Eric B. & Rakim’s groundbreaking album, Paid In Full is being re-released as a double CD set, featuring the original album remastered and a collection of remixes.
But Eric “Eric B.” Barrier is not pleased with Island re-releasing the album, alleging that the label has never paid the duo for the legendary album and is filing a lawsuit against Island Def Jam Music Group, Lyor Cohen and Russell Simmons.
“We have never received a dime from Paid In Full, not one dime, despite it selling so well throughout the years,” Barrier told AllHipHop.com. “We were managed by Rush Management at the time of the album being released. Lyor managed the day to day operations. I recently talked to Russell and Lyor about it. Their lawyers said it was too old for us to fight and that they could beat us in court.”
Barrier said that before he considered legal action against Cohen, Simmons and the Island Def Jam Music Group, he attempted to settle the dispute out of court.
“I approached them to settle this dispute 9 months ago,” Barrier said. “They have been exploiting these masters for years. It’s just another way to f*ck someone. I’m going to sue everyone. They expect me to go up to the offices on the ole n*gga shit and go up against his head, but we aint into that. We are going to file the lawsuit against them and Island.”
Barrier said the issues started when they were being managed by Simmons’ Rush Management. The group was signed to a small label, Zakiya Records.
Barrier said the Paid In Full album was completed in a short period of time and ended up being released by 4th & Broadway, a division of Island Records in 1987.
“Our contracts were never signed to Island,” Eric B. said. “Island tried to give us $475,000 to be locked in, but Universal came with a million. They went to court and ruled against Island and said they had no rights. That’s how we got out of being signed to 4th and Broadway and the masters were supposed to be returned to us. That means they were supposed to stop selling the record.”
Eric B. said that the seminal record has been a constant seller though the years in the United States and abroad, not to mention compilations the music from the album has been featured on and the movies that it has appeared in.
“These masters have been exploited so bad,” Eric B. continued. “Lyor charged Damon Dash $5,000 for the masters. Now this is the lead title track to the movie…the lead track usually get at least $200,000 without even blinking. If your saying you have a right to license these masters on behalf of Eric B. & Rakim and your only going to license it for that amount, your not doing a good job.”
Barrier said that his decision to sue was strictly business and that he harbored no animosity towards Simmons or Cohen, who are both Chairman of the Island Def Jam Music Group.
“This is business and not personal, but Russell can fight for Luda and get $4 million from Pepsi. He’s the Chairman of the Island Def Jam Music Group. Eric B. calls about getting a settlement and that’s not important. How can you sit there and fight Pepsi for Luda but you can’t settle this thing for Eric B. and Rakim for one of the most important albums in history? I told Russell I never received a dime. He said to me, ‘Oh my god Eric, I can’t believe it.’ Russell said out of his own mouth, ‘they must owe you 60-70 million dollars.’ OK, so why can’t we settle this with Lyor before it becomes a big thing?”
Barrier said that he was in the process of hiring top litigators to help with his case.
“All the press is going to make them look bad. We are going to sue everybody. I am suing Island and I am going to sue Lyor personally. I told them I didn’t want it to come to this, but they owe us. They are getting free money year after year after year off our work.”
Cohen, Simmons or representatives for Island/Def Jam did not comment as of press time.
Source: All Hip Hop