An album that rapper Ja Rule never made for TVT Records earned the
New York independent label $128 million in a verdict this week.
The Queens, New York, rapper signed with TVT ten years ago, and
with the label’s blessing, he moved to Island/Def Jam in 1998. For
Def Jam, he released his debut, Venni Vetti Vecci, in
1998, followed by the breakthrough Rule 3:36 two years
later. With the release of Pain Is Love in 2001 and
The Last Temptation last year, Ja Rule became one of the
most successful rappers of the past five years and the flagship
artist on Murder Inc. Records, an Island/Def Jam imprint.
Though he severed ties with TVT years ago, Ja Rule and some
collaborators tried to make an album for the label in 2001 based on
recordings made prior to his signing with Def Jam, but the larger
label blocked the album’s release. A jury awarded TVT $24 million
in compensatory damages, for various unrecoupable costs pertaining
to the recording, as well as another $108 million in punitive
damages. Attorneys for Def Jam admitted that the compensatory
damages were owed, but urged against a punitive penalty.
Def Jam will appeal the verdict.