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Why Lil Wayne is far from being paid his due after Cash Money deal

Cheers of congratulatory praise showered the air when reports that Wayne had finally won his long-fought legal battle with Cash Money Records over financial disagreeances Wednesday night.

The settlement comes with a $10 million payout and also means Wayne’s now able to release his long-awaited Tha Carter V album, which will drop through Universal Records and not Cash Money, as he has finally severed ties with the veteran hip-hop imprint.

On paper, this does sound like good news. And, in a way, it is.

Cash Money has owed Wayne tens of millions of dollars, including an $8 million advance for Tha Carter V, as well as $2 million after the album was completed. At one point it was reported that Weezy was also asking a judge to declare him the joint copyright holder of all of Young Money Entertainment Recordings.

Lil Wayne Celebration GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

But this is nothing new. Cash Money’s financial woes and the misdealings from its figurehead, Birdman, have long been known, dating back to when the label had Curren$y, B.G., and others.

Pusha T famously spoke on it in his feud with Lil Wayne. He rapped in 2013’s “Exodus 23:1“:

“You signed to one nigga that’s signed to another nigga”

A few years after Pusha’s diss, in what is now a historically viral moment in pop culture, Birdman stormed out of an interview with Power 105.1’s The Breakfast Club demanding “respek” be placed on his name.

In this instance, Birdman attempted to check the show’s host, Charlemagne, for his alleged nonstop talk of Cash Money’s bad deals. Apparently, it was hurting business.

And just last year Rick Ross’s scathing “Idols Become Rivals” revealed the “They” DJ Khaled often warns us of, was Baby the whole time. He too had been shortchanged for his work with the camp back in the early 2000s.

Given Birdman’s history of bad business, the joy we’ve witnessed after hearing the results of Lil Wayne’s long battle for reciprocity is understandable. Not only was it symbolic of a victory for Wayne himself, but it means there is hope for countless of other artists who also feel like Cash Money records still owe them loot.

Tap Out Cash Money GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

However, I feel like the breaks should be pumped a little here; because symbolic is as about as deep as this victory goes when it comes to Lil Wayne’s compensation. In fact, it’s a stretch to call it a win at all.

In a statement provided to Billboard, Wayne’s attorney Ron Sweeney confirmed the rapper reached a settlement but did not disclose any specific figure:

“Per our settlement agreement, the matter has been amicably resolved to the satisfaction of all parties. In terms of the particulars, we’re prohibited legally from saying anything further. I can say that my client is happy. He is his own man, a man that owns his assets, his music and himself. At some point, Wayne will let his fans know what’s going to happen next.”

However, there have been updated reports claiming the dollar amount being disclosed is false.

XXL claims Birdman did pay a red penny as it was covered by Universal Records. But even if they did, Lil Wayne is worth far more than $10 million. Keep in mind, he sued Birdman and Cash Money for $51 million initially.

When you think of the value both Nicki Minaj and Drake have added to the label then compile Lil Wayne’s legendary body of work, $51 million is really light.

He is a veteran with decades in the game in — he should be set up like one. Instead, Wayne tours and makes club appearances like new-age SoundCloud rappers.

Celebrating Wayne’s emancipation is good, but when done in context. Like Diddy, Hov, Baby, Dre, and other OG’s, Lil Wayne should be stress-free and be making art on his terms. At 30 plus, it’s a shame he still isn’t at that point.

While the silver lining is The Carter V, it’s a shame we have to settle for moral victories when it comes to a legend this big.

Let’s hope now that he has contractually severed ties from Baby, he can salvage that latter part of his legacy.