Public Enemy’s Chuck D to sue Universal Music Group

Rapper accuses record label of underpaying his royalties

Public Enemy‘s Chuck D is suing Universal Music Group after claiming they are underpaying him on royalties, according to reports.

The rapper has accused the record of label not paying him enough royalties stemming from sales of digital downloads.

Rolling Stone claims that the lawsuit alleges that the company have short-changed him by treating MP3 and ringtone downloads as physical record sales instead of licensed works.

A similar legal case took place last year, when Eminem successfully argued that songs sold online would count as a licence. Rolling Stone suggested that, whereas artists would only receive 12 per cent of royalties for a sale, they would be paid 50 per cent for a licence.

Earlier this year, hip hop star Ghostface Killah sued Universal over unpaid Wu-Tang Clan royalties. The rapper, real name Dennis Coles, said that the label only held a 25 per cent stake in the group’s songs, rather than the 50 per cent they claimed to have.

Meanwhile, in June, Dr Dre agreed an out of court settlement with his former record label Death Row Records over royalties from the sale of his 1992 debut album ‘The Chronic’.

Public Enemy toured the UK earlier this year, with Chuck D speaking out on the London riots when the band played at the HMV Forum on September 9. He said that the chaos that broke out was to be expected following the police shooting of Mark Duggan, telling the crowd: “If you push people, they’re going to fuck shit up.”