Last week, up-and-coming rap group Da Youngfellaz made headlines due to a lawsuit being placed against them for allegedly using a loan of a $130,000 to purchase weed and first class plane trips rather than to advance the group’s musical career. The legal action was taken by Frank Marquez and Stigma Sound, a recording studio located in Manhattan, New York.
“The New York Post paid for that article,” Jay Storm says in an exclusive interview with HipHopDX. “They’re slandering us. We got the call from Julia [Marsh of the New York Post] and we told her our side of the story, and she wasn’t trying to hear it. It wasn’t juicy enough to make it to page nine.”
Marsh did not respond to HipHopDX’s request for a comment.
During his exclusive interview with HipHopDX, Jay Storm says why the group initially needed the money and what exactly that money went towards.
“We needed marketing and promotion dollars to kind of get our heads above water,” says the Bronx emcee, whose group is signed to New Rich Entertainment and has recorded with Talib Kweli, Snoop Dogg, George Clinton and Nipsey Hussle, according to its website. “The deal initially started, they asked us how much we needed. We told them we needed $25,000. At the time it was to push a mixtape we were dropping called Sophisticated Ignorance and we released Sophisticated Ignorance and the $25,000 helped paid for a bunch of different things as far as marketing and promotion goes. DatPiff, and wrapping DatPiff and getting the promo right, getting everything situated, it helped.
“These guys didn’t just drop $130,000 and went about their business and let us do whatever we want,” he continues. “These men watched every penny, every dime, every dollar that went into us marketing and promoting our project. They wouldn’t let anything go down without them being present. Every contract, every receipt that was signed, monthly overhead, it was all watched by them [Frank Marquez and Stigma Sound].”
HipHopDX made multiple attempts to contact Frank Marquez and Stigma Sound recording studios. They did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
Da Youngfellaz’s Jay Storm also said that publications that have been running the story have failed to explain the group’s contract. The situation got complicated because the total amount of money disbursed to them took place over a series of four different contracts.
“The entire thing was an investment,” he says. “She [Marquez’s lawyer] came to us with a new agreement trying to bring all three agreements together, all three investment agreements together. We signed three agreements, one for $25,000, one for $50,000, and one for $75,000.”
After signing the first three contracts that stated the money was an “investment,” Storm alleges that Frank Marquez had a change of heart. “We signed three contracts before the fourth one,” he says. “The fourth was a loan so they could guarantee their money back. It feels like they got scared, because they thought we were going to get our record deal and if we got our record deal we were just going to get up and leave and not pay them back.”
According to Jay Storm, what started as a friendly business agreement turned sour due to Marquez and his people wanting more from the New York duo than it was willing to give up.
“It’s coming from a bitter investor who is trying to slander our name because the investment went bad, because we didn’t want to give up our masters and our publishing,” he says. “Our attorneys went back and forth. We have e-mails of her [Marquez’s lawyer] threatening us, saying we’re going to take you to court for 100% of your publishing and masters, trying to get us to change our contract.”
Another issue that has led to this public dispute, according to Jay Storm, is the manner of when the money that was “loaned” to the rappers needs to be paid back. “The contract agreement in the loan said we didn’t have to pay him back until 2015,” he says. “That’s why this is crazy. He’s demanding his money back right now, but our contract says 2015. We don’t have to pay you right now.”
Jay Storm says he wanted clear his and his partner Sho-Biz’s name because of the accusations that the duo wasted the six-figure sum on marijuana and lavish trips.
“It’s ridiculous,” he says. “The majority of the money that they’re complaining about went into radio promotions. For them to say that it went into weed or fancy trips, the entire nine months we were with them, we only took two trips. We went to A3C, where we performed at, and we went SXSW and we spent nothing close to $14,000 there.”
The New York Post wrote in its story published last week that Da Youngfellaz spent $14,000 while attending the popular South By South West festival.
Jay Storm also alleges that the New York Post failed to get another element of its story correct. “The paper [New York Post] said we all smoke,” he says. “My partner Sho-Biz doesn’t even smoke. My manager, who is actually my brother, doesn’t even smoke. Me, I’m a social smoker.
“How are you going to sit there and make accusations that we spent your money on weed…$100,000 worth of weed,” he continued. “Come on, man. Why aren’t police knocking at my door?…We’re not dumb enough to throw away our careers on weed and fancy plane trips. That’s never been us.”
UPDATE: HipHopDX spoke with New York Post writer Julia Marsh today (August 15). Marsh said that the allegations that Da Youngfellaz made against the New York Post are completely inaccurate and that she would like to see the evidence the group has to support its claim.
Da Youngfellaz told HipHopDX that the New York Post paid for the article written about them last week that reported on a lawsuