Chamillionaire Reveals He Has A 50/50 Deal With Universal, Talks Technology

At a talk at Stanford University, Chamillionaire opens up about his unique contract, and how he got the leverage to demand it.

Platinum rapper Chamillionaire recently spoke at the Social Currency CrunchUp at California's Stanford University. In a technology setting, the Houston veteran expounded on his existing fan-base, created through online services like, prior to his signing with Universal Records. By way of his base, Cham said that he has an extremely artist-friendly contract dating back to 2004 or 2005. "I have a profits-sharing deal with [Universal Records]. Most artists don't [have such a deal], most artists make pennies on the dollar. I don't make that. I make what the label makes," he revealed, before clarifying that he has 50/50 share in net profits.

The former partner of Paul Wall revealed that through his website, and iTunes-topping performance of "Ridin' Dirty," he was able to secure this venture. "If I'm spending money, I want my money back just like [Universal does] if they're spending money. At the end of the day, I make what they make. That's not necessarily normal for an artist, but when I came into a major label, I had leverage." The rapper was asked if given the change of climate since his 2005 success would make him do things differently in hindsight. "To say that I would go back [and not sign with a major label], I can't say that...I have made millions and millions of dollars with Universal [and their] corporate structure," said Chamillionaire, who remains a Universal Republic artist, alongside Lil Jon and Distant Relatives.

Chamillionaire did speak candidly about the contract structure at the labels. "Because the industry's doing so bad right now, I think most contracts are designed for artists to fail," he said. Based on his generous contract, the rapper who says that he'recouped his Sound of Revenge and Ultimate Victory releases, admitted he checks Universal's accounting, "I audit them."

Almost three years removed from a proper release, Chamillionaire also stated that he's watched his label change for the worse. "Corporations are struggling. And for somebody like me, [Universal as a major label] just doesn't seem that major anymore," he said. "They should have been more aware of what's happening. That's why I come to tech conferences, so I can see what's next. They spend their money [on sending people] to the clubs right now, and I think they should be here." The rapper said he watched entire departments at labels dwindle to staffs of five, losing personnel that had a lot to do with his own success.

In the interview, Chamillionaire also speaks on his thoughts on rims, and which cell phones he uses, and why. Watch the whole interview on HipHopDX in the TechCrunchTV player here.



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  • monie

    why niggas care how much money he make first of all or how much he owes in taxes???? we all know people in debt and most (if not all) of us on this site make less money than him. All you gotta do is listen to the music if you like it and dont listen to it if you dont like it. Talkin down on a mans personal life when you dont know shit about him is some sucka shit.

  • Nico 3

    Even if his contract was unique, you only make millions when you sell millions. While Cham has talent, ever since Ridin Dirty, he's flopped hard, both creatively and financially. It doesn't matter what's on paper. One flop and things can change fast. Maybe with the right promotion he could find another hit, but how long has it taken for Venom to come out? Logic says he's making a few hundred thousand in advance money, which he doesn't want to blow all of on taxes. That's why you transition into acting like Luda did.

  • Bpayne

    Actually his explanation was proved as BS, he said he LET them foreclose cause it was the most expensive mortgage and he didn't really need it, so he let the bank have it back, but in reality what happened was a FORECLOSURE which means repossession for non payment of mortgage which also goes on your credit as a BAD mark, no one in their right business mind would've handled the situation like that, they would've SOLD their mortgage out to someone to take over the contract, OR, they would have Cancelled the mortgage agreement, thereby losing all money he put into the house but keeping his credit intact. The way Cham did it was he Lost all the money he put into it, Plus is Responsible for the Fees from the Bank having to hold foreclosure proceedings Plus city an state fines for allowing it to happen as well as a BAD mark on his credit. So in short, his explanation was BS, He lost out way more that way so most likely it was TOO expensive for him so he couldn't make the payment. Think about it, Dude hasn't had a HIT since 2005, your not a millionaire forever from one hit, every album since then has Flopped terribly. So it makes perfect sense that he is low on Money now, Regardless of his 50/50 deal, you can' get 50 % of nothing. so that really means Zilch

    • Kaleeb

      Yes he has only had one album out, but he's had all his sponsors that you know nothing about, and his numerous mixtapes which HE put out on his own. That's all his money back to him, and he sold a lot of those. Once again, you guys just spew trash but you don't really know what you're talking about. He was in negotiations with the bank for months, and they wouldn't let him do anything with the house, AND because of the economy it was worth waaay less than what he bought it for. Also, his mom had got cancer, he has a kid now, and he has to continue to support other people and their mortgages. So he let them have the house that was worth less than nothing, and bought a new one that was less expensive and worth it while continuing to support everyone else and pay for his mom's treatment, and son's hospital bills, because the insurance was no longer covered. So, how is that broke exactly?

    • monie

      he has only had one album out since ridin dirty dumbass

    • Zood

      Not strictly true. Yes it goes badly on your credit rating, but the fact is when you are in negative equity like most houses in the US are, a foreclosure by default is becoming ever more common especially among those with extremely high mortgages. Obviously his earning potential has dwindled but essentially you're saying there are no other earnings aside from music, which for most artists is false. Don't forget the guy made it to Forbes with seriously high earnings and still tours heavily, and let's be fair 20 million is difficult to chuck away just like that.

  • Kaleeb

    Actually he is a smart guy. He's already explained in plain english, and in a freestyle why he let that happen. He's still making lots of money and supporting A LOT of people. I'm still waiting for his Venom album, and I hope he continues to do good.

  • Roger187

    Cham is a smart guy, who also seems relatively down to earth. I respect the dude.

    • sowat

      thing is though, he made a video saying he doesnt even live in the house, which is why he didnt pay for the taxes on it and so on. and hes been on the forbes list several times, so im pretty sure hes not that stupid when it comes to his money

    • Cuttboy

      Not that smart.He let his crib go into forecloser and he owes $184k in back taxes..

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