Legal and Management

Chance the Rapper Fires Back at Ex-Manager's $3 Million Lawsuit

Chance the Rapper
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Chance the Rapper performs onstage during the 69th NBA All-Star Game at United Center on February 16, 2020 in Chicago, Illinois.

Chance the Rapper is suing his former manager Pat Corcoran for breach of responsibilities and diverting business opportunities to his separate companies, along with "demanding and accepting kickbacks as the price for doing business" with the artist, according to a complaint filed Feb. 19 in Illinois Cook County Circuit court.

"This case is a story of two people - a groundbreaking successful rapper, songwriter, performer, and philanthropist named Chancelor Bennett (professionally known as Chance the Rapper) whose talent, success, and commitment to giving back to his community are well known, and a disgruntled former manager named Patrick Corcoran whose shocking violations of his position of trust are less well known and only now coming to light," according to the 32-page lawsuit.

Bennett says he met Corcoran, also known as Pat the Manager, in 2012 when the latter was just a fan and hired him to manage his music career on an at-will basis. Their relationship was based on an oral agreement where Corcoran would receive 15% of the net profits that the rapper earned from the exploitation of his music. Bennett says in the court papers that their relationship began to sour in late 2017 when Corcoran interfered with an opportunity for him to be the face of a new company. Subsequently, he says that Corcoran "abdicated his managerial responsibilities" during the creation of his studio album The Big Day and failed to create a marketing plan for the album’s release.

Bennett said he terminated Corcoran’s services in April 2020.

Lawyers for Chance The Rapper sent the following statement to Billboard: "Mr. Corcoran has been paid in full under his management services contract with Mr. Bennett. Yet he chose to file a groundless and insulting lawsuit that ignores his own improper self-dealing and incompetence.  Mr. Bennett has moved to dismiss the majority of that meritless lawsuit, and filed his own lawsuit to remedy the harm that Mr. Corcoran caused through his breaches of duty.  Mr. Bennett trusts the legal system to reveal the truth of the parties’ relationship in due course."

The rapper wasn’t the first to take their dispute to court.  On Nov. 30, 2020, Corcoran filed a breach of contract lawsuit against Bennett, also in Illinois Cook County Circuit court. In it, Corcoran claimed that he was fired because Bennett blamed him for "underwhelming fan support" to his 2019 debut studio album, The Big Day, and its tour, according to his lawsuit. Corcoran said Bennett disregarded his advice before and after the album release, contributing to its supposedly underwhelming performance.

Corcoran claimed that despite being owed more than $3 million in unpaid commissions, Bennett’s father said they were only willing to pay him a $350,000 lump sum.

Corcoran said he gave up college to devote himself to promoting Bennett’s talents and in exchange was promised 15% of net profits.

Bennett, however, counters that his ex-manager's lawsuit’s "fabricated narrative is offensive and insulting." Bennett said not only was his album a success, but that he had to deal with the fallout regarding "Corcoran’s botching of the exclusive presale" of vinyl and CD projects. He also accuses Corcoran of demanding kickbacks from individuals seeking to do business with Bennett and taking meetings with interested individuals and converting them into opportunities for himself. He claims that not only did Corcoran convert business opportunities for his own benefit but worked against the artist's interests in favor of his own.

In a statement, Corcoran’s attorney denied Bennett’s accusations and took issue with the rapper’s line of attack.

"Rather than confront the substance of Pat the Manager’s claims, the defendants have elected to attack Mr. Corcoran’s character and rewrite history,” Corcoran attorney said. “The aspersions cast by the Chance camp are offensive and do not reflect the reality of the relationship that Mr. Corcoran and Mr. Bennett developed over many years of collaboration. The results of the pair’s fruitful teamwork—and the contrasting results when Mr. Corcoran was sidelined—are evident to the public."

The statement added, "Mr. Corcoran is proud of the work he did on Mr. Bennett’s behalf, and is proud of the work he continues to perform for other talented artists. Mr. Corcoran looks forward to presenting his claims and airing out the defendants’ baseless accusations in court."

Both sides are demanding a jury trial.