Ol' Dirty Bastard's Widow Files Lawsuit Against Wu-Tang Clan Over Unpaid Royalties
Photo Credit: Bob Berg

Ol' Dirty Bastard's Widow Files Lawsuit Against Wu-Tang Clan Over Unpaid Royalties

In another case of music industry relationships gone wrong, Ol’Dirty Bastard’s (ODB) widow is suing Wu-Tang Clan over unpaid royalties.

According to Complex, Icelene Jones, who is the administrator of ODB’s estate, has officially filed a lawsuit against the legendary Hip-Hop group. She claims that as a founding member of the Wu-Tang Clan, her late husband is owed at least $1 million in royalties.

The lawsuit has been filed in the New York Supreme Court and references a recording contract from 1992 that reveals that founding members ODB, Ghostface Killah, GZA, and Raekwon were to receive equal amounts of 50 percent of royalties from the group’s catalog.

Details Of The Lawsuit

TMZ reports that, according to the court documents, ODB should receive 50 percent of net royalties in regard to the exploitation of his image or likeness. The suit also claims that the group has yet to follow through on these promises.

“Despite its repeated efforts and requests, the estate has been unable to obtain payments and accountancy from the defendant under the recording agreement for the sale of Wu-Tang Clan Recording and ODB recordings since at least 2011,” read the suit.

ODB’s estate did receive payments in 2019 and 2020 from Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp.  A check in the amount of $130,000 also came through in July 2021. However, Jones says that this barely touches the surface of what is owed to her late husband.

She claims that those payments “represent only a small percentage of amounts payable to the estate under the recording agreement.”

The Response

Wu-Tang’s production company is currently led by group member RZA, who AfroTech previously reported has opened a few lawsuits of his own against companies attempting to use the Wu-Tang Clan’s name and image for personal gain.

Now, as for this situation, RZA told Page Six that it’s “unfortunate.”

“We have been very supportive in providing economically to the family through the estate and to his wife and children on record and off record,” said RZA. “ODB’s potential share of those records are minimal, are dismal, but nevertheless after those products are recouped his prorated portion belongs to him.”

The suit claims that this is not a personal attack on the group, just a final move to get what’s claimed to be owed.

“This is not an attack on Wu-Tang Productions, Inc., but a last legal resort we have had to pursue after being denied and ignored on this matter for over ten years,” read the official statement.

It has been nearly 20 years since ODB passed away.