On Monday afternoon (March 2), a Texas federal judge granted rapper Megan Thee Stallion (real name: Megan Pete) a temporary restraining order against her label 1501 Certified Entertainment and its CEO, former Major League Baseball star, Carl Crawford. The judge ordered 1501 Entertainment “to do nothing to prevent the release, distribution, and sale of Pete’s new records,” along with forbidding any interference with her or her career over social media or through her collaborators or associates.
The TRO comes after Megan went on Instagram Live on Sunday (March 1), claiming that 1501 was prohibiting her from releasing any new music. In her lawsuit, Megan looks to void her 360 recording contract with 1501, deeming it “unconscionable” for a variety of reasons. First, she alleges that she’s only been paid $15,000 from the label after earning more than a billion streams and selling over 300,000 individual track downloads, which equates to an estimated $7 million. Secondly, after teaming up with Roc Nation via a management deal last year, she claims to have been “attacked and threatened on social media,” by Crawford and members of his label.
In an interview with Billboard, Crawford denies any claims of him or his 1501 label trying to prevent Megan’s output of music. “It’s a whole lie,” says Crawford. “Nothing is true that she said. Me being greedy and taking money from her, that’s crazy. I never tried to take nothing from her. The only thing we ever did was give, give, give.”
According to Crawford, after Megan signed to Roc Nation in September, she went radio silent, opting not to pay him or 1501 any of the money she owed. In Crawford’s eyes, the “Hot Girl Summer” MC’s tactics were to avoid paying him for merchandise and live touring proceeds owed to him through the terms of their deal, so that he would renegotiate her four-album deal contract that she initially signed with 1501. (Megan also signed a separate distribution deal with 300 Entertainment in 2019.)
“Let’s talk about your contract. It’s a great contract for a first-timer,” he offers. “What contract gives parts of their masters and 40% royalties and all that kind of stuff? Ask Jay-Z to pull one of his artists’ first contracts, and let’s compare it to what Megan got… I guarantee they won’t ever show you that.”
Billboard spoke to Crawford about Megan’s allegations, why he thinks Jay-Z and Roc Nation are trying to “stronghold” his company, and what he hopes to gain back from this pending lawsuit.
What was your initial reaction with Megan going on Instagram Live and accusing your label of preventing her from dropping new music?
My initial reaction was, “Man, I can’t believe this is serious.” She just has so many holes in her story, and it’s almost on some delusional type stuff. The bubble of Hollywood and her eight million followers has really clouded her head, because the stuff that she’s saying is not true. It’s a whole lie. Nothing is true that she said. Me being greedy and taking money from her, that’s crazy. I never tried to take nothing from her. The only thing we ever did was give, give, give. Now, she fell for the oldest trick in the industry: the conquer and divide theme.
Everybody in the industry knows this is what Jay-Z and Roc Nation do: They come in, the find the smallest things wrong with the problem — because there weren’t any problems before she left — and then she says that I didn’t want to negotiate? Ok, tell everybody your definition of negotiating. Your definition is, “OK. I’m going to send Suge Knight’s old lawyers to come in, and it’s a stick-up…'” Of course, I’m like, “This isn’t a negotiation. This is a robbery.”
They want to make it look like I’m greedy? No, they’re trying to keep me out of everything. She keeps saying, ‘Them n—as over there negotiated my contract.’ Them n—as are sitting right next to her. T. Farris is the one. Her mom did the contract. I’m new to the business. I let this guy T. Farris run my whole business, because I knew absolutely nothing about it. Zero. So he wrote your contract up. I didn’t do it.
They want to make a big deal about it. We signed a deal. Honor your contract and let’s just keep doing business how we been doing and everything is fine. Nobody is trying to rob you.
When Megan announced her management deal with Roc Nation, from my understanding, you found out of the news the same time as everyone else, correct?
