Cardi B’s facing her first big lawsuit. Her former manager, Klenord “Shaft” Raphael, is suing her for breach of contract, unjust enrichment and defamation, alleging damages in the amount of $10 million. Shaft credits himself with making Cardi B a superstar. He discovered Cardi when she was just a party host. He took her out the club and landed Cardi her spot on VH1’s Love & Hip-Hop and also secured her recording deal with Atlantic Records. And he’s not taking her decision to leave very well.
Shaft’s management company, WorldStar Marketing Group signed an exclusive management agreement with Cardi B back in 2015. Cardi also signed a distribution agreement with Shaft’s label KSR Group, LLC in 2016. Later, KSR entered into a distribution agreement with Atlantic Records for the services of Cardi B, extending the term of Cardi’s deal with KSR to be co-terminus with the Atlantic Recording Agreement and assigning 50% interest in copyrights to KSR. The term of the management agreement was for one (1) year, with four (4) options to renew, which would have an expiration date in 2019, if Shaft exercised all of its options to keep Cardi under contract, provided there were no termination rights granted and exercised by Cardi. Shaft believes a number of parties are at fault for the dissolution of their relationship, and he named them as defendants in the lawsuit too. An individual by the name of Patience Foster, reportedly told Cardi that Shaft was stealing money from her by getting paid off of side deal. Foster is a party to the suit. In addition, Quality Control Management, the management team over Offset, Cardi B’s fiancée, is also being sued for tortious interference of business relations for stealing Cardi from Shaft. Shaft contends that Quality Control took advantage of the distrust that stemmed from Foster’s comments and critiqued how Shaft managed Cardi, steering her into their direction, even without receiving a termination of management agreement signed by Shaft.
Shaft also didn’t take lightly to a post Cardi B made on Instagram, where she states “[t]here’s a lot of people that I had to cutoff, a lot of friends, a lot of management, a lot of people that I had to cutoff because … one thing I notice … people don’t give a f[*]ck about you.” Shaft alleges that Cardi told Offset, his entourage and has portrayed to members of the public, that Shaft stole from her. He has texts as proof she told Offset and uses the IG post as evidence she publicized to the world. And although the IG post doesn’t call Shaft and his theft out directly, comments to the post, show fans and the general public made the association between the post and allegations of Shaft’s theft, none of which were refuted by Cardi B.
Hopefully Cardi B has proof of this theft and side deal business she heard from Foster, because truth is an absolute defense to defamation claims. As far as the breach of contract is concerned, let’s just hope she found a loophole to terminate both the management and distribution agreements because if the facts as alleged in his complaint are true, Cardi might have to come out of pocket. The case against Quality Control may be a tad harder to prove, without any evidence of explicit statements from them that actually caused Cardi to breach her management agreement with Shaft.
Lerae Funderburg, Esq. is the Managing Attorney at Funderburg Law, LLC, an Atlanta based entertainment law firm. Lerae has almost 10 years of experience in entertainment law in both music law and film law. As an entertainment lawyer and blogger, Lerae keeps her viewers and subscribers up to date with entertainment legal news, especially in the areas of music. If you are local to Atlanta, call and set up a consultation! She would love to hear from you!