writing that he’s “really proud of what we put together.”
“We’ve spent a year and a half digging for samples and writing,” he continued. “I really appreciate the overwhelmingly positive response that we’ve been receiving. 🙏🙏🙏.”
The next album on West’s docket is his own. The follow-up to 2016’s “Life of Pablo” will arrive on June 1 and feature seven songs.