The man who co-founded Corporate Thugz Entertainment with Young Jeezy is suing for $5 million dollars, claiming the rapper has failed to share the profits the label has generated.
In the lawsuit filed in Fulton County Superior Court, Demetrius “Kinky B” Ellerbee says he has not been properly compensated for his role in helping CTE reach the multimillion-dollar heights it currently enjoys.
Jeezy and Ellerbee started CTE after their initial business venture, another label called Young Gunz Entertainment, failed to be successful. After toiling on the mixtape circuit with CTE, the label signed a production deal with Def Jam around early 2005 under which all four of Jeezy’s solo albums were released. Ellerbee is listed as executive producer on the four albums.
A verbal history of CTE is chronicled in the documentary A Hustlerz Ambition, which was released in conjunction with Jeezy’s most recent album TM 103: Hustlerz Ambition. In the film, Jeezy and Ellerbee share how they rose, together, from enterprising young men with a dream to the co-founders of one of the most successful independent labels in Hip-Hop. Watch that portion of the film here.
As Jeezy’s relationship with Def Jam grew, according to Ellerbee’s attorney Mario Breedlove, Ellerbee became less influential in the company’s dealings despite still considering himself an equal partner.
Ellerbee says he was integral in both forming CTE and landing the deal, and should be fairly compensated for his role.
“Essentially, Young Jeezy just kind of took over the company, and elected to take all the funds,” Breedlove told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
“They were partners. They started the company together. They grew the company together. And he’s entitled to one-half.”
Ellerbee is owed at least $5 million, according to Breedlove, but that figure will rise much higher after royalties and advances are figured. They are awaiting a full accounting of all payments to CTE to determine the exact amount Ellerbee is owed. He is also seeking interest, punitive damages and legal costs.
The suit also lists Def Jam and Universal Music Group as defendants.