On the heels of the release of her sophomore album, “Traumazine,” Megan Thee Stallion’s ongoing legal battle with Carl Crawford’s indie label 1501 Certified Entertainment continues.
An amended complaint obtained by Variety and filed on behalf of Megan (real name Megan Pete) reveals that in addition to asking Harris County district court to determine that her 2021 release “Something for Thee Hotties” is an “album” as defined in her recording agreement, Megan is also requesting $1 million in damages from the label.
In the complaint, Megan alleges that 1501 owes the amount due to their “underpayment of royalties” and for “wrongfully [allowing] for excessive marketing and promotion charges to be deducted from amounts owed to Pete under the recording agreement.”
If the judge rules in her favor, Megan will have officially completed her contractual obligations to 1501 and will be able to leave the label in compliance with the recording agreement she signed in 2018.
Over the past two years, Megan and 1501 have gone back and forth (both in and out of court) over disputes concerning her minimum recording commitment. 1501 has repeatedly denied the fact that “Something for Thee Hotties” meets their label’s requirements for a studio album.
Steven Zager, a legal rep for 1501 Certified Entertainment, confirmed to Variety that the label is still in the process of analyzing the validity of “Traumazine” as an album in accordance with her contract. However, even if “Traumazine” were to qualify, Zager claims Megan would still owe them at least one more full body of work to fulfill her contract.
Megan’s updated complaint also accuses the label of piracy, citing how “Trauamazine” leaked shortly after the label was given a link to the project prior to its release.
“Pete requested 1501’s assistance with [investigating the leak] but, to date, 1501 has not taken any action to help investigate,” the complaint continues. “Under those circumstances, Pete had no choice but to release ‘Traumazine’ early… If that were to occur, every minute that passed once the music was leaked would equate to lost earnings, lost chart position, and lost data for everyone — Pete, 1501, and 300 Entertainment. And yet, 1501 continues to take the position that ‘Traumazine’ does not satisfy Pete’s recording commitments as an ‘Album’ under the Contract.”
Zager says those claims came as a surprise to the label, and he believes the logic behind the accusation doesn’t make sense when you consider the monetization of “Trauamazine.” “When Megan makes a profit, so do we,” Zager said. “So what interest would we have in that?”
The amended complaint also reveals that Megan has “hired forensic investigators to try to determine the source of the leaks.”
Late Tuesday night, Rap-A-Lot Records founder J. Prince came to the defense of Crawford and his 1501 label with a statement that tags both Megan and Roc Nation as dishonest.
“The truth is that Carl discovered, developed and fully financed MTS early in her career which led to a life changing distribution agreement for her with 300 Entertainment,” he wrote in an Instagram caption.
“From 1501’s earliest agreement with Megan, long before MTS was a household name; 1501 generously agreed to give Megan 40% of its profits which is substantially more than the customary record royalty that a new artist receives from a record label…Any attempt by MTS or [Roc Nation] to portray a contract that provides a new unknown artist with 40% of the label’s profits as unconscionable or unfair is blatantly false and contrary to the customs or norms in the music industry.”
He also claimed that Megan has repeatedly “breached” her contract with the label and listed those incidents: “From entering into agreements inconsistent with her contract, falsely claiming publishing shares that belong to 1501 – failing to notify, account or pay ancillary revenue; releasing albums of outtakes and previously released material and falsely claiming that she is out of her contract – and now falsely alleging that 1501 leaked her album when the album was always intended by Megan to be released on 8/19 and where the leak actually hurt 1501 as much, if not more than Megan, rendering her claim to be specious and nonsensical.”
In response, Megan fired off a string of combative tweets denying Prince’s claims and accused the label of “trying to take credit away from the work me and my mama put into the beginning of my career.”
“Me and my mom ‘developed’ my career I was already known for free styling and I was already working on Tina snow before I got to 1501,” she wrote.
Zager says a trial most likely won’t happen until May 2023, however, Megan is set to appear for an in-person deposition in October. Roc Nation and Megan’s attorneys did not immediately respond to Variety‘s request for comment.