Lil Wayne Has Settled His Lawsuit For Cash Money & More
This week marks the tenth-anniversary of Lil Wayne releasing Tha Carter III. On June 10, 2008, Wayne made a powerful statement to the charts, to his fans, and to all the skeptics of his “best rapper alive” proclamations. While the New Orleans, Louisiana MC may not have changed all of the opinions, he quickly rivaled Hip-Hop’s biggest superstars in clout and commercial reach.
A decade later, and Wayne’s career has been largely road-blocked. Since 2015, the 35-year-old MC has been battling his career-long label, Cash Money Records. Wayne sought $51 million in royalties owed to him, ranging from advances on his long-anticipation Carter 5 album to revenue for Wayne’s Young Money releases from Drake, Nicki Minaj, and others. He took on his former legal guardian and a man he had referred to his as his adoptive father, Bryan “Birdman” Williams, and brother/business partner, Ronald “Slim” Williams. Universal Music Group, Cash Money’s longtime distributor, was also named in the suit.
Two lawsuits have been settled, according to confirmation from Pitchfork. Court records show there was a notice of dismissal of the first documents in the lawsuit late last month. A second suit specifically against UMG and Sound Exchange, Inc. was for $40 million. Pitchfork obtained the notice of dismissal and reports that it “does not indicate a monetary settlement amount beyond each side agreeing to ‘bear its own costs and attorneys’ fees.'”
The Blast, who first reported the story after speaking to sources close to the lawsuit, reports that Universal paid “well over $10 million” to settle. Onetime Wayne spokeswoman, Karen Civil, confirms the settlement but alleges that those numbers are not accurate. The Blast reported that per the settlement, Wayne and CMR “are done.” Wayne goes back with Birdman to the early 1990s, and released Hot Boys’ Get It How U Live! more than 20 years ago.
Tha Carter 5 is now reportedly Wayne’s to release. Previously, incarcerated pharmaceuticals executive Martin Shkreli claimed to have obtained a copy of the album. It was listed in the convicted securities fraud exec’s assets of interest by federal agents, along with the sole copy of Wu-Tang Clan’s Once Upon A Time In Shaolin.
During the three-plus-years of disputes with Cash Money, Wayne has spoken out against his label in public appearances, online, and in verses. Meanwhile, he made several public appearances with Birdman during the dispute. Wayne also reunited with early mentor and producer, Mannie Fresh along with Hot Boy Juvenile. Young Thug, a Cash Money affiliate, dissed Wayne and released his Barter 6 album. In 2015, Thug’s former road manager, James “Jimmy” Carlton Winfrey, turned himself in for involvement in a non-fatal drive-by shooting attack on Wayne’s tour bus.
Rick Ross advocated for Weezy (as well as DJ Khaled and Mannie Fresh) to be compensated last year in the song “Idols Become Rivals.” Rap-A-Lot Records founder James Prince (aka J. Prince) spoke to Sway In The Morning earlier this week, admitting that he was also involved in the push for a settlement. J.’s son, Jas Prince, is reportedly owed royalties associated with Drake, who he discovered and introduced to Wayne. Wayne’s problems with his label have gotten increased attention from Pusha-T’s latest disses towards Drake and Wayne.
In April of last year, Wayne appeared on stage with former foe (and collaborator) JAY-Z. The artist, who was reportedly close to signing with a Jay-helmed Def Jam during mid-2000s contract re-negotiations with Cash Money, announced himself as a Roc Nation artist. Time will tell if that is Weezy F.’s next official move. Wayne last released Dedication 6: Reloaded with DJ Drama in December.
#BonusBeat: Ambrosia For Heads‘ Editor-in-Chief Jake Paine recently spoke with Grammy.com about the impact of Tha Carter III a decade later.