Lil Wayne once claimed he was a “young money millionaire,” but he’s now saying he’s been shorted millions of dollars by Universal Music Group (UMG). The rapper is moving forward with a lawsuit contending he’s owed royalties that the label paid itself and not him. It’s possible the lawsuit could affect Drake’s new album.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, Lil Wayne, aka Dwayne Carter Jr., is suing UMG and SoundExchange, claiming he’s been shorted millions in association with his work “discovering and nurturing artists like Drake, Nicki Minaj and Tyga.” Lil Wayne said the label has been using the profits owed to him to repay itself $100 million it advanced to Cash Money Records.
A UMG representative told the Hollywood Reporter the company learned of the complaints through media reports and that they “don’t have any merit.” The rep added, “We don’t intend to dignify this with further public comment except to say that we will vigorously contest it and that the merits of our case will carry the day.”
Drake is expected to drop his highly anticipated new album “Views From the 6” next month, but the dispute could throw a monkey wrench into that plan. Lil Wayne’s Young Money Label is a joint venture with UMG’s Cash Money Records, but the terms between the two JV partners expired June 4, 2015. However, the deal that was signed in 2003 reportedly would give Lil Wayne 49 percent of the Young Money Label profit and 49 percent of the ownership of its master material.
Because Drake is one of the artists Lil Wayne brought into the fold, it’s unclear what the lawsuit could mean for future releases, including “Views From the 6.” It’s possible the album could be held until the lawsuit is sorted out or the recording could drop regardless. The Hollywood Reporter described it as being “in the crosshairs” of the dispute.
The UMG lawsuit will be the second legal war Lil Wayne is waging. In January 2015, it was disclosed that the 33-year-old rapper was suing Cash Money Records and co-founder Bryan “Birdman” Williams because he claimed millions of dollars were being withheld from him. He also contended the label was holding up the release of his album “Tha Carter V,” according to TMZ. The rapper is still going forward with the lawsuit despite making peace with Birdman.