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Lil Wayne adds Universal to his Cash Money litigation, wants lots of cash money

By | Published on Thursday 6 July 2017

Lil Wayne

Lil Wayne has ramped up his legal battle with Cash Money Records by once again pulling Universal Music into the dispute, basically accusing the Cash Money record company and its major label partner of colluding to screw him out of money.

As previously reported, Wayne has been in dispute with Cash Money – his long-time label – for some time now, partly over the delayed release of his long awaited ‘Tha Carter V’ album, and partly over monies he reckons he is due from records released by his joint venture imprint Young Money, which includes albums from that Drake chap.

Last year Wayne sued Universal Music directly in relation to his dispute with Cash Money. In that case, the rapper argued that Universal – which distributes Cash Money and Young Money releases – was keeping monies generated by the latter label’s records in order to recoup advances previously paid to the former. But, he argued, his cut of Young Money income shouldn’t be used to pay Cash Money’s debts.

That case, which also listed collecting society SoundExchange as a defendant, was subsequently put on hold, because the judge overseeing the proceedings reckoned that Wayne’s existing litigation against Cash Money itself should be resolved first.

So now Wayne has added Universal Music as a defendant on that litigation instead. In the new legal filing made yesterday, formally adding Universal to the Cash Money lawsuit, Wayne cites various alleged agreements between the major and Cash Money boss Bryan ‘Birdman’ Williams which, he says, interfered with his rights over the Young Money venture, and income linked to Drake releases in particular. He also alleges that those agreements were back-dated in a way that ensured he lost out even more.

The new legal papers also allege that Universal continued to advance Cash Money cash money, secured in part on future royalties from Young Money releases, despite knowing that its partner label still owed Wayne not insignificant sums relating to those releases.

Or, in the words of the lawsuit: “Despite Universal being aware of Cash Money’s obligations to pay royalties and profits to plaintiffs, and Cash Money’s failure to do so, Universal made a series of huge cash advances to Cash Money which Universal contended were nonetheless collateralised by, and recoupable by Universal against, the future revenues on Drake and other artist records and albums delivered by Cash Money”.

It goes on: “Universal knew that Cash Money would not reserve from such advances sufficient funds to meet its obligations to plaintiffs, pay to plaintiffs earnings on the records co-owned by them, or to pay or account to other artists or vendors”.

Wayne’s amended lawsuit makes a number of demands, including that he get a third of the net profits from Drake’s recordings, the right to audit both Cash Money and Universal Music, and the right to take ‘Tha Carter V’ to another label for release. Oh, yes, and that a “receiver be appointed to supervise the operations of the Young Money label joint venture” or “the joint venture be adjudged terminated and a liquidator appointed”.

Fun times. Universal Music said that Wayne’s claims were “entirely without merit” when he sued the company directly last year, so it can be probably be expected to say something similar about being listed as a defendant on the Cash Money case. Meanwhile, as his lawyers got busy doing legal things yesterday, Wayne himself posted four new tracks to YouTube: