Cash Money’s shady business dealings are by no means breaking news, but 2015 has seemingly been the year karma finally catches up with Birdman and company.
Though there have been whispers, rumors and lawsuits of Cash Money ripping off artists for years now, it's never had a closer, more famous and more powerful opponent than Lil Wayne, and the legal battle between Weezy F and his former father is only getting deeper.
Recently TMZ, that paragon of investigative journalism, got their hands on some more court documents from Lil Wayne alleging that he's far from the only Young Money artist to be mistreated by the parent label.
"Lil Wayne now claims in his bitter lawsuit against Birdman and Cash Money, he has letters from Drake and Tyga's people claiming they got stiffed out of a fortune. And Nicki's people say in a separate letter her producers also got shortchanged by Young Money, and Wayne says it's Cash Money's responsibility to pay producers….Young Money claims it was supposed to get a big chunk of a $100 million advance from Universal -- an advance that went directly to Cash Money -- and they're still waiting."
Now, just because these “legal documents” are legal documents doesn’t mean their allegations are true - according to TMZ, Cash Money claims to have given Weezy a $20 million advance in 2012 - but when you look at all of the accusations and lawsuits from this year alone, it's becoming increasingly difficult to give Cash Money the benefit of the doubt. These days Birdman is spending more time in the courtroom than the strip club as the label's currently mired in at least seven separate lawsuits.
Lil Wayne Carter V & Contract Lawsuit
After tweeting that he wants off Cash Money in December of 2014, Lil Wayne takes legal action. The lawsuit seeks to terminate Wayne’s contract with Cash Money and also asks for $51 Million. According to more court documents from Wayne’s camp, Drake and Nicki Minaj are being mishandled and are planning to leave Cash Money.
Interestingly, while Tyga, Drake and Nicki Minaj have all been swept up in the effects of the lawsuit, they haven't taken any action themselves.
Baby & Young Thug Indicted in Conspiracy to Kill Lil Wayne
In April, Lil Wayne’s tour bus was met with gunfire after leaving a nightclub, and in July, Birdman and Young Thug were indicted for the attack. Documents show that the alleged shooter, Jimmy Carlton Winfrey, who is also Young Thug's tour manager, called a phone owned by Birdman shortly after the shooting. Charges are pending. Advances and publishing is one thing, attempted murder is a whole different ball game.
Cash Money Sues TIDAL & JAY Z over Free Weezy Album
The tables turned as Cash Money sued Jay and TIDAL for $50 million for providing a stream of Wayne’s Free Weezy album. Cash Money asserts they have “exclusive rights to Wayne's music and TIDAL is an illegal intermeddler.” Weezy F and the F is for I Don't Give a Fuck About Your "Exclusive" Rights to My Music.
Producer DVLP Sues Cash Money for $200,000
After producing multiple tracks for Lil Wayne and other Cash Money artists, DVLP alleges that he has not received any payment from Cash Money. He also released a series of texts that show Birdman seemingly stringing him along.
Jas Prince Sues Over Drake
In February of 2015, TMZ released a video in which Jas Prince alludes to a lawsuit with Cash Money regarding money he is owed for helping sign Drake. It is later revealed he was seeking $4 million, but his case was thrown out. According to the federal court judge Prince “has no case against Cash Money and will be awarded nothing from his complaint.”
Turk Sues for $1.3 Million
The former Hot Boy claims he was never payed for any of his work with the group or as a solo artist in the early 2000s. In June, it was reported that Turk and Cash Money had settled out of court. The terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
David Banner Sues Young Money For $138,787.19
According to the veteran producer both Cash Money and Lil Wayne over him exactly $138,787.19 for two songs off Tha Carter III, “La La” and “Pussy Monster.” Yes, the term “Pussy Monster” has been written repeatedly in legal documents.
Mikkey Halsted Lawsuit
Mikkey Halsted recently revealed to DJBooth that he believes Cash Money owes him half a million dollars and is currently engaged in a lawsuit with his former label.
Now, I’m no Maurice Levy, and I most definitely don't pretend to understand the sinuous ways the the legal system operates, but I can tell you that for just one year, hell for 10 months, that is a dizzying amount of legal battles. The time, energy, and money it must cost them (here's a look at Baby’s lawyer) to fight all of these suits and run a label is astounding. It also makes me wonder about something deeper.
Over the last few months, really starting with my story on the treament of Official/Unplugged, Cash Money's long lost R&B group, I've become increasingly interested in the label's inner workings, and the more I hear the harder it is to ignore the rumours and stories. Even the most objective and measured observer has to at least be skeptical of Birdman's practices. Lawsuits happen to everyone in music, and they don't necessarily mean someone is guilty, after all Prince’s suit was thrown out, but this many lawsuits? Cash Money has always been surrounded by whispers, but now the whispers have become screams.
Stay tuned. This isn’t over. Not by a long shot.