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Lil Wayne sues Universal over his label venture with Cash Money

By | Published on Tuesday 29 March 2016

Lil Wayne

Lil Wayne’s ongoing legal battle with his record label partners was ramped up somewhat yesterday when he filed litigation against Universal Music, parent company of Cash Money Records, to which the rapper is signed, and with which his own label Young Money had a joint venture. Collecting society SoundExchange is also named as a defendant.

Following various legal wranglings with Cash Money itself over his long awaited album ‘Tha Carter V’, Wayne is now suing Universal over allegations it has taken his cut of the profits from records released by the Young Money label in order to repay a $100 million advance that the major paid over to the Cash Money record company.

However, says the litigation, Wayne is due 49% of the profits generated by Young Money – from releases by the likes of Drake, Nicki Minaj and Tyga – and that profit share should not have been subject to Cash Money repaying its advance.

Says the lawsuit: “With Universal’s knowledge of Lil Wayne’s rights to partial ownership and profits from those artists, Universal and Cash Money entered into a series of agreements which, among other things, diverted Lil Wayne’s substantial profits to repay debts of Cash Money. As a result, 100% of the profits that should have been paid to Lil Wayne as a result of his ownership of Drake, Nicki Minaj and Tyga records have been seized by Universal to repay debts that were neither incurred by nor were the obligations of Lil Wayne”.

SoundExchange is listed as a defendant because, Wayne claims, Universal has taken 100% of the label’s share of the cash collected by the body for Young Money tracks, and as such, the rights organisation is refusing to pay any royalties directly to Wayne’s companies.

Confirming the legal action, Wayne’s legal rep Howard E King said in a statement yesterday: “Universal should be grateful and respectful to Lil Wayne for the millions of dollars in distribution fees and profits they have earned on the artists he brought to the company, instead of seizing all of his profits on those artists in a desperate attempt to recoup the tens of millions of dollars they are owed by Cash Money Records”.

A spokesperson for Universal hit back, telling media: “These claims are entirely without merit. It should be no surprise that we learned of the lawyer’s complaint through the news media. We don’t intend to dignify this with further public comment except to say that we will vigorously contest it and that the merits of our case will carry the day”.