Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s widow sues Wu-Tang Clan over alleged unpaid royalties

The suit is seeking at least $1million (£737,565)

The widow of Ol’ Dirty Bastard has sued Wu-Tang Clan, alleging years of unpaid royalties to the late rapper’s estate.

ODB, real name Russell Tyrone Jones, was a founding member of the Wu-Tang. He passed away in November 2004 at the age of 35 following an accidental drug overdose.

Icelene Jones, ODB’s widow and the sole executor of his estate, has now taken legal action against Wu-Tang Clan, alleging that the late rapper’s estate is owed at least $1million (£737,565) in unpaid royalties (via Variety).


Jones alleges in the suit, which was filed in New York Supreme Court yesterday (February 8), that Wu-Tang Clan Productions – which is owned and operated by RZA – did not pay royalties to ODB’s estate between 2011 and July 2021, when it sent a cheque for $130,000 (£95,000).

While ODB’s estate also received some payments in 2019 and 2020 from Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp., the suit claims that the two combined payments fell well short of what they are owed.

wu-tang clan
RZA of Wu-Tang Clan performs onstage during 10th Annual ONE Musicfest at Centennial Olympic Park on September 08, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Picture: Paras Griffin/Getty Images)

The complaint cites a 1992 recording agreement, which states that ODB was to be paid 50 per cent of net earnings from publishing and recording royalties, as well as merchandising and videos.

The suit further alleges that ODB’s estate has not been granted detailed accounting statements, despite repeated requests for accountings and payments over the last decade.

Jones’ suit alleges breach of contract and is seeking damages of at least $1 million, as well as interest, attorneys’ fees and costs. Wu-Tang Clan have not yet responded to the lawsuit.


Last month the US government shared a series of photos of Wu-Tang Clan‘s one-of-a-kind album, ‘Once Upon A Time In Shaolin’, which was sold for a reported $4million (£2.95million) in July 2021.