Black Thought and Questlove have been sued for “racketeering” by the widow of former Roots member Leonard “Hub” Hubbard.
According to Pitchfork, Black Thought (real name Tariq Trotter) and Questlove (real name Ahmir Khalib Thompson) have both been accused of violating federal RICO statutes in regard to the management of the band’s finances.
The late band member’s widow, Stephanie Hubbard, filed a lawsuit against the two men on behalf of her husband’s estate in a Pennsylvania federal court last week.
Hubbard’s estate alleges that Grand Negaz Inc., the company founded in 1993 to handle The Roots’ business ventures, gave the bassist a 17 percent share, while Black Thought and Questlove each received a 35 percent share.
There were also similar claims made in reference to other entities set up in 1999 and 2000 to handle publishing and touring ventures for the group.
The lawsuit further claims that both Black Thought and Questlove allegedly used their business dealings to set up other entities for personal reasons while Hubbard continued to remain a stakeholder in the original aforementioned company.
Even though Hubbard left the group in 2007 due to a cancer diagnosis, the suit claims he wasn’t compensated per the terms of the original agreement and his absent funds were reportedly utilized to bankroll “other Roots-related projects.”
Stephanie Hubbard’s attorney, Luke Lucas, told Pitchfork that he wish people who did music together would “look out for each other.”
“Ms. Hubbard is the widow of a great musician and Philadelphia native, an undisputed founding member of a great hip hop band,” Lucas said. “Fame should not deter fairness for those who made your success possible. There would likely not be a Roots had there not been Leonard Hubbard.”
The Roots have yet to comment on the lawsuit.
Leonard Hubbard previously sued his former band members over similar claims in 2016, arguing he wasn’t paid as a co-founder of the group.
Hub, who joined The Roots in 1992, died in December 2021 at the age of 62 from multiple myeloma, a type of blood cancer.
Meanwhile, Black Thought recently rapped for 35 minutes straight over James Brown remixes as part of a new project between himself and J.Period, which was released on Monday (March 27).
According to J.Period’s Instagram post, which showed the cover art, The Roots’ frontman freestyled for over half an hour to several James Brown records, including remixes of “The Boss,” “Big Payback,” “Papa Don’t Take No Mess” and more.
In addition, Questlove has been tapped to direct a live-action hybrid adaptation of the Disney animated classic, The Aristocats, which was originally released in 1970.
The drummer-turned-Oscar-winning director is also currently working on a documentary about the late, great J Dilla called Dilla Time, adapted from Dan Charnas’ acclaimed 2022 biography Dilla Time: The Life and Afterlife of J Dilla, The Hip Hop Producer Who Reinvented Rhythm.