No rap showdown happening but rappers turned businessmen Birdman and Jay Z are taking it to the court to battle it out over the rights to Lil Wayne's music.
Birdman, legally known as Bryan Williams and cofounder of Cash Money Records, has added to Jay Z's problems by filing a $50 million lawsuit against Aspiro, the company that owns Jay Z's music streaming service tidal. The lawsuit charges Jay Z of tortious interference with contract, unfair competition and conversion for streaming Lil Wayne's latest mixtape "Free Weezy Album" and his 2014 song "Glory" on Tidal even though all the rights to Lil Wayne's music are said to be exclusively owned by Cash Money.
The lawsuit, a copy of which was obtained by Entertainment Weekly, says that the streaming of Lil Wayne's music on Tidal "is a desperate and illegal attempt to save their struggling streaming service." It also claims that the release of the mixtape, which was met with "tepid reviews" from critics, could damage the music label's reputation as it could raise speculations about its role in the release of the mixtape, and that Cash Money invested "tens of millions of dollars" in Lil Wayne's career.
"Defendants have been, and are continuing to, feature and promote (Dwayne Michael) Carter's (also known as Lil Wayne) recordings throughout the world via defendants' fledgling digital streaming music service known as Tidal," the lawsuit says, "all in brazen defiance of (Cash Money Records') exclusive rights under the exclusive recording agreement."
In defense of Tidal, Jay Z's camp says Lil Wayne's music is not owned exclusively by Cash Money. Tidal also says Lil Wayne sealed a partnership with the company to promote some of his music on the streaming service in return for a part ownership in Tidal.
"Free Wayne Album," which includes 16 songs unreleased by Cash Money, began streaming on July 3. The record company is seeking an injunction to remove each of these 16 songs on Tidal for the duration of the lawsuit until a decision has been reached.
Despite Cash Money owning the rights to Lil Wayne's music, Lil Wayne has a strained relationship with the label, which is facing a $51 million lawsuit filed by the rapper for allegedly refusing to pay Lil Wayne $10 million after the completion of "The Carter V" album.
Earlier this week, Bird Man and another rapper Young Thug were linked to persons who are suspected to have shot down Lil Wayne's tour buses as they were travelling in Georgia in April.
Photo: Pieter-Jannick Dijkstra | Flickr