Rapper Ghostface Killah recently reached a settlement with Wu-Tang Clan Productions and Robert “RZA” Diggs in regards to unpaid royalties.
According to a motion filed on August 24, Hon. Judge Richard Lowe III ordered Wu-Tang Clan Productions d/b/a as Wu-Tang Publishing to pay Ghost, born Dennis Coles, $158,255.18, with costs.
The original lawsuit dates back to 2005, when Ghostface sued Wu-Tang Productions over publishing royalties Ghostface claimed he should have earned on early albums released by the Wu-Tang Clan.
The judgment is the latest chapter in a battle between several Wu-Tang Clan members and the RZA, who has been accused by group members of keeping their share of royalties from albums sold.
“In support of his alleged right to a 50% producer’s fee, Diggs testified that he created the musical beats for the songs,” a portion of the lawsuit reads. “Because of this, defendants alleged Diggs was entitled to 50% of revenue separate and apart from the 50% received by the lyric writers. This was the proper distribution argued by defendants rather than a proportional share to be divided among all of the creators as urged by plaintiff. Diggs did not dispute plaintiffs assertions that he received the improper fee, rather he provided testimony in support of his receipt of the fee. Furthermore, he proffered expert testimony to support his receipt of the 50% producer’s fee.”
Ghostface, Raekwon and The RZA addressed the issue in published interviews. “Don’t play with a grown man’s pockets,” Raekwon told MTV.com of the issue last year. “Don’t ever let a n***as feel like you stealing from him…because we was the n***as that would’ve did anything for you, jump in front of a bullet for you.”
RZA also shed light on the lawsuit with Ghostface in a January 2009 interview with Wildstylemag.com.
“They took all these times that I got 50 percent, added them up and said I owed them about 300-400 grand,” RZA explained. “How the f**k can that be Ghost?! Every time you put an album out with any producer you do the same thing. Now you are going to change it on me? Not only did I make the beat, I probably gave you some of your lyrics and sat in that f**ing studio for months!”
In January of 2008, U-God also sued RZA and Wu Music Group, seeking $170,000 in unpaid royalties.
RZA’s attorney Anthony Motta refused to comment on the matter, while Ghostface’s lawyers Cinque & Cinque were not available for comment.
All Wu-Tang Clan members have stated that they continue to remain loyal to the Wu brand, despite business turmoil.
Wu-Tang group members Raekwon’s recent hit album Only Built For Cuban Linx II features the entire Wu-Tang Clan, including Ghostface and The RZA.
In related news, Ghostface is preparing to release his latest album The Wizard of Poetry on September 29.