Lil Wayne sues mentor's record label for $51M, seeking split
NEW YORK (AP) Rapper Lil Wayne has had it with his record label. He's suing Cash Money Records for $51 million after claiming that it stiffed him for $8 million on a record he delivered last month.
In the federal lawsuit filed Wednesday, the Grammy Award-winning performer asked a Manhattan judge to nullify contracts he has held with the company since November 1998.
Born in New Orleans as Dwayne Michael Carter Jr., the 32-year-old rapper said in the lawsuit that his relationship with the label has been deteriorating over the last four years, with Cash Money failing to live up to contractual promises regarding monthly accounting statements and the timely payment of profits owed to Lil Wayne.
The lawsuit said the problems worsened since 2012 as Cash Money failed to pay Lil Wayne a 49 percent share of net income derived from the sale of solo recordings by rapper Drake for Lil Wayne's partial ownership of the Young Money label, despite Drake's rise as one of the best-selling recording artists in recent years. Nicki Minaj is also signed to the label.
It said Cash Money also is claiming millions of dollars in marketing expenses for the Young Money label even though it is required to obtain approval from Lil Wayne for expenses greater than $300,000. And it said the company is preventing artists recommended by Lil Wayne from being added to the Young Money label and is failing to pay third parties involved with the Young Money label, leading to lawsuits and additional costs.
A New York lawyer for Cash Money did not immediately return a message seeking comment. The label was co-founded by Lil Wayne's mentor, Bryan "Birdman" Williams. A spokeswoman for Birdman and Cash Money did not return a message seeking comment.
A rapper since childhood, Lil Wayne released his first solo album, "Tha Block Is Hot," in 1999. He lives in Florida now. The Young Money label is based in Miami.
The Cash Money website is promoting the upcoming release of the record Lil Wayne finished last month, "Tha Carter V," one of the most anticipated records of the past year.
Lil Wayne said last year it was likely to be his last solo album. "Tha Carter IV," released in 2011, sold nearly 1 million albums the first week of its release.