The widow of Wu-Tang Clan‘s Ol’ Dirty Bastard has filed a lawsuit earlier this week against the production company of the Staten Island Hip-Hop collective. She has stated that the company hasn’t given her any publishing income or royalties for the past 10 years.
According to Variety, Icelene Jones, the widow of Ol’ Dirty Bastard (ODB), nee Russell Tyrone Jones has sued Wu-Tang Clan Productions on Tuesday. Jones is alleging that the late rapper’s estate is owed at least $1 million in unpaid royalties.
The papers were filed in New York Supreme Court. The lawsuit alleges breach of contract and is seeking damages of at least $1 million, plus interest, attorneys’ fees, and costs.
Jones is saying that Wu-Tang Clan Productions has not paid any royalties to the estate from 2011 until July 2021. A check for $130,000 was sent at that time. RZA, known as the force behind the Wu-Tang Clan, is ODB’s cousin, owns and operates Wu-Tang Clan Productions. She has claimed that the estate also received some payments from Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp in 2019 and 2021 yet the combined earnings are just a fraction of what is owed.
Jones purportedly has frequently asked for accountings and payments over the last decade, but no detailed accounting statements have yet been provided to the estate.
Based on the complaint, it cites a recording agreement made in 1992, under which ODB was to be paid 50% of net earnings on the publishing of his copyrighted songs. Group members were also to divide half of the net earnings from the sound recordings. The suit also states that they are owed royalties on merchandising and videos.
The 35-year-old Ol’ Dirty Bastard died of a drug overdose in 2004.
HipHopDX reported RZA saying that there is an ODB biopic in the works. While the producer was discussing the Sasha Jenkins documentary Wu-Tang Clan: Of Mice and Men and the Hulu series Wu-Tang: An American Saga, he talked about the setup for the ODB biopic.
“The documentary was to capture the story as best we can in the reality of it, and then the TV series was to dramatize it,” he said at the time. “The third tier of the plan, which I’m in progress of, is an ODB movie biopic. Like the five-year Wu-Tang plan, this was a five-year media plan that I concocted, I meditated on, and I’m striving to live out. So far, it’s working well.”