The guy T. Farris — the one who was helping me with my business — he was handling Megan for me. She’s a girl, so he was used to being a road manager. I was letting him handle all the business, and he said, ‘We’re going to Roc Nation. We got a meeting.’ I said, ‘Oh cool. We gon’ get to meet Jay-Z.’ I’m actually excited because I get to go meet Jay-Z myself. You know, we looked up to this man.
I said, “What’s going on?” He said, “Ain’t no big deal. He just finna show us around the building. Little small s–t.” I’m like, “Cool. Do I need to be there?” He was like, “Nah. You know it ain’t that serious.” I said, “Well, OK. Cool.” I don’t go because we were just on tour with her. Me and Megan are perfectly fine at this moment. Next thing you know, I’m on a plane and I’m thinking the whole industry is going to try to take Megan from me, not my homeboy.
So I go and link up with J. [Prince, Rap-A-Lot CEO]. Next thing you know, the picture is posted up on the Internet and everybody is like, “Oh, you bitter”‘ No, I was already posting J [Prince] before. When I found out like everybody else, I got emotional and made one comment. They took that and ran with it like, “Oh, he’s bitter, he’s mad'” Look, I’m just trying to see what’s up. I thought they had enough respect for me to at least tell me something. But it’s cool. She don’t have to tell me about that. That’s fine.
But at the end of the day, tell them what their real plan was. Their real plan was to get you out of my contract so they can sign you to Roc Nation. That’s all they want to do. We gave this girl a 60-40 split. Now go ask the artist about that. She got parts of her masters [the] first time. You think Jay-Z would have gave her part of her masters on her first deal with Roc Nation? F–k no. Then, she’s getting $100,000 a show and she don’t want to pay up. That’s what the issue was about. She signed with Roc Nation in August and decided she didn’t wanna pay me no more.
They’re using that as a strong-arm tactic so that I can renegotiate the contract. They’re holding the money, and they haven’t paid me since August. She done over 15 shows. Y’all do the math. She gets $100,000 a show. She owe me, and I haven’t recouped almost $2 million that we spent on her, building her up so that Roc Nation would wanna come [around]. Where was Roc Nation at when we was grinding and riding around on them backstreets? Roc Nation was nowhere to be found.
Soon as we spent our money, blow it up, now all of a sudden, these strangers and people you just met — they introduce you to Beyoncé and now we the devil? We were just the angels sent from the sky. Now, we’re the devil just because Jay-Z saved you. You’re so fake.
On her Instagram Live, she repeatedly explained how she viewed her relationship with 1501 as “family.” You’re also speaking on that family bond that you once shared with her. Where did that dynamic get lost in the midst of everything?
Everything was cool until her lawyers came in and told me that it was pretty much a stick-up. Unfortunately, when her mother died, the snake was able to come in and crawl in position to influence her head and tell her stuff. If her mother would have been here, we wouldn’t even be going through none of this stuff. Once her mother died, things changed a little bit. Everybody that wanted in, all the bloodsuckers were able to jump in. That’s what happened.
She got the dude [T. Farris] right up under her. He’s the snake. He did the contract. They had the lawyers. How didn’t you read your contract? She signed two contacts. You signed one with me and 300 [Entertainment]. You mean to tell me, you, your mama and your lawyer didn’t read over that stuff every time? Stop lying. You wasn’t 20, you were 23 years old. You was a grown up. You’re just a liar.
She got 8 million followers that know they can pounce on me because I’m smaller. She know she gon’ win when it comes to that sh-t right there, but I don’t care about that. They can thrash me or whatever they do, but the real is you got Hollywood and you got up under Roc Nation and you’re acting like you don’t have to honor you contract no more. Then, you want to say you tried to negotiate? Man, you sent your lawyers in there and they want to take me out. She owe me four albums and they want to offer me one album and take everything away? They’re crazy.
What about her claiming that she’s only been paid $15,000 by the label?
How she been paid $15,000? As soon as we signed to 300, I wrote her a check for $50,000, and it’s signed with her name on the check. We can show you the proof. That’s another thing — I got all my receipts. They know it. I got all the receipts. We gave her a $10,000 advance when we first signed her and gave it to her mother. I don’t know what happened [with that]. 300 gave us a $200,000 check when we first signed. I gave her $50,000 of it. I didn’t have to give her that. That was mine at the time.
