HOUSTON (CN) – Atlanta rapper Jeezy defrauded a promoter who paid him $30,000 to perform in Houston, ditching the show at the last minute for an album-release party in Atlanta, the promoter claims in court.
Darryl Austin sued Jay Jenkins pka Jeezy on Wednesday in Federal Court.
Jenkins is a frequent collaborator with hip-hop’s biggest stars and has recorded two gold and two platinum albums. Platinum albums sell 1 million copies, gold 500,000.
The 39-year-old Jenkins is known for his raspy voice and simple, vivid lyrics that extol street culture and self-fulfillment.
Jenkins started selling drugs at age 11 in Atlanta, and founded a record label in his early 20s before deciding its artists weren’t working hard enough and launching his own rap career, according to Forbes magazine. He is set to open a marketing firm focused on athletes and entertainers.
He told Forbes he wants to be known as “one of the greatest hustlers there’s ever been” in an interview published Jan. 9.
Austin, the Houston promoter who sued Jenkins, might agree that Jenkins is a great hustler, but not in the flattering sense.
Austin claims in his lawsuit that in the autumn of 2016 he agreed to pay Jenkins $60,000 for an hour-long show at the Arena Theatre in Houston, on Dec. 9, 2016.
After Austin paid Jenkins a $30,000 deposit, rented the venue, bought radio ads and set up ticket sales, Jenkins decided he didn’t want to rap at the theater and would not refund the deposit, even after he was told thousands of tickets had already been sold, according to the complaint.
“Thereafter, representatives for defendant, Jeezy, started asking plaintiff to pay more for the performance, in the amount of $80,000. Feeling cornered and in distress, plaintiff agreed to pay more money for the performance,” the complaint states.
“However, at the last minute, defendant Jeezy, decided to attend an album release party in Atlanta for his new album and nix the December 9, 2016 performance in Houston.”
Jenkins then “blamed everything on the plaintiff for why he did not perform” in online comments, responding to messages from frustrated fans who bought tickets to the show, Austin says.
He wants more than $100,000 in compensatory and punitive damages for breach of contract, fraud, conversion, detrimental reliance and tortious interference, and he wants his $30,000 deposit back.
He is represented by Troy Wilson in Richmond, a Houston suburb.
YJ Productions and Concerts and Sammy Mumphery are also named as defendants in the lawsuit, which identifies them as Jenkins’ promoter and agent.
Mumphery’s LinkedIn page says he manages rappers for SEY Artist Management Entertainment Touring & Talent, an Atlanta company.
Mumphery did not respond Thursday to a phone message left on SEY’s voice mail.