Rapper Lil Wayne $100 Million Richer, After Selling His Masters, Along With Nicki Minaj and Drake’s Masters In Massive UMG Deal: Report

Lil Wayne is stepping into some serious “cash money” as it has been recently reported that the rapper sold his masters to the parent label of his Young Money Entertainment imprint, Universal Music Group.  While initial news didn’t break until as recently as last week, the deal went down in June of 2020 but it didn’t go public until now thanks in part to a lawsuit filed from the Young Money boss’s former manager.

The man behind the lawsuit is Ronald Sweeney, who claims he was hired by the New Orleans native in 2005 to assist in the negotiations for his deal with Birdman and Cash Money.  He states that he’s had a working relationship with the rapper for nearly 14 years, and due to the contract’s renegotiation process, he claims that Lil’ Wayne “orally agreed to hire [Sweeney] as his personal manager, as the manager for… Young Money Entertainment… and Lil Wayne’s other Young Money business entities… in return for 10% of [the artist’s] gross compensation from all entertainment activities.”

According to TMZ, Sweeney, who’s suing Lil Wayne for over $20 million, claims that he has not been paid his full portion of the rapper’s 2018 settlement in the Cash Money suit, but a few payments which he says is “nowhere near” what he believes that he’s owed.

Sweeney feels that his personal efforts “generated tens, if not hundreds, of millions of dollars in revenue for [Lil Wayne]”.  Following their alleged oral agreement, he says he “managed and handled all of the day-to-day business decisions” for Wayne’s label as well as “protecting [Lil Wayne] from his record company, his other managers, and a vast amount of parasites and others who were trying to take advantage of Lil Wayne…“[In] fact, on more than one occasion, [Sweeney] essentially had to protect Lil Wayne from Lil Wayne, himself.”

Around the same time, Sweeney says that he had also been instrumental in relieving the rapper’s former manager, Cortez Bryant, of his duties, after being asked by Lil Wayne to terminate him prior to the release of Tha Carter V album.  There had been a conflict of interest involving legal matters with Cash Money Records and Drake, and once Sweeney delivered, he claims to have taken over managerial duties with an increase from 10 to 17 percent. 

During an interview on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, Lil Wayne made comments that alluded to issues with Bryant back in 2018.  “I’m so into what I’m doing every day, meaning my craft, that when I have to go too far into something else, I put somebody else in charge of it when there’s somebody else that was in charge of it that messes up, then everything blows up,” he said. “And that’s how everything blew up. We just needed the debris to clear.”  

However, despite multiple reports, a rep for Bryant insisted to Rap-Up at the time that he was “100% still his manager.”  Sweeney had also been suing Bryant and Young Money president Mack Maine for defamation, claiming they had been motivated by greed and conspired to have him terminated in the attempt to pocket the money for themselves.  

Within the court documents, it was also revealed that the “Uproar” rapper sold his masters to Universal Music Group in a deal worth $100 million.  Details were few when the news first broke, however a new information has come forward as Music Business Worldwide is sharing that not only does the deal include Lil Wayne’s discography, but the entire Young Money catalog.  This would include the masters of Nicki Minaj and the majority of Drake albums.  

“Plaintiffs are informed and believe… that, subsequent to [Sweeney’s] termination [as Wayne’s manager], specifically in or about June of 2020,” the suit reads, “Lil Wayne was able to sell the Young Money Masters to Universal Music Group for in excess of $100 Million.”

Up until the release of Drake’s Scorpion in 2018, all of his albums were distributed under the Cash Money/Young Money umbrella.  As for Nicki Minaj, all of her projects, including Queen and her single Yikes were released under the YMCMB label, and being that she is reportedly still signed to the label, her future recordings may also be affected.

Lil Wayne has not come forward to address or confirm the reports.  He is, however, dealing with a gun charge that could place him behind bars for up to 10 years. 

About Jamari Williams

Jamari Williams is a seasoned journalist who works mainly in the fields of music, film and television. Jamari is a Morehouse graduate who began writing at the age of 12 and have wrote for many new media companies.

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