“With Universal’s knowledge of Lil Wayne’s rights to partial ownership and profits from those artists, Universal and Cash Money entered into a series of agreements which, among other things, diverted Lil Wayne’s substantial profits to repay debts of Cash Money. As a result, 100% of the profits that should have been paid to Lil Wayne as a result of his ownership of Drake, Nicki Minaj and Tyga records have been seized by Universal to repay debts that were neither incurred by nor were the obligations of Lil Wayne.”
Lil Wayne’s Young Money label, a joint venture with Universal’s Cash Money, was designed to “manufacture, distribute, promote and exploit performances of new recording artists discovered by Carter and signed to the label.” A 2003 agreement states the profits “would be divided 51% – 49% between Cash Money and Carter, and ownership of all the Young Money Label property, (e.g., master recordings, copyrights, intellectual property, good will) similarly would be owned 51% – 49% between Cash Money and Carter, respectively.”
“Ignoring Lil Wayne’s documented ownership interest in the records of these artists, Universal confiscated Wayne’s profits to repay the large Cash Money Records debt for which neither Wayne nor his Young Money Entertainment company has any responsibility,” says a representative. “Universal further deprived Wayne of millions of dollars in SoundExchange royalties owing on account of his ownership of these records. Universal should be grateful and respectful to Lil Wayne for the millions of dollars in distribution fees and profits they have earned on the artists he brought to the company, instead of seizing all of his profits on those artists in a desperate attempt to recoup the tens of millions of dollars they are owed by Cash Money Records.”
Because the agreement between Young Money and Cash Money expired June of last year, it puts upcoming albums such as Drakes Views From The 6 in the middle of the battle. Lil Wayne is currently seeking $40 million USD in damages. However, a representative from Universal Music Group says all of Lil Wayne’s claims are without merit. “It should be no surprise that we learned of the lawyer’s complaint through the news media,” he writes. “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.