Lil Wayne Sues Cash Money Records for $51 Million – Today in Hip-Hop
XXL celebrates 50 years of hip-hop with this moment:
Jan. 28, 2015: After threatening legal action against Birdman and Cash Money Records due to contract renegotiations failling through in December of 2014, Lil Wayne slapped Cash Money Records with a whopping $51 million lawsuit in 2015.
Lil Wayne joined Cash Money Records in 1997, at 14 years old and became a prolific rapper on the label. He was first a member of the Hot Boys and then a solo artist. In the late aughts, Wayne became a label boss himself with the launch of Young Money Records and the signing of two hip-hop superstars, Drake and Nicki Minaj.
In 2014, Wayne wanted off Cash Money Records and accused Birdman of blocking the release of Tha Carter V. It started on Dec. 4, 2014, when Weezy expressed his frustration with his Cash Money Records on Twitter. The following year his legal action ensued.
According to a TMZ report on Jan. 28, 2015, Lil Wayne claimed in his lawsuit that Birdman owed him an $8 million advance in 2013 for his 11th studio album, the long-delayed Tha Carter V at the time, and another $2 million after the album's completion. Additionally, Wayne also claimed the label didn't offer Wayne 49 percent ownership of Young Money. Instead, the label registered the copyright for Young Money entirely under Cash Money. Thus, Wayne alleged, Cash Money didn't provide him with an accounting of how much money Drake was actually generating for him on Young Money.
Tunechi's back-and-forth legal battle with Cash Money Records lasted a few years. During that time, Wayne expressed his disdain for Cash Money publicly and musically, including on his Free Weezy mixtape, released on July 4, 2015.
Finally, after a three-year legal battle, on June 7, 2018, Lil Wayne and Birdman reached a settlement in their litigation. In a statement to Billboard, Lil Wayne's attorney, Ron Sweeney, confirmed that Weezy's lawsuit against Cash Money had been resolved, but he was prohibited from revealing the particulars of the settlement. "I can say that my client is happy," he said. "He is his own man, a man that owns his assets, his music and himself." The payout of the settlement was rumored to be upwards of $10 million.
Hours later, Lil Wayne and Birdman were spotted in the studio together. In a since-deleted Instagram photo, discretely taken by Cash Money producer D Roc, Weezy's back is to the camera as he appears to be talking to a partially blocked Baby, who is sitting down in front of the boards. "'Father like son' We speak things into existence," Roc captioned the pic.
On Sept. 28, 2018, Tha Carter V finally dropped on digital streaming platforms with Lil Wayne confirming to Billboard that he and Birdman are on friendly terms.