By Matthew Belloni
EXCLUSIVE: Will a new lawsuit prevent the upcoming fourth album by multi-platinum rapper The Game from dropping as scheduled?
A company claiming to have discovered the West Coast hip-hop star today sued Aftermath Records, Interscope, Universal Music Group and Dr. Dre's company ARY, Inc. alleging it has been pushed aside and stiffed on royalties. As a result, it wants a court to halt the upcoming release of "The R.E.D. Album," currently scheduled for August.
Desperado Entertainment, which claims it found Jayceon Taylor and helped turn him into mega-selling rap star The Game, says in a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court that a series of agreements entitle it to share in licensing and publishing income from the former G-Unit member's records. The lawsuit doesn't reveal who is behind Desperado or whether Game himself is involved (that seems unlikely considering a letter attached to the lawsuit complains that certain monies have been paid directly to Game and his reps instead of Desperado). The rapper has spent this week refuting a weird death rumor
Desperado claims that despite efforts to work with the UMG labels, it has been cut out of the development of the new album in violation of its rights of approval. In addition, Desperado says the labels have breached the agreements by failing to account and pay proper royalties. The defendants have allegedly claimed "'budget overages' for all LPs but have not provided supporting documentation," according to the complaint.
Desperado's agreements allegedly allowed the UMG labels to recoup advances "solely from record sales and not from publishing earnings or royalties," the complaint states. "Royalties from the sale of Game LP's have never been paid to Plaintiff."
The amount of those royalties are not specified, nor are damages, although a letter attached to the complaint demands an immediate $275,000 "advance" payment on the new album. This is one of those lawsuits that feels like it merely scratches the surface of a deep underlying feud. Game has a history
of various fracases. We've reached out to UMG for comment.
In addition to requesting an injunction, the suit alleges causes of action for breach of contract, fraud/failure to disclose, unfair business practices, negligent misrepresentation, accounting and declaratory relief. It was filed by LA attorneys Christopher Pham, Christopher Johnson and Susan Rabin at Johnson & Pham.