Kanye West reportedly paid $85,000 for the rights to use an image of Whitney Houston’s drug den as the cover art for rapper Pusha T’s upcoming album, Daytona.
In an interview with Angie Martinez, Pusha T revealed Kanye scrapped the artwork for Daytona at the last minute and replaced it with the famous photo of Whitney’s drug-strewn bathroom inside her mansion at the Country Club of the South gated community in suburban Johns Creek, Ga.
“1 a.m., my phone rings, no caller-ID,” Pusha told Martinez. “[Kanye says] ‘Hey, yeah, I think that we should change the artwork. I like this other artwork.’ Now this other artwork is 85 grand. 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.'”
Pusha said Kanye offered to pay for the expensive image out of his own pocket, because Kanye believes the image is “what people need to see to go with this music.”
Kanye is a marketing genius, but Pusha was not impressed with the music producer’s vision for his album artwork.
“Ummm, it’s a picture,” Pusha explained. “It’s a picture. It’s just a picture that to license it worldwide is 85 grand. I’m not really too, too, too entrenched in the art world like that. I’m just going to let him do that thing. And he’s paying for it.”
The famous photo was taken by one of Bobby’s sisters in 2006. The family member claimed she sold the photo to the National Enquirer to serve as a wakeup call for Whitney.
Photo by Jerod Harris/Getty Images