RZA Plans to Appeal Ghostface’s Royalties Lawsuit Win
Last week it was reported that a settlement had been reached between Wu-Tang rapper Ghostface and producer RZA regarding unpaid publishing royalties for their early collaborations. Today, RZA responded to the reports, claiming that while there is no bad blood between any Wu members, things were far from “settled” and that he plans on appealing.
“I’m not appealing because I don’t want to pay Ghost something that I owe him,” RZA explained adamant that money was not the main issue. “Anything I owe him I would give him. He wouldn’t have to go through the courts to get it from me. An example is on ‘Cuban Linx’ I didn’t charge no money on Raekwon for that. The last beats I did for Ghost was ‘Run’ and some other s—, and it was the same thing. I waived payments for later. They haven’t paid me for those.”
RZA, born Robert Diggs, went on to argue that Ghost’s representation fails to understand that it is standard practice for all hip-hop producers to receive 50 percent of the publishing royalties, regardless of whether he/she is a member of the group.
“For them to say that’s wrong, and the producer shouldn’t get 50 percent, that means every producer in this industry can now have a potential claim against them from an artist,” he continued. “Remember, we don’t sign contracts in studios. So when Erick Sermon produced on ‘The Blackout,’ he got 50 percent When Megahertz produced ‘We Pop’ for me, it’s me and four other rappers. Megahertz got 50 percent, and me and the other rappers had to split the rest of it.”
In addition to making the beat, the RZA contends that he produces and arranges the Wu albums from start to finish and thus works three times longer than the rest of the group’s members on each album.
“The beat is made before you even get to the studio 80 percent of the time. The beats are made on my own time then brought to the studio, tracked down with me and the engineer, and then you’re brought in to do your 16 bars. [laughs] Then I EQ your s—!’ … I’m only appealing it ain’t right for no producer in our business to have to potentially go through this. It’s been like this for over 100 years where the producer gets 50 percent.”
RZA claims his main concern is with the principle that if he loses the suit, it means he was deemed worthy of less publishing than outside producers, regardless of the fact that he spent the most time working on the music on the album and directs the project from start to finish.
“Me, as the producer, I sit in the house all day and make beats. So for them to say differently really offends me and I’m sure it offends all producers. So again, is it right for RZA to receive less than 50 percent when every other producer for Ghostface has received 50 percent for every beat he’s made from him: from Pete Rock to every unknown n—- producing for him that’s using my sound. What’s so bad is their using my sound getting 50 percent and here I am the inventor of the sound getting scrutinized. I’d love to see the answers we’ll get on this. I know it’s a lot, but that’s what it is.”
We love you, Ghost, but if what he says is true, then it’s hard to argue with the Abbot here.