Wiz Khalifa Files Lawsuit Against Former Manager and Label
Wiz Khalifa filed paperwork in Los Angeles Superior Court yesterday (May 31) against former manager Benjy Grinberg and Rostrum Records, the label that signed Khalifa as a young, up-and-coming local Pittsburgh rapper in 2005. The suit seeks termination of the 360 deal Wiz signed with Rostrum as a teenager, alleging that Grinberg and the label profited from "virtually every aspect of plaintiff's professional life" for more than a decade, and entered a "series of other transactions, all in further violation of the rule against self dealing."
The suit seeks more than $1 million in damages, as well as attorneys' fees and further punitive damages.
The complaint details Wiz's initial agreements with Grinberg and Rostrum, beginning with an oral agreement from 2004 for Grinberg and Rostrum to serve as his managers, an arrangement which lasted until March 11, 2014, before Wiz terminated that management relationship. Wiz alleges that over that time, Grinberg and Rostrum used the position as his management to guide him into deals that benefited Rostrum more than Wiz, beginning with the 360 deal signed in May 2005 that included one album and five options for additional albums. With the release of his sixth LP Khalifa in February of this year, the suit claims Wiz has fulfilled that contract. Along the way, the suit alleges that Grinberg and Rostrum made an unknown amount of revenue from each release, and entered into deals with Warner Bros. Records and Atlantic Records for his recordings while "intentionally conceal[ing] material information... in order to profit at his expense."
Grinberg, who launched Rostrum in the early 2000s and also shepherded the early career of Mac Miller, said he was "disappointed and surprised" by the lawsuit. "To witness an artist turn on you after supporting them for a number of years is very disheartening," Grinberg said in a statement provided to Billboard. "This is an egregious lawsuit filled with inaccuracies, yet unfortunately people sometimes resort to these practices as a way of conducting business.”
Khalifa is currently gearing up for The High Road Tour, where he'll be headlining alongside Snoop Dogg, which is set to kick off July 20 in West Palm Beach, Fla. and run through the beginning of September. Kevin Gates, Casey Veggies, Jhene Aiko and DJ Drama are all also scheduled for the tour.