Juice WRLD‘s estate has reportedly sold off the majority of the late rapper’s catalog in a nine-figure deal quietly negotiated in the early months of 2022.
According to Billboard, independent record label and music publisher Opus Music Group now owns 90 percent of the late Chicago rapper’s publishing and the rights to 90 percent of the income derived from his master recordings.
The deal included not only the massive output of Juice WRLD music that has already been released to fans — two albums in life; two posthumous albums; a collaborative mixtape project with Future; a solo mixtape and nine EPs — but also hundreds of unreleased songs.
The rapper’s label partners, Interscope Records and Lil Bibby‘s Grade A Productions, retained ownership of Juice WRLD’s masters.
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Over the past few months, a number of Hip Hop artists young and old have negotiated similar deals including Future and Iggy Azalea, who both notched eight-figure deals in exchange for ownership of their publishing rights in 2022.
Most recently, Zaytoven sold 560 songs written between 2005 and 2022, including Migos’ breakout hit “Versace,” Travis Scott’s “3500,” Lil Wayne’s “Problems,” 21 Savage’s “Famous” and more, according to Variety. The sale amount has not been disclosed.
In early January, Billboard reported that Dr. Dre was closing in on two separate deals to offload a share of music income streams and other assets to Shamrock Holdings and Universal Music Group. The deals, which were shopped by Dre’s longtime attorney Peter Paterno, were being pitched for a combined sum of $250million. While the final sale price won’t quite be that high, a source close to the rap mogul said the figure will still be “well above $200million.”
What stands out about the Juice WRLD deal, in addition to the secrecy under which it was executed, is that the company which acquired his catalog seems to be fairly new in this space.
In addition to the “Lucid Dreams” rapper, Opus Music Group only represents two other artists: Columbian Reggaeton star and actor Maluma; and Puerto Rican newcomer Rauw Alejandro, according to its website.
While the company would not comment on the acquisition directly, it told Billboard in a statement: “To represent the body of work of Juice Wrld – whose cultural significance and generational influence can’t be overstated – is an honor and a responsibility.”
Juice WRLD’s representatives declined to issue a statement of any kind.
News of the sale comes a little over two months after Juice’s cousin called out the late rapper’s ex-girlfriend and record label for allegedly “controlling” and “manipulating” him prior to his death.
Millz, who runs the Instagram account The Abyss Brand, posted a series of messages on November 30 accusing Juice’s label and his partner, Ally Lotti, of driving a wedge between the Chicago rapper and his close friends while exploiting him for his musical success with little concern for his wellbeing.
He didn’t specify which label he was talking about, but Juice was signed to Lil Bibby’s imprint, along with Interscope Records, who signed him to a $3million deal in 2017.
Millz, an original member of Juice WRLD’s 999 collective, went on to say that he removed himself from “that toxic situation” after his grandmother was diagnosed with cancer (which she successfully battled), but continued to be portrayed as a hanger-on by Lotti.
In December, Lil Bibby organized the latest iteration of the annual Juice WRLD Fest, with performances by Trippie Redd, Cordae and G Herbo, as well as Lil Tecca, Ski Mask The Slump God, Bankroll Hayden, Sleazyworld Go, Lucki, DDG and Tana.
The celebration came at the end of a year that saw the late artist achieve massive posthumous success, including becoming the first artist to have four albums sell over 500,000 units each in 2022.
With only four albums to his name, that means all of Juice WRLD’s projects, including his most recent posthumous release Fighting Demons, has moved over 500,000 units, a momentous achievement for the Chicago rapper, who passed away from an overdose-induced seizure in 2019.
Fighting Demons debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 when it dropped on the late rapper’s birthday in December 2021, and moved 119,000 album equivalent units in its first week.
While Juice WRLD fans have remained devoted to bumping the rapper’s discography, Lil Bibby said managing his client’s music is a draining job.