“Cash Money Records, where dreams come true,” Lil Wayne has rapped more than once, in happier times with his longtime label home. And why not dream big? With new album Tha Carter V stalled indefinitely, Wayne and his Young Money Entertainment imprint have sued Cash Money for $51 million. Along with the monetary demand, Wayne also asks a Manhattan federal court to release him from his contract with the label.
The breach-of-contract lawsuit accuses the label run by Bryan “Birdman” Williams of failing to pay Wayne the $10 million he was owed for recording and handing in Tha Carter V. The Louisiana-based label also stands accused of various bookkeeping problems, including mishandling the money Young Money earned after signing Drake. “Cash Money has failed to provide a single accounting in respect of the exploitation of the Drake recordings, despite Drake being one of the best-selling artists in recent years,” the complaint says.
Cash Money has given Wayne no reason to believe it will pay him for the next two albums required under his contract, according to the lawsuit. He also claims Cash Money left him off of the copyright registration for his 2013 album I Am Not a Human Being II and has blocked him from signing new Young Money artists while charging his imprint millions of dollars in marketing expenses.
The lawsuit alleges that “Cash Money has jeopardized the ability of the Young Money label to properly and successfully conduct business.”
Birdman hasn’t addressed the lawsuit directly via social media, tweeting yesterday, “Uptown lifestyle built to last MOney ova BS.BLATT RICHGANG.”
In late 2014, Wayne tweeted that he was a “prisoner” at Cash Money and “I want off this label.” His manager, Cortez Bryant, quickly assured TMZ that relations between the rapper and the label were fine (see David Drake’s feature Something Is Rotten in the State of Cash Money).
This month, Wayne released his most invigorated set in years, the Sorry 4 the Wait 2 mixtape. On the advance track “Sh!t (Remix),” he raps, “Did my time at Cash Money, time served and released/ But this agent ain’t free, word, that’s the word on these streets.” On mixtape opener “Coco,” he raps, “Cash Money is an army, I’m a one-man army/ And if them niggas comin’ for me, I’m goin’ out like [Scarface's] Tony [Montana]/ Now I don’t want no problems, I just want my money.”
All $51 million of it, based on the lawsuit below. Scroll down to stream Sorry 4 the Wait 2.