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Cardi B is being sued for "no less than 10 million" dollars by her former manager, Shaft, for breach of contract, unjust enrichment, and defamation, among other things, according to court documents. Shaft had worked with the "Bodak Yellow" star since 2015 and was a part of her meteoric rise, but has since been frozen out of her career.
In a statement to Complex, a spokesperson for Shaft said: “Since discovering Cardi B in 2015, Shaft has played an integral role in developing her music career and public image. While he is proud of their successful collaborations as she evolved from Instagram influencer to music megastar, Shaft is disappointed by her actions to freeze him out of her career, which are detailed in the complaint. Shaft is confident that his lawsuit will validate his conduct and substantiate his legal claims.”
A source close to the situation says Shaft played a role in Cardi's involvement with VH1’s Love & Hip Hop, as well helped with "Bodak Yellow," which was written and produced by his personal team. It's also claimed Cardi B was the one who initially sought him out.
In late March of this year, Variety announced Cardi's move to the Quality Control group, signing a management deal with Kevin “Coach K” Lee and Pierre “Pee” Thomas. QC also manages acts like Lil Yachty, Lil Baby, and Migos. Of course, Migos member Offset is Cardi's fiancé.
Court documents obtained by Complex show that Shaft claims Cardi “falsely communicat[ed]” to her fiancé Offset and members of her entourage that “‘Shaft is robbing me.’” Furthemore, Offset was allegedly responsible for convincing her to sign with QC.
The suit further claims that before meeting Shaft, Cardi B had about 100,000 Instagram followers and had not rapped or performed music. Shaft then made Cardi B a “party host,” traveling the country with DJ Self, who Shaft also discovered, which paved the way for her appearance on Love & Hip Hop.
Patientce Foster, a publicist working with Cardi for the past three years, supposedly turned the rapper against her former manager by lying about “side deals” Shaft was making at Cardi’s expense. Foster was also working with Offset, who eventually introduced Cardi to the people at Quality Control. She then began to push Shaft out of her career. The lawsuit claims that before this point, Shaft had been “instrumental in working with Cardi B to create several tracks for the new album.”
The lawsuit references text messages between Shaft, Cardi, and Offset that appear to corroborate the claims.
In a statement provided to Complex, Paul LiCalsi, a partner at Robins Kaplan LLP and litigation counsel to the Bronx rapper, said: “After a full investigation of the facts, we will be responding to these allegations in detail in court. But even on its face, Shaft’s claim raises a huge question. For a hefty commission, a manager promises to carefully counsel and guide an artist in her or his career. In exchange, the law imposes a high fiduciary duty on the manager to always act in the artist’s best interest, not engage in conflicts of interest, not overreach, and not self-deal. The glaring question here is: how does Shaft justify signing on as Cardi B’s manager through WorldStar for a 20 percent commission, and then a year later sign her up through his other company for a deal that takes 50 percent of her music royalties from Atlantic Records, 50 percent of her music copyrights, and 25 percent of her other earnings? How does that comport with his fiduciary duty as her manager?”