Ruthless Records has filed a multiple-count breach-of-contract lawsuit against the rap group Bone Thugs-N-Harmony seeking undisclosed “substantial” damages, Billboard Bulletin reports. The suit, filed July 25 in Superior Court of the State of California for the County of Los Angeles, alleges that the group delivered material for only three of the six albums stipulated by a recording and publishing contract signed on May 1, 1994.
The suit says front man Steven Howse (aka Layzie Bone) also separately agreed not to write, record, or perform for another label. His Epic debut, “Thug By Nature,” debuted at No. 43 on The Billboard 200 in late March.
Bone Thugs on June 29 informed Ruthless that it would not provide material for the remaining albums, citing provisions of the California Labor Code that allow for termination of personal-service contracts after seven years. The act’s lawyer was unavailable for comment.
The group’s contract has been the center of dispute for several months. Last December, group member Bryon McCane (aka Bizzy Bone) sued Ruthless and its president/CEO Tomica Wright, Loud Records, Sony Music Entertainment, and Epic Music Video for breach of contract. McCane claimed that he recorded his second solo album at his own expense and was never paid a $1 million advance due him.
He also alleged that the labels wrongfully used his likeness in a Bone Thugs home video, that the video “portrays Bizzy untruthfully as a user and endorser of illegal drugs,” and that the release of the video scuttled a prospective solo deal with DreamWorks.
Bizzy’s “The Gift” (AMC) was released the same day as Layzie Bone’s lastest album, and debuted one notch behind it at No. 44 on The Billboard 200. Last September, group member Stanley Howse (aka Flesh-N-Bone) was sentenced to 10 years in prison for assault with an AK-47 rifle and possessing a gun, which is illegal for an ex-convict. His most recent Koch album, “5th Dog Let Loose,” bowed at No. 30 on Billboard’s Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart last October.