Cardi B’s Former Manager Accuses Rapper of Breach of Contract, Defamation in $10 Million Lawsuit
UPDATE (4/27): Cardi B has answered Klenord "Shaft" Raphael's allegations with the following statement from Paul Licalsi, partner at Robins Kaplan LLP and litigation counsel to the rapper:
"After a full investigation of the facts, we will be responding to these allegations in detail in court. But even on its face, Shaft’s claim raises a huge question. For a hefty commission, a manager promises to carefully counsel and guide an artist in her or his career. In exchange, the law imposes a high fiduciary duty on the manager to always act in the artist’s best interest, not engage in conflicts of interest, not overreach, and not self-deal. The glaring question here is: how does Shaft justify signing on as Cardi B’s manager through WorldStar for a 20 percent commission, and then a year later sign her up through his other company for a deal that takes 50 percent of her music royalties from Atlantic Records, 50 percent of her music copyrights, and 25 percent of her other earnings? How does that comport with his fiduciary duty as her manager?"
Cardi B is being sought after for $10 million in restitution for allegedly breaching her contract with a former manager who states he was conducive to her rise to stardom.
KSR Group and Worldstar Management owner, Klenord Raphael, whose court papers against the Love & Hip Hop alum were obtained and publicized by The Blast, is accusing Cardi of tarnishing his reputation and violating their contractual agreement after the "Bodak Yellow" star allegedly signed a management deal with a label called Quality Control back in March.
Raphael, also known as "Shaft" to those in the music industry, intimates that his relationship with the 25-year-old traces back to 2015, during which time Cardi was still working as a dancer in strip clubs and had not yet been discovered as a recording artist.
He declares her celebrity status and music sound is due in part to his influence and artistic involvement, which enabled her rise "from exotic dancer and social media presence to music icon.” Raphael also maintains in his suit that he “conceived, arranged and orchestrated Cardi B’s rise to become the biggest music sensation on the planet.”
According to Raphael, the Invasion of Privacy emcee reportedly terminated her business connection towards the end of 2017, after she was informed by one of her stylists that he had been swindling Cardi through side business dealings at her interest.
Though he insists that it wasn't until she had a conversation with her boyfriend, Migos member Offset, that Cardi resorted to severing ties with him.
In light of the charges, a spokesperson for Shaft issued the following statement to Billboard:
“Since discovering Cardi B in 2015, Shaft has played an integral role in developing her music career and public image. While he is proud of their successful collaborations as she evolved from Instagram influencer to music megastar, Shaft is disappointed by her actions to freeze him out of her career, which are detailed in the complaint. Shaft is confident that his lawsuit will validate his conduct and substantiate his legal claims.”
According to the litigation, Shaft is seeking $10 million in damages from Cardi directly and another $10 million in damages from Quality Control for impeding their previous deal.