Lil Wayne hits Cash Money with $51-million lawsuit

Christina Milian, Lil Wayne
Christina Milian and Lil Wayne perform at the American Music Awards at the Nokia Theatre on Nov. 23.
(Matt Sayles / Invision / Associated Press)

Lil Wayne’s beef with his longtime label Cash Money has become litigious, with the rapper filing a lawsuit to the tune of $51 million.

After TMZ broke the news on Thursday, the 21-page suit surfaced detailing his business dealings with Cash Money, setting up his own Young Money imprint (Drake, Nicki Minaj, Tyga) and amendments to his long-term deal along with advances the label owes to him.

The suit alleges that Cash Money head Bryan “Birdman” Williams (whom Wayne has long referred to as his surrogate father) and the label have withheld substantial payments to Wayne for his serially delayed album, “Tha Carter V.”

For “Tha Carter V,” Wayne says he is owed $10 million, per a 2012 contract extension that would see Cash Money giving him a $10-million advance per solo album -- $8 million to be paid at the start of recording and then $2 million being paid upon delivery, according to the lawsuit.


A number of other grievances are outlined in the suit, which was filed in Manhattan Federal Court, including failure to pay for overhead costs for Wayne’s imprint Young Money (a subsidiary of Cash Money) and neglecting to file royalty reports for Drake.

“Cash Money has failed to provide a single accounting in respect of the exploitation of the Drake recordings, despite Drake being one of the bestselling recording artists in recent years,” the suit reads.

Rumors of deep rifts between the label and some of its artists have dogged Cash Money for years, especially as Drake’s profile rose, but Wayne shocked the rap world early last month when he fired off a series of tweets blasting Birdman.

Simply put, he wants out. 


“To all my fans, I want u to know that my album won’t and hasn’t been released bekuz Baby & Cash Money Rec. refuse to release it,” he wrote. “I want off this label and nothing to do with these people but unfortunately it ain’t that easy.”

The missives came two weeks before the scheduled release of “Tha Carter V,” and he not only blamed Cash Money for delaying the project but claimed the label is refusing to release it.

“I am a prisoner and so is my creativity. Again, I am truly sorry and I don’t blame ya if ya fed up with waiting 4 me & this album. But thk u,” he wrote before asking his followers to pray for him.

And in true rap tradition, Wayne put his beef on record, opening his “Sorry 4 the Wait 2” mixtape with a biting response to his label drama.

“Look what you made me do,” he rapped on his version of O.T. Genasis’ hit “CoCo.” “Tha Carter’s gonna be late, so I can drop a tape / The garden’s full of snakes so I had to escape." 

“Sorry 4 the Wait 2,” served as a sequel to a previous fan freebie, which he issued in response to album delays.

Reps for Cash Money and Lil Wayne did not return a request for comment.  

Follow me @GerrickKennedy


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