So Lil Wayne has definitely decided to sue Cash Money Records for the $8 million it owes him in advance money for his new album “Tha Carter V,” according to TMZ. This signals the permanent end of whatever mutual regard that found Lil Wayne and Birdman, CEO of Cash Money Records, pecking each other on the lips affectionately in 2002. It also accelerates and puts into high-speed what will be the rap-based professional collision of 2015. With Lil Wayne claiming that (1) Birdman is making him a prisoner within a rigged contract (2) his creative muse is being stifled and (3) Birdman is making a point by refusing to negotiate an end to the impasse, which would end if he simply paid Lil Wayne the $8 million owed for producing the album, and $2 million upon finishing it. Still, Lil Wayne aka “Weezy” ain’t letting this stop him from making a gargantuan lawsuit claim against Birdman for $51 million, which includes ownership of all the Young Money copyrights, featuring young talent, such as Drake and Nicki Minaj.
But a serious question: Is Birdman the Don King of rap? Just think about it. Don King is mercurial, ruthless, aggressive, greedy, stubborn—unbowed by any inward sense of fairness. It can be said King took advantage of Mike Tyson: according to Tyson, he was exploited to the tune of $100 million in contract fraud or non-performance. Tyson sued King and eventually settled for $14 million. The only way this comparison falters is between Weezy and Tyson: although both can be drug-addled, incoherent, spendthrift—only one is a known rapist and asocial monster: Tyson. As artists of a kind, it is wholly traditional to for them to be out-witted on the business side. Whereas, Tyson resorted to violence (which is the high artistic vehicle of boxing), in one instance in 2006, Lil Wayne has made a witty mix-tape retort (which is the high artistic vehicle of rap). Of course, Tyson got over it, had a show on HBO, and instead of losing his head over these things, become a disciple of Kierkegaard and a literary man of decidedly modernist taste. So it’s wait and see for Weezy for now.
Hat tip to Lynn Lee of Tallahassee, FL—a polyglot in sports and pop culture; and possibly the only person in the continental Americas with more knowledge of the Godfather movies than the actors and producers themselves—for this idea through a provocative Facebook post.