And we never told her “no” a day in our lives. She just got on some real hating s–t or whatever and just didn’t want me around. How can I be mean to you? I never was around you. I didn’t do nothing. You barely saw me.
She’s also claiming that there was a producer associated with the label that threatened physical harm to her, along with a lot of social media attacks being aimed at her from your side.
I don’t even know about that. I don’t even know about social media, because I’m getting threats. They’re threatening me, my kids, everybody. So look, that kind of just come with it. I don’t know what producer could be threatening her.
She just lie so much. She tried to say we didn’t do nothing for her? Well I got $500,000-$800,000 worth of receipts that show we did do something for her. So I don’t know what T. Farris is over there telling you or if he did everything because he takes the credit. She likes to give T. Farris the credit about discovering her.
She so f–king blind by it that she’s trying to make it seem like I’m a bad person. Listen, all she has to do is pay me my money. That’s all I want. I don’t want to be around her. I don’t want nothing going on. I just want what’s mine.
Let’s run through the numbers that Megan is claiming in her lawsuit against 1501. She says that 1501 gets 60% of her recording income.
Right, and she gets the 40%.
But she’s claiming that chunks of the 40% is being given to third party people like producers, mixers, featured artists, etc. Is that true?
Nah, I don’t think that’s true either… It’s a great deal. She wants to talk about a bad deal — she’s disrespecting her mother by saying that, because her mother and T. Farris are the ones who did it. Those two worked out the deal with the lawyer. I didn’t even have nothing to do with it.
And you guys supposedly get 30% of all her touring money and 30% of all her merch, as well?
Well, we did a 360 deal where it was a 70-30. The reason why it was a 70-30 was because we gave up so much. We gave up part of her masters right now, we gave her a 60-40 split. That’s why we got so much on that side. We knew we did some stuff that people don’t do.
This is how I was getting in the business. This is how I got her to sign with us — because I wanted to make sure we overdo it, that way we can get her. So she got a great deal. She’s just over there with Roc Nation, and she’s mad because somebody said something bad about her one time. She acting like people can’t speak their truth — like she’s the only one that have a truth. If you watch her in her interviews, she looks like a little kid that’s just being silly. It’s like she’s not even taking it serious. Look at it. Everybody knows. She looks so silly telling everybody I didn’t do nothing here in Houston, TX when we sat here and watched it from day one. She’s such a fraud.
The rest of the world can get mad at me, but they’re not in Houston. They don’t know how it started. They just call me bitter, but put it this way to your little 8 million followers that don’t give a f–k about me anyway, if somebody comes and tries to take your s–t, you gonna fight back too. It wasn’t no renegotiation, it was take this or else. That’s why the beef started.
When’s the last time you spoke to Megan? Secondly, do you feel like this relationship can be salvaged outside of court, especially since you and her both lean on the word family and how you initially valued each other?
I don’t know at this point, because it’s so bad. I don’t know what can happen. Right now, I’m just trying to make sure that fair is fair. I just want it to be fair. Nobody wanted to stop her music. I understand that, but she’s ignored me since August. I haven’t spoke to her since August, and this is what’s going on. She hasn’t tried to do nothing. She hasn’t made one payment since August. You do the math and see how many months that is and add it up. Anybody would be pissed off.
You owe me money that I recouped, and you owe me show money. You owe me d–n near $2 million. You d–n near in the hole for $2 million, and you want to just get up out of it because Roc Nation told you you could. That’s how it is, and she’s just young and doesn’t know the business and how you’re supposed to honor contracts. They wanna take advantage of me because I’m new to the business and don’t know nothing. This is what Roc Nation do. They harp on the weak.
I guarantee you if I didn’t have J. Prince right now, I wouldn’t even be able to talk to you, bro. Roc Nation would have already took this s–t. This s–t would have already been took from me. All my hard work would have went down the drain. I’m here to fight this.