Everything You Need To Know about Lil Wayne’s Lawsuit Against Cash Money

Lil Wayne wants the money he’s owed, and then he wants out.

January 29, 2015

The charges listed within the 21-page lawsuit filed by Lil Wayne against Cash Money in New York District Court on Wednesday range from bad bookkeeping to more serious mishandling of Young Money business. It demands at least $51 million in damages, and calls for the release of Lil Wayne and Young Money from their Cash Money contracts. As he puts it on "Coco," All I got is Young Money, no Cash. Here's what you need to know:

The Parties Involved:

Young Money Entertainment, LLC, and Dwayne Michael Carter, Jr. (aka Lil Wayne) have filed a complaint against Cash Money Records, the Louisiana-based label founded by Bryan "Birdman" Williams and his brother Ronald "Slim" Williams.

Young Money vs. Cash Money:

In 2003, Lil Wayne signed his Young Money label as an imprint of Cash Money Records. (Both function under the larger umbrella of Universal Music Group). According to the complaint filed yesterday in a New York court, Cash Money has repeatedly breached the terms of that agreement—specifically, here is what is being alleged:

- Cash Money failed to pay monthly payments of net profits and the required quarterly payments of $200,000. Additionally, Cash Money failed to maintain a $1 million escrow account that had been established to fund overhead payments and recording funds for Young Money.
- Cash Money failed to pay Young Money its full allotted share of royalties and profits made on Young Money artists. The suit names Drake, who signed with Young Money in 2009, as a specific artist whose exploitations have gone unaccounted for "despite Drake being one of the bestselling recording artists in recent years."
- Cash Money failed to register the copyright of the Young Money Label recordings in both Cash Money and Young Money names.
- Cash Money has claimed millions of dollars in marketing expenses for Young Money, even though they are required to obtain approval from Young Money for marketing expenses greater than $300,000.
- Cash Money has failed to pay third parties involved with Young Money recordings (video directors, producers, etc.), and that costly legal actions have been taken against Young Money as a result.
- Cash Money has blocked Carter from signing new artists to Young Money.

Lil Wayne vs. Cash Money:

In 1998, Lil Wayne signed an exclusive recording agreement with Cash Money. The agreement has been amended several times since, but as it now stands Wayne owes the label (at least) three more solo albums as well as one more duet album. Wayne says he delivered one of those three owed albums–the long awaited and infinitely delayed Tha Carter V—last December, but claims he has not yet been paid the $10 million advance he is owed for its recording and completion. "Cash Money has not provided [Wayne] with any contractual or statutory basis for failing to pay the balance of the advance for The Carter V and has given no assurances that it will not similarly refuse to pay [Wayne] the $10 million advances due to him for the next two albums," the complaint says.

In short, here's what is being alleged against Cash Money by Lil Wayne, as both an individual artist and on behalf of Young Money:

- Cash Money has failed to pay proper royalties to Lil Wayne for monies earned by his recordings.
- Cash Money left him off the copyright registration for I Am Not a Human Being II recordings.
- Per their agreement, Lil Wayne is supposed to be paid a $10 million advance per solo album, with $8 million to be paid upon the commencement of the recording of each album and the remaining $2 million to be paid upon delivery of the album. The complaint alleges that that Cash Money refused to pay Lil Wayne the $8 million owed for his his commencement of work on Carter V, as well as the additional $2 million he was owed when he delivered the album in "early December, 2014."

The damages:

As previously reported, Young Money and Wayne are seeking at least $51 million in damages. Here's how that number breaks down:

- $8 million: for breach of Lil Wayne's contract (specifically: for failing to pay for the delivery of Carter V, for failing to properly pay royalties on past recordings, for refusing to and audit, and for leaving Wayne off the I Am Not a Human Being II copyright)
- $5 million: for breach of fiduciary duty to Young Money, aka, "failing to properly manage and protect the interest of Carter/Young Money LLC"
- $13 million: for the benefit and profits Cash Money has made at Young Money's expense
- $25 million: for all of Cash Money's failings, fiduciary and contractual

In addition to monetary demands, it sounds like Wayne wants off—and he wants to take Young Money with him: "Based upon the foregoing, [Wayne and Young Money's] future obligations to perform... would be fruitless and should be deemed terminated."

FADER has reached out to Lil Wayne's representation, and is awaiting comment. Until then, read the lawsuit below.

Photo Credit: Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

Everything You Need To Know about Lil Wayne’s Lawsuit Against Cash Money