Lil Wayne, the US rapper who once boasted he’d shelve retirement plans for US$25-$35 million, is looking for a big payday through the oft-travelled legal route.
Wayne is seeking US$40 million in actual damages in his long running dispute with Cash Money, which he claims has withheld advances and conspired to prevent him from seeing any profits from his fostering of successful Young Money acts such as Drake and Nicki Minaj.
The hip-hop artist filed an amended petition in a New Orleans court targeting Cash Money and its co-owners Bryan “Birdman” Williams and Ronald “Slim” Williams and adding Universal Music Group, the world’s biggest music company.
In his lawsuit, Lil Wayne asserts that Cash Money has yet to pay him a promised US$8 million advance on his upcoming 12th album Tha Carter V and that he hasn’t seen the vast sums of cash generated from the Young Money label, which was created in 2003 and for which he claims partial ownership and a portion of profits generated by its artists.
Where the legal action gets really interesting is in his reps’ argument he was being actively shortchanged by the labels.
The paperwork claims that “Cash Money and Universal colluded to enter into two letter agreements,” one of which “purported to expand Universal’s rights and compensation regarding the distribution and exploitation of Drake recordings in which Plaintiffs have a one-third ownership” and the other which “purported to grant to Universal rights usurping or infringing up Plaintiffs’ rights of management and participation in the Young Money Label,” according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Wayne who was the subject of a 2009 documentary The Carter, got his crossover into the pop world when he teamed up with Justin Bieber and others on DJ Khaled’s global hit I’m The One, which debuted at top of the ARIA Singles Chart in May.
With the latest flare-up in his battle with Cash Money, Wayne is seeking the appointment of a liquidator for the label’s assets, a permanent injunction, and the right to release his hotly anticipated album however he so chooses.