It's recently come to light that Lil Wayne allegedly sold the Young Money masters to Universal Music Group, which made him $100 million richer. People are actually kind of surprised that he sold Young Money for only $100 million though (Bob Dylan reportedly sold his for $300 million recently), since Young Money includes albums from Drake, Tyga, Nicki Minaj, and other big names. Nicki Minaj fans are especially curious if that means the rapper doesn't own her masters anymore.
So, does Nicki Minaj own her masters?
Since all of Nicki Minaj's albums were released by Young Money (this includes "Pink Friday," "Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded," "The Pinkprint," and "Queen"), this means that Nicki doesn't own her masters — Universal Music Group does. And if Nicki continued to create music under Young Money, that would mean Universal owns all her future releases, too (although she did state that she's decided to retire from her music career back in 2019). Even her last single, "Yikes," which was released in February, was under Young Money.
The Young Money sale reportedly went down in June as a part of a lawsuit ignited by Lil Wayne's former manager, Ronald Sweeney (who is suing the rapper for $20 million). Per Music Business Worldwide, the suit states, "Plaintiffs are informed and believe… that, subsequent to [Sweeney’s] termination [as Wayne’s manager], specifically in or about June of 2020, Lil Wayne was able to sell the Young Money Masters to Universal Music Group for in excess of $100 Million.”
Many are criticizing Lil Wayne's decision, and think he undersold his label. "Seems Lil Wayne fumbled this Young Money Masters deal with Universal Music Group. The entire Young Money catalog (not his own) including songs and albums from Drake, Nicki Minaj, Tyga, and more for $100m," one person tweeted.
"This man Lil Wayne really sold the entire Young Money catalog Drakes Masters Nicki Minaj’s Masters...... all for only $100 million, that legit is the biggest ripoff I’ve ever heard of," another wrote.
While Drake released "Thank Me Later," "Take Care," "Nothing Was the Same," "Views," and "Scorpion" under Young Money, some are at least relieved that his upcoming album, "Certified Lover Boy," will be released under his own label, Republic and OVO Sound.
Lil Wayne famously discovered Nicki Minaj and signed on to Young Money in 2009. They've always had a great professional relationship, and Nicki hasn't publicly spoken about the sale yet. During his time in prison, Nicki told Interview Magazine, "I don’t ever want to imagine [life without Lil Wayne's mentorship]. I can’t even imagine my career, um, my creative spirit without Wayne. I credit him with a lot of what I do. Prior to him, no one relevant in hip-hop really gave me that support. I feel like I’m still intertwined with him creatively."
She added, "Even though Wayne is my mentor, I’ve never gone to Wayne and asked him, 'Hey Wayne, could you write me a rap?' That makes me just like one of the boys, you know? My work ethic is just like their work ethic, and I don’t have to wait on them to tell me to what to say. And I think that’s a big part of it."