Is Zayn Malik Legally Barred From Releasing Solo Work?

by | PopCrush
Zayn Malik
Ian Gavan, Getty Images

As Zayn Malik fans know, the world was treated to a leaked remix of Rae Sremmurd’s “No Type” on Monday (June 15), featuring his smooth vocals on the refrain. Zayn has kept silent on all things related to the song — when he recorded it, why it hasn’t gotten an official release, whether it’s actually him or some extremely talented Zayn impersonator — but Billboard confirmed that it was the real deal. Clearly his vocal cords still work, so why haven’t we heard more from him?

Naughty Boy, always a man of many words and tweets, immediately disavowed any involvement in the leak. “That had nothing to do with me or Zayn, something was stolen from the hard drive that had nothing to do with the rapper involved,” he tweeted on Monday. You may remember that Naughty Boy also leaked a demo with Zayn back in March, so evidently the producer truly does consider himself the gatekeeper of all things Malik-related.

The aforementioned “rapper involved,” Mic Righteous, fired back to counter Naughty Boy’s claims a day later. In a lengthy Facebook post, the MC truly put the “struggle” in “struggle rapper,” lashing out in frustration over perceived slights from labels and Naughty Boy himself.

In his explanation-cum-rant, he says, “Tbh I got songs with Zayn, i got songs with Emeli Sande, Jay Electronica, Nas, (the list goes on) the reason i never released it is cos i was waiting for a deal.” After realizing he was stuck in limbo after 18 months, “I got fed up of waiting And took matters into my own hands regardless of repercussions, leaking that song with Zayn was a way for me to set the fact that I’m doing this independently in stone.” A classic bridge-burning leak, basically.

Mr. Righteous denies the version of events that has him stealing a hard drive, saying the three of them worked on the song together. But the UK rapper wasn’t done venting — he followed up with another Facebook post, in which he made a very interesting claim: “Zayn wants the tune out, he ask me to be on the song, shah (naughtyboy) told me that his label wont let him release any music for the next two yrs.”

When Zayn left One Direction, the NY Daily News reported that Simon Cowell had retained rights to his solo album’s release on Syco Music — but there was no concrete word as to when it would be released. If what Mic Righteous is saying is true, this means that there’s a legal agreement barring Zayn from encroaching on his former bands’ chart turf until 2017. Say it ain’t so! And if it is so, is Naughty Boy telling an alternate version of events on Twitter to avoid the legal ramifications of discussing Zayn’s agreement with Cowell and Syco?

Feel free to wildly speculate over this info in the comment sections, and pray for more leaks and/or official music from Zayn before 2017.

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Next: Zayn Malik's 'No Type' Cover Is a Must-Hear