Hip-hop artist Chance the Rapper has been sued his former manager, who alleges that the artist ignored his advice and then blamed him for the poor performance of his 2019 studio debut “The Big Day.”
Pat Corcoran, who also goes by Pat the Manager, claims that Chance the Rapper, whose real name is Chancelor Bennet, owes him $3 million in unpaid commissions on revenue from touring, streaming, album sales and merchandise.
The lawsuit was filed in Cook County, Ill., on Monday. In it, Corcoran details the behind-the-scenes problems that plagued “The Big Day,” which was Bennett’s first studio album after three successful self-released mixtapes. Corcoran alleges that his former client prematurely announced the release date before the songs had been written or recorded, leaving insufficient time to complete the album.
“Compounding the issue, Bennett’s recording efforts were compromised by unproductive and undisciplined studio sessions,” the lawsuit states. “Procrastination and lackadaisical effort, perpetuated by various hangers-on uninterested in the hard work of writing and recording, resulted in a freestyle-driven product of subpar quality.”
Negative response to the album led to the artist cancelling a tour to promote the new music. Corcoran accused Bennett of scapegoating him for the “lackluster” album, “rather than accept that his own lack of dedication had doomed the project.”
Corcoran’s lawsuit details how Bennett rose to fame as an independent artist not signed to a major label and how he garnered a large following from his mixtapes “10 Day,” “Acid Rap” and “Coloring Book.” Corcoran claims his working partnership with Bennett remained strong until February 2019, when Bennett announced he’d release his first studio album that July.
“Given the significant amount of work, care and attention needed to produce an album, Corcoran expressed serious concern with the projected release date Bennett had unilaterally announced for the album,” the lawsuit states.
While “The Big Day” had some positive reviews, debuting at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 in August 2019, it dropped out of the chart after 19 weeks. Bennett’s previous mixtape, “Coloring Book,” spent 125 weeks on the chart after it released in 2016.
In the lawsuit, Corcoran calls “The Big Day,” “a complete deviation from the meticulous writing process that brought Bennett fame.” Corcoran recommended that Bennett cancel his “The Big Day” tour due to the negative reception and cancel his public appearances. However, Bennett continued to promote the album, and five days before the tour was supposed to begin, he postponed it and later canceled it entirely.
Bennett fired Corcoran in April 2020, and turned management duties over to his father and brother, even though they had “little to no experience in the music industry,” according to the suit. The suit claims that Bennett’s father and brother were more concerned with monetizing every promotional opportunity they could find, rather than shoring up the Chance the Rapper brand for the long term.
“Despite months of outreach and efforts at reconciliation, Bennett has refused to pay Corcoran the amounts Corcoran is fairly owed under the parties’ long-standing agreement and well-settled course of conduct,” the lawsuit states.
Corcoran claims in the lawsuit that Bennett’s father offered to pay him a $350,000 lump sum for his services.
“Mr. Corcoran has filed a suit for allegedly unpaid commissions. In fact, Mr. Corcoran has been paid all of the commissions to which he is legally entitled,” said Bennett’s legal team in a statement to Variety. “Most of the complaint consists of self-serving and fabricated allegations that are wholly unrelated to Mr. Corcoran’s claim for commissions and were plainly included in a calculated attempt to seek attention. Those allegations are wholly without merit, are grossly offensive and we will respond to them within the context of the litigation.”