Rapper’s ‘Best Friend’ From Boot Camp Sues for Half His Earnings

Aug 23, 2012 6:00am
gty young jeezy nt 120822 wblog Rappers Best Friend From Boot Camp Sues for Half His Earnings

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The “best friend” of Young Jeezy filed a lawsuit against the hip-hop artist, claiming that the rapper misappropriated funds that were rightfully the friend’s.

Demetrius Ellerbee was one of the executive producers for the albums of Young Jeezy, whose legal name is Jay Jenkins. Ellerbee has sued Jenkins, the record label the two started and Universal Music Group, saying he is owed more than $5 million, which is  half of what Jenkins earned.

Ellerbee, who claims in the lawsuit filed in the Superior Court of Fulton County, Ga., that he and Jenkins were  ”best friends” as teenagers in a boot camp and started a record label, Corporate Thugz Entertainment, or CTE, in 2001.

According to the complaint, Ellerbee said the two had a “long-standing agreement that they would share equally in all expenses and proceeds associated with defendant CTE and [Ellerbee] and defendant Jenkins’ performance. …”

Mario Breedlove, the attorney for Ellerbee, declined to comment but issued the following statement on behalf of his client: “We believe the facts of the lawsuit speak for themselves, and Mr. Ellerbee is hopeful that this matter can be resolved among the parties swiftly and amicably.”

An attorney for Jenkins did not return a request from ABC News seeking  comment, and neither did Universal Music Group, which owns Def Jam.

Young Jeezy’s first album, “Let’s Get It: Thug Motivation 101,” was released in 2005 under CTE and the record label Def Jam. The album sold more than 2 million copies for which Jenkins received an advance of about $750,000. Ellerbee estimates that Jenkins received $2 million for his second album, $2.5 to $3 million for his third  and $2.5 to $3 million for his most recent album, “Thug Motivation 103: Hustlerz Ambition.”

Ellerbee was listed as an executive producer for some of Jenkins’ albums, for which he “oversaw and managed … production,” including “negotiating and executing producer agreements and communicating directly with defendant Def Jam regarding album promotions and deadlines,” according to the court filing.

But he said Jenkins “intentionally misappropriated, diverted and/or converted funds” intended for CTE, asking Def Jam to send royalties and distributions directly to him, according to the complaint.  In one instance, acording to the complaint, Jenkins had a $1 million advance transferred to his personal account before the release of his second album, “The Inspiration.”

 

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