Wu-Tang Sued Over $1Mill In Unpaid Royalties By ODB’s Widow

LEGENDS & ICONS OF HIP HOP - Post By Kevin Douglas


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It was a tragic scenario in the hip hop world when ODB passed back in 2004, but now, his widow reportedly is in contention with Wu-Tang Clan Productions.

Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s presence is still being felt in hip hop despite almost being gone twenty years. With Wu-Tang Clan documentaries and mini docuseries over the years, new fans have discovered what made ODB a legendary figure for hip hop. The rap business side of things sometimes puts a damper on things when issues are not resolved and as of today (February 8th), the financials of Ol’ Dirty Bastard is put on blast by his widow. News surfaced earlier today (February 8) that ODB’s talents are at the center of a lawsuit brought on by his widow.

Variety reports that Icelene Jones has filed a lawsuit against Wu-Tang Clan Productions, owned and operated by RZA, citing that her late husband’s “estate is owed at least $1 million in unpaid royalties.”

According to Jones, she alleges that from 2011 until 2021, the estate did not receive any royalties. It was in July 2021 that a check for $130K reportedly sent and “the estate also received some payments in 2019 and 2020 from Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp., but the suit alleges that the combined payments are just a fraction of what is owed.”

There have reportedly been repeated requests to see accounting documents but they have not been provided.

The complaint cites a 1992 recording agreement, under which ODB was to be paid 50% of net earnings on the publishing of his copyrighted songs. The members of the group were also to split 50% of net earnings from the sound recordings. The suit alleges the estate is also owed royalties on merchandising and videos.

RZA has not publicly responseded to the lawsuit at the time of this publication. On ODB’s official instagram, a post was made concerning intellectual property. It is not reported if it has anything related to the lawsuit.

Proud to be in @blackenterprise for our work in Hollywood and with our client @oldirtybastardlegacy. Here’s an excerpt: One of the primary sources of revenue for Four Screens is intellectual property. Why do you think it’s important to have intellectual property, especially as a Black entrepreneur?

Historically, we have not owned our intellectual property. In music, there have been a lot of artists that haven’t owned their masters, and in film, a lot of creators haven’t owned their movie rights. Owning Intellectual property is important to create generational wealth. It creates residuals, royalties, and passive income down the line, so it’s important to have management that will advocate that ownership for you