Icelene Jones, the widow of rap legend Ol’ Dirty Bastard and administrator of the late Wu-Tang Clan member’s estate, has filed a lawsuit against Wu-Tang Productions alleging that ODB is owed at least $1 million in unpaid royalties. The lawsuit, which was filed in New York Supreme Court, points to a 1992 recording contract, which cites that the late rap star is supposed to receive 50 percent of net royalties from the usage of his image or likeness.
According to the suit, “despite its repeated efforts and requests, the estate has been unable to obtain payments and accountings from the defendant under the recording agreement for the sale of Wu-Tang Clan Recordings and ODB recordings since at least 2011.” While Ol’ Dirty Bastard‘s estate recently received a royalty check for $130,000 from Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp. in July 2021, as well as additional payments in 2019 and 2020, those figures only represent “a small percentage of amounts payable to the estate under the recording agreement,” according to Jones’ suit.
RZA, Wu-Tang Productions founder and ODB’s cousin, responded to the lawsuit, which he deems as “unfortunate,” in a statement to Page Six. “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,” RZA explained. “ODB’s potential share of those records are minimal, are dismal, but nevertheless after those products are recouped his prorated portion belongs to him.”
Ol’ Dirty Bastard passed away in November 2004 due to an accidental overdose.