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Megan Thee Stallion Sues Record Label Again — This Time Over The Definition of ‘Album’

The rapper has added a new complaint to her "long and tortured history of disputes" with 1501 Certified Entertainment.

Megan Thee Stallion has filed a new lawsuit against her record label 1501 Certified Entertainment, accusing the company of trying to keep her locked into her record deal by refusing to consider a recent release as an “album.”

Nearly two years after she first sued her label for blocking the release of her music, Stallion — whose legal name is Megan Pete — launched a new case Friday seeking a ruling that her 2021 release Something for Thee Hotties meets the legal definition of an “album.” That’s a crucial question, as the rapper is contractually obligated to release a certain number of albums for the label.

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“1501’s new position, taken months after the album’s release, is clearly a ruse in an effort to try to take further advantage of Pete, at great expense and not in good faith,” her attorneys wrote.

Citing her “long and tortured history of disputes” with the label, Stallion’s attorneys said she had been “forced to bring this action” to “protect herself, her music, and her artistic choices.”

Stallion would have just one album left on her deal with 1501 if Something for Thee Hotties is counted toward the total, a source tells Billboard.

Speaking to Billboard on Tuesday, an attorney for 1501 flatly denied the lawsuit’s allegations. Steven M. Zager, of the law firm King & Spalding LLP, said Stallion’s contract clearly gave the label the right to approve what would count as an “album,” and that 1501 had “told her from the very beginning this is not going to count toward your album count.” He noted that Something for Thee Hotties contained substantial amounts of previously-released material.

“She can’t just deliver us an album that we did not approve and then claim it satisfies her recording contract,” Zager said. “It doesn’t, and the contract is pretty clear about that. I’ll be interested to hear what they have to say when they’re under oath.”

The filing of the new lawsuit, which was obtained by Billboard on Tuesday (Feb. 22), added a new wrinkle to a public war of words that played out Tuesday between Stallion and Carl Crawford, the CEO of 1501 and a former Major League Baseball player.

On Tuesday morning, Crawford shared a news article reporting that Stallion had dropped her earlier lawsuit. Indeed she had; court records show that the rapper filed a motion on Feb. 16 to dismiss her claims, saying the earlier dispute had been “resolved” when she successfully released music that she claimed 1501 had been trying to block. Stallion quickly clapped back at Crawford, posting a response to Instagram, telling the executive that “we are most definitely STILL IN COURT” and that “YOU STILL GETTING SUED.”

Notably, the complaint filed Friday disclosed that Stallion and 1501 reached a deal in March 2021 to amend her recording contract, in an effort to resolve their legal disputes. Such an agreement does not appear to have been publicly reported before Tuesday.

The new case is the latest development in a two-year legal battle between Stallion and 1501 that started with the rapper’s primary claim that Crawford and his label duped her into signing an “unconscionable” record deal at a young age.

Stallion first sued 1501 in March 2020, claiming the label was improperly blocking her from releasing her EP Suga after she sought to renegotiate the deal. In that case, she quickly won a restraining order that allowed her to release the music. Megan went to court again in August 2021, arguing the label was pulling a similar move with a remix of BTS‘ “Butter,” on which Stallion was a featured artist. A judge quickly issued a ruling allowing the track to hit the market.

In the new suit, Stallion says 1501 improperly classified Something for Thee Hotties — a compilation of previously-released freestyles and unreleased archival songs. Her attorneys say the label sent her a letter “out-of-the-blue” in January making that claim, and that it’s doing so because it wants to “chain Pete down” for more albums.

“The intended result of its actions is clear: 1501 wants to tie Pete down to release more albums under the contract to the financial benefit of 1501,” the rapper’s attorneys wrote in the new lawsuit. “This is inconsistent with the contract terms, which are clear and unambiguous.”

In addition to refuting the lawsuit’s allegations on Tuesday, 1501’s attorney Zager called particular attention to the disclosure that Stallion had renegotiated her deal. He suggested that Stallion could no longer rely on arguments that she had been duped into an unfair contract. In addition to a team of lawyers, Zager said the rapper had signed her new agreement with the help of experienced industry advisors, including Jay-Z.

“In her original lawsuit, she said she was young and didn’t know what she was doing,” Zager said. “Well she’s not young anymore, and she can’t say she didn’t know what she was doing when she had lawyers and professionals advising her.”

UPDATE: This story was updated Feb. 22 at 7:53 pm EST with a statement from 1501 Certified Entertainment.