Chuck D, the frontman of the legendary rap group Public Enemy, said he was duped when signing a publishing deal in 2001, and he’s suing Terrordome Music Publishing as well as Reach Global Music.
Chuck said the companies took advantage of his lack of business know-how and he signed away a lot of the rights to the Public Enemy songs that were created under Def Jam, the group’s former label.
According to court documents, Reach Music President Michael Closter is at the center of the suit, and Chuck said he talked him into launching an independent music publishing company.
The rapper claimed in the suit filed in L.A. Superior Court that Closter “created a complex master plan that involved, and still involves, unconscionable contracts, hidden transactions, false and fraudulent copyright registrations, and false incomplete accountings.”
Chuck found out about the alleged scam in February of this year after Closter presented him with the documents that he said contained the tricky language.
The 58-year-old claimed he lost a 42 percent stake in his publishing catalog through 2012 and is now seeking $1 million in damages.
The suit comes about two years after Chuck was sued himself by his Public Enemy bandmate Flavor Flav for back profits.
Flav claimed that he and Chuck had a longtime agreement to split all the profits from music, concerts and merchandising but Eastlink, Public Enemy’s business management company, failed to send everything he was owed.
Flav also said his name and likeness were used without his permission on Public Enemy’s 2017 album “Nothing Is Quick in the Desert.”
Chuck responded to the suit in August 2017 and said “Flav has his rights but took a wrong road on this.”
As for his suit against Terrordome Music Publishing and Reach Global Music, Chuck is also looking to get full ownership of Public Enemy’s songs, besides the $1 million in damages.