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By just about any metric, Drake is one of the biggest rappers in the game. One of those metrics would be money, and Drake was in the top five of Forbes list of highest paid hip hop artists in 2016. But the label that claims to have signed Drake back in 2008 also claims it hasn't seen the profits from one of the most profitable acts in the business.
Aspire Music Group sued Cash Money Records in a Manhattan, New York court, claiming breach of contract, breach of good faith and fair dealing, and tortious interference over alleged unpaid profits and copyright royalties under the recording agreement between the two. So how much are we talking about, and where is all the money?
As a bit of background, Aspire claims it signed Drake to an exclusive recording artist agreement in 2008, giving Aspire "the exclusive right to Drake's services as a recording artist for at least his first six albums." In 2009, Aspire then "furnished Drake's services" to Cash Money Records in exchange for one-third of the net profits from Drake's albums, along with one-third of the copyright value of the master recordings. Aspire also claims they were due monthly accounting statements reflecting profits and payouts on a monthly basis.
But, according to its lawsuit, Aspire has "received nothing more than a few modest advances" from Cash Money, and the few accounting statements they received show no money due under the agreement:
Moreover, instead of fulfilling their contractual obligation to provide these accounting statements on a monthly basis, Defendants initially provided no statements whatsoever. Then, when pressed, Defendants provided only sporadic, deceptive statements containing inflated and impermissible deductions. Eventually, Defendants ceased to provide Plaintiff with any accountings notwithstanding their obligation to do so.
So how much money is missing? While the number may be in the tens of millions, Aspire is still not sure and is asking the court to order and supervise a full examination of Cash Money's books to determine any amount that might due under the contract.
The lawsuit also names Cash Money co-owners Ronald "Slim" Williams and Bryan "Birdman" Williams, the latter of whom ranked number 10 on Forbes' list.
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