(AllHipHop News) Street Star Norbes is suing the Ultimate Rap League, alleging that he was a partner that was forced out of their company after they landed its “lucrative deal” with Drake and Caffeine, Inc.
Norbes, whose real name is Dagoberto Velez, filed a $40 million lawsuit against Ultimate Rap League LLC (URL) over the weekend, laying out his claim.
Considered the most premier battle rap league in the world, the Ultimate Rap League was founded over a decade ago and has launched the careers of some of the biggest stars in the culture.
The 80-page document details almost every battle that the URL has produced, or that he promoted using the marquee franchise title, The Proving Grounds.
Therein the filing, the battle rap influencer claims that the league used his image and likeness unlawfully and expressed that he believes that there has been some sort of contravention of their original 2009 work agreement between the known partners of the URL.
The multicount lawsuit names executives Troy Mitchell, Eric Beasley, and Jean French, and states that they engaged in a “wrongful dissolution” of their professional relationship and breached a contract between him and the URL.
It further alleges that URL did not act, though obligated to do so, in the best interest of Norbes. This is called “breach of fiduciary duty.”
Unfortunately, nowhere in the document did the former War Report host point to a contract, list a formal arrangement, or note that he shared in the overall annual profit or revenue share that URL has enjoyed since its inception.
In fact, the document seems to argue that there was an “Implied Agreement” based on a private conversation between one or two of the owners and pointed to an interview where one of the owners, Eric Beasley, names him.
While all the facts about their business relationship were detailed (again the bulk of the document lists battles, a few emails, the allegations, and the amount that he is suing for), he did introduce another business relationship – professional football player Gerald McCoy.
The six-time Pro Bowler and former Dallas Cowboy is named as Norbes’ guest at several URL events and later (around 2018) as a financier of several URL/ Proving Ground or Born Legacy events that Norbes was principally responsible for.
The documents repeated the phrase “Plaintiff received $XXXX via an electronic transfer” from McCoy for the express purpose to “cover expenses of the Ultimate Rap League.” This is interesting as McCoy, who appears to be acting as a sponsor, per the court document, only pays Norbes and not the company that he claims to be a partner in (URL).
While the lawsuit says that there is a dispute about Norbes’ partnership with the URL, there is no dispute about his value to the company in his role as a talent scout.
The lawsuit shows (page 35) that as an executive at the small company, he was given the authority to engage in contracts and negotiations on behalf of the company — but never states that he engaged in a contract of negotiation on behalf of himself to secure his partnership.
In fact, he admits that no such legal agreement exists. The lawsuit reads, “Plaintiff verbally agreed to have an equal partnership with Defendants in the Ultimate Rap League.”
This lawsuit comes only months after the URL terminated its relationship with Norbes and publicly released a statement to the battle rap community.
URL stated, “While we have enjoyed the time of our professional engagement with Norbes, the new decade has brought forth many changes that do not afford the team allowances to continue with some of the relationships we have had in the past.”
The statement continued, “The decision to discontinue [at this time] a professional relationship with Norbes is consensus that our team unanimously agreed upon.” Again, never dismissing his value — but laying out that as a consultant/ or employee he had been fired.
Norbes is suing for compensatory damages of $30 million and a 10% royalty in perpetuity of all the quarterly revenue of the Ultimate Rap League, LLC, its subsidiaries, and any successors in interest.
He is asking for $10 million in punitive damages and $250,000 in reliance damages. Perhaps, he knows where the league is keeping the treasure trove.
For years the battle rap culture has speculated that URL is cashing in.
Almost two years ago to the date, several battle rappers went on “strike” for a day and a half after miscalculating that the company makes $2.5 million from every battle.
After coming to an agreement, a month later URL hosted a battle called The Strike 2.5, starring one of the leading voices in the strike, T-Top. T-Top is also one of the top cards on the September 19th card, Summer Madness X.
There are no official numbers to show the company’s value, but according to Statsmash, URL has a net worth of $1.1 million, and YouTubers.me says that URL’s annual income is between $209K – $1.25M (averaging $1.24K a week).
But many are looking at the company’s recent partnership with Caffeine as evidence that is a secret cash cow.
Backed by the Fox Corp., Cox Enterprises Inc., and Sanabil Investments, Caffeine raised $113 million “to invest in new forms of entertainment that users can watch and engage within real-time.”
The popular rumor was that all of that money went to the operations of URL. Both companies dispute that notion and have asserted that only part of the money will go to promoting battles (pr, marketing, billboards, social media, etc.).
The Ultimate Rap League has not released a statement as of yet, however within the lawsuit as defendants, the company stated that the “plaintiff is owed nothing.”