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Hip-Hop Producers Stiff Atlanta Recording Studios

Noel Vasquez, Getty Images

Several Atlanta recording studio owners have accused some of the South’s biggest hip-hop stars of owing thousands of dollars in unpaid studio fees, causing the studios to come dangerously close to shutting their doors.

An investigative report by CBS Atlanta revealed that ATL rapper Young Jeezy and producers Polow da Don and Jazze Pha were all guilty of failing to pay invoices for the studio sessions, which produced platinum-selling hits.

“You’re listening to music that hasn’t been paid for,” lamented 11th Street studio owner and engineer Josh Butler, whom Jeezy owed $20,000 before the CBS report. “I’m not sure why they’re not paying because a lot of these guys are multi-millionaires.”

While Jeezy has since paid his debts, Polow da Don still owes over $20,000 to engineer Tony Terrebonne, for sessions which produced hits like Usher’s ‘Love in This Club’ — for which Terrebonne is still owed $8,000 — and Chris Brown’s ‘Forever.’

“It’s a lot of hard work, I’ll be up for three days straight and I won’t get paid for it. It’s insane,” Terrebonne said, also revealing that a previous debt of $50,000, which Polow owed, forced him to move back into his parents’ home and sell his car.

Reps for Polow’s Zone 4 label have responded to the allegations, revealing that they have a “private dispute” with Terrebonne, but refusing to explain their side further.

“Polow always handles all of his business vendors with the utmost respect and timely payment, but this situation is a unique private dispute and as such Polow will not dignify any celebrity smear campaign by comment,” a rep for Zone 4 said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Jazze Pha is allegedly on the hook for $135,000 to four studios, some of which was apparently repaid, once CBS began their investigation.

Jim Zumpano, owner of one of the studios in question, Zac Recording, said that he is simply fed up of constantly “getting dogged” by musicians, “out partying on my money … I’m looking for that money to help me run my business.”


Watch Usher’s ‘Love in This Club,’ Produced by Polow Da Don

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