Lil Wayne has filed a $51 million breach of contract lawsuit against Cash Money and its founder, his adopted father Bryan "Birdman" Williams. Wayne claims the label never paid him for Tha Carter V, his final studio album (at least until someone pays him $25 million to make another one). It was due out in May, then delayed until December, due to Wayne's dispute with the label.
Now Wayne wants to split from Cash Money, and he wants to get paid.
According to Wayne's lawsuit, his deal with Cash Money required them to give him $8 million when he started recording a new solo album and another $2 million when he delivered it. He says he was only paid $2 million for the album, and that Cash Money also screwed Wayne's Young Money label out of the $200,000 quarterly overhead payments it was supposed to provide, plus the royalties on Wayne and Drake's albums.
TMZ reported that Wayne also planned to sue to make sure that he could take Drake and Nicki's contracts with him once he officially leaves Cash Money, but the suit he filed in New York yesterday doesn't address that issue.
Rumors that Cash Money rips off its artists have been prevalent for years. After Juvenile split with the label and sued for the money they owed him, he claimed other rappers, including Wayne, asked him for help getting out.
"Still up to the day, Wayne really got beat out of all his money and took another contract. That's part I never understood. I was signed to Atlantic and Jay-Z was excited about that because now we was about to get our own money. That's what I really wanted. I wanted him to leave. All of a sudden he signed back I'm like, 'Damn, what type of deal he got working?'"
Juvenile also pointed to issues with the Cash Money/Young Money relationship, including—as Wayne claims in his lawsuit—Cash Money claiming exclusive copyright to Young Money artists' work:
"If you notice the Young Money/Cash Money imprint, some of the stuff that need to say Young Money don't say Young Money. I know Baby and I know Ronald ["Slim" Williams]. They ain't giving up power of their company. They don't care how big Wayne gets, they not giving up. If I didn't get it, he ain't getting it."
Now we'll find out—possibly in court—exactly what Wayne can get.
Birdman hasn't commented on the lawsuit.