Kanye West Spent $85,000 on Photo of Whitney Houston's Drug-Covered Bathroom for Pusha T's Album
Kanye West is once again courting controversy.
On Tuesday, the “Power” rapper, 40, revealed the new cover art for Pusha T’s upcoming album DAYTONA – which West produced.
The new release’s cover features a contentious photograph of Whitney Houston‘s bathroom taken secretly by a family member in 2006 as the late singer struggled with drug addiction.
And, Pusha T has revealed the image cost West a lot of money.
The rapper told Entertainment Weekly on Thursday that the album art “definitely does match the energy of my album.”
“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 continued. “Looks at that cover, I’m sure whoever frequents that bathroom or area knew whatever they wanted to find and knew where it was.
Pusha T, 41, appeared on The Angie Martinez Show on Wednesday to promote his album, which comes out Friday and revealed West had called him with last-minute changes to the cover’s artwork.
“He changed my artwork last night at 1 a.m. He wasn’t feeling it,” the rapper told radio host Angie Martinez. “[Originally], the artwork — it was pictures that we all agreed on.”
“He picked the photographer, I took these pictures, I was like, ‘Yo, these are fresh.’ I picked all of these pictures out, he had a little edit to it, how he wanted the actual grading of the picture to look. Picked the picture, great, we look, boom, boom, boom, it’s good.”
Despite their agreement on the artwork, Pusha T said that all changed when West called him in the early morning hours.
“One a.m., my phone rings. No caller ID. [He says,] ‘Hey, yeah, I think we should change the artwork. And I like this other artwork. And this other artwork is 85 grand,'” he recalled.
“I said, ‘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 continued, adding West told him, “‘No, this is what people need to see to go along with this music. Imma pay for that.’ I say, ‘You my man! You my man!'”
The “Mercy” rapper said that while the change began as a surprise to him, he quickly took to West’s idea.
“I love it, I actually do love it. [But] I absolutely did not want to pay for it,” he said, laughing.
In 2006, the National Enquirer featured the photo showing Houston’s bathroom filled with drug-covered spoons and drug paraphernalia on its cover.
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It is understood West paid to license the photograph but it is not clear if he paid the Enquirer or Houston’s sister-in-law Tina Brown, sister of the singer’s ex-husband Bobby.
Houston was found dead in a bathtub at The Beverly Hilton hotel in 2012. The icon’s death was ruled an accidental drowning, with heart disease and cocaine use also to blame. In August 2012, her autopsy stated she also had marijuana, Xanax, Benadryl and other medication in her system.
Pusha T’s album will be the first that West has produced from his Wyoming studio, where he is currently recording his own album.
On Thursday, West thanked fans on Twitter for their support on DAYTONA, tweeting, “Daytona is the first project out of Wyoming. I’m 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. 🙏🙏🙏.”