Cash Money has consistently been one of the most iconic and successful record labels in hip-hop history, but it’s also been a lightning rod over the years, particularly when questions arise over its finances. According to a report in Page Six, Cash Money is under fire again in a lawsuit that alleges the label run by Bryan “Birdman” Williams has been keeping royalties from Drake‘s music.
Drake’s label history is more complicated than many realize; the Toronto MC initially was signed by Jas Prince to Aspire Music Group a decade ago, before then signing with Lil Wayne and Cash Money/Young Money, which is itself distributed by Republic Records/Universal Music Group — and all of this has nothing to do with his own OVO label, which is affiliated with Warner Bros. Records.
That first Aspire deal is the subject of this current lawsuit, which alleges Aspire is owed one-third of Cash Money’s profits from Drake’s music, and that the label has been “hoarding” the money and refusing to open its books. The amount of money at stake is currently unclear, though given how big of a year Drake has had — Views was the top-selling album of 2016, and “One Dance” the top song — it could be substantial.
The lawsuit is the latest in a string of legal issues for Cash Money, which is involved in several lawsuits regarding the fractured relationship with Lil Wayne, who has also alleged that the label won’t provide accounting figures. Wayne has threatened repeatedly to leave the label and take Drake and fellow Young Money signee Nicki Minaj with him, though Birdman has held firm that that won’t happen.