'Best Friend' Wants Half of Young Jeezy
ATLANTA (CN) - A man who says he became Young Jeezy's "best friend" as teen-agers in a boot camp claims in court that the rap star owes him half of his CTE Music Company.
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Young Jeezy (Jay Jenkins) is a popular rapper from Atlanta whose career has taken off in the past decade.
Plaintiff Demetrius Ellerbee, who uses the moniker Kinky B, claims in Fulton County Superior Court that he and Jeezy agreed to be equal partners in the music industry long ago.
The two "became best friends" in youth boot camp in 1995, when Jenkins was 17, and they created Young Gunz Entertainment together a few years later, according to the complaint.
Ellerbee says he was CEO of Young Gunz, and he and Jenkins tried to sign artists to the label, but the venture fell apart around 2002.
He claims he and Jenkins formed another business, Corporate Thugz Entertainment aka CTE Music, in 2001, and continued to try to sign new rappers.
CTE began focusing on Jenkins' solo career, and he gained national exposure after CTE released two mixtapes, according to the complaint.
"In response to defendant Jenkins' recent notoriety as a solo artist, major music recording labels began showing interest in signing defendant CTE and defendant Jenkins to a production and/or recording agreement," the complaint states.
Courted by Atlantic, Warner Bros. and Def Jam, "plaintiff and defendant Jenkins finalized and executed, on behalf of defendant CTE," a six-album contract with Def Jam, according to the complaint.
Def Jam, defendant, released Jeezy's album "Let's Get It: Thug Motivation 101" in 2005, which sold more than 2 million copies. Ellerbee, as Kinky B, was listed as an executive producer, according to the complaint.
Ellerbee claims CTE has produced and released three more albums, on all of which he was executive producers.
But since Jeezy's launch to stardom, Ellerbee says, Jenkins has "intentionally misappropriated, diverted and/or converted funds" meant for CTE.
On one occasion, Jenkins had a $1 million advance transferred into his personal account, and asked Def Jam to send royalties and distributions directly to him, according to the complaint.
Ellerbee claims Jenkins, Def Jam, CTE, and Universal Music Group owe him at least $5 million.
He seeks declaratory judgment stating that he is an equal owner of CTE and is entitled to half of all royalties, advances, and distributions. He also seeks an accounting and damages and punitive damages for breach of contract, conversion, fraudulent misrepresentation, RICO violations, and unjust enrichment.
Ellerbee is represented by Mario Breedlove.