Black Sheep Sues Universal Music Group For Unpaid Royalties

Black Sheep - Dres

Dres and Mista Lawnge accuse UMG of cutting a “sweetheart” deal with Spotify.

Back in 1991, Black Sheep burst onto the mainstream Hip Hop scene with “The Choice Is Yours (Revisited).” Fast forward 31 years, the New York-bred duo seeks compensation from Universal Music Group.

According to reports, Black Sheep filed a federal class action lawsuit against the multinational music corporation. Andres “Dres” Titus and William “Mista Lawnge” McLean claim Universal Music Group owes nearly $750 million to the label’s artist roster.

Black Sheep accuses Universal Music Group of breaching contracts by agreeing to an “undisclosed, sweetheart” deal with a streaming service. The plaintiffs allege UMG knowingly negotiated lower royalty payments from Spotify for UMG’s own financial benefit.

“For approximately a decade, Universal omitted from the royalty statements Universal issued to plaintiffs that it had received Spotify stock in connection with the ‘use or exploitation’ of Black Sheep recordings,” reads a section of the legal filing.

The lawsuit paperwork also states, “As a result of its continuing contractual breaches, Universal has unlawfully retained approximately $750 million in royalties that should have been paid to plaintiffs and the class.”

Black Sheep’s “The Choice Is Yours (Revisited)” peaked at #1 on Billboard‘s Hot Rap Singles chart. The track lives on the A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing album from 1991. That project hosts the “Flavor of the Month” and “Strobelite Honey” singles too.

A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing earned a Gold Award from the RIAA. Black Sheep’s album catalog also includes 1994’s Non-Fiction. Both A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing and Non-Fiction came out via Mercury Records, a subsidiary of Universal Music Group.