It’s been a tumultuous few months for Lil Wayne. After receiving backlash for endorsing Donald Trump last month, Wayne is facing gun possession charges in Florida for a 2019 incident in Miami. On top of that, he’s being sued by former manager Ronald Sweeney over unpaid expenses. According to TMZ, the suit’s documents reveal that Wayne has sold his masters to Universal Music Group for over $100 million.
Sweeney alleges that Wayne hired him in 2005 while in a contract dispute with Birdman over how much his Young Money imprint was owed by its parent company, Cash Money Records. The suit was settled in 2018, but Sweeney says he wasn’t paid in full.
In May 2018, Wayne pushed Sweeney to fire Cortez Bryant. After doing so, Sweeney persuaded Wayne to increase his commission by 7 percent. Despite following orders, Sweeney says Bryant–a childhood friend of Wayne–and Mack Maine conspired to drive the two partners apart, resulting in Wayne firing Sweeney four months later.
Sweeney argues that since Wayne sold his masters to Universal, he’s not lacking the funds to pay the rest of the agreed-upon sum.
In recent months, musicians like RZA, Bob Dylan and Stevie Nicks have also sold portions of their masters. Kanye West has spoken out against labels like Universal and Sony Music Group about artists’ ownership of their publishing in the last couple of months, eventually relinquishing his own 50% share of G.O.O.D. Music artists’ masters.
On Friday, Wayne pleaded guilty to the Florida gun charge. He has yet to comment on the pending lawsuit.
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