NEW ORLEANS – A rapper’s lawsuit against a music company has been put on hold until he settles disputes with another label.
Lil Wayne has filed a lawsuit against Universal Music Group (UMG) regarding money allegedly owed to him in the amount of $20 million for unpaid royalties. Lil Wayne reportedly earned the money by working with Nicki Minaj, Tyga and Drake. In his deal with UMG, Lil Wayne was to be compensated for helping to discover the artists, getting part ownership of their recordings and a cut of their profits.
UMG filed a response to the lawsuit asking that the case be put on hold until Lil Wayne settles his disputes with label Cash Money Records and its CEO Bryan “Birdman” Williams. UMG says it paid Birdman the money in an advance for $100 million for a deal they inked with him and that Birdman is the one that owes Lil Wayne.
“Looks like the judge recognized that UMG is not the primary party to sue,” Peter Russell, attorney at McBride & Russell Law Firm LLC told the Louisiana Record. “Lil Wayne sued everybody. The defense for UMG was they paid royalties to the other artist to satisfy them and it looks like Lil Wayne sued because everybody got money that was owed to him. UMG said they don’t have the money because they paid it to the people to satisfy their royalties that were owed.”
Lil Wayne has also filed a suit with Birdman and Cash Money for $51 million. A federal court judge ruled that Lil Wayne must first sort out his differences with Birdman and Cash Money before the case with UMG can proceed because of the similarities in the case and the outcome in the Birdman case will affect the settlement that UMG owes.
“The court wants him to first resolve his dispute and then the court know what he gets from Birdman and Cash Money,” said Russell. “Then the money he gets from UMG will be that remainder amount if he gets anything. Instead of filing separate lawsuits, he should have filed one against UMG. He’d get UMG to say these people are liable to us for reimbursing the damages that may be owed to Lil Wayne. Having three separate lawsuits on going, any judge is going to say well I’m not ruling until any funds that would have been ruminated back to Lil Wayne is resolved first. Lil Wayne shouldn’t get a profit above the damages he’s entitled to.”
Lil Wayne has had a long-standing disagreement with Birdman that has fueled the lawsuit’s inability to reach an agreement on the settlement. The case could drag on for some time unless the two parties squash their argument. Birdman has maintained that things are better between him and Lil Wayne and has referred to him as family. Lil Wayne seems to disagree and has voiced his opinion about Birdman publicly.
“I would surmise that the judge’s ruling is there’s enough there to say, you really shouldn’t be trying to collect from UMG first until after Lil Wayne sues the people that actually owes him money first,” said Russell. “And then, we’ll hear the merits of whether or not he has a claim against UMG. I don’t see anything in the ruling to say that UMG owes any kind of duty to protect Lil Wayne’s royalty payments.”
Lil Wayne and Birdman founded Cash Money Records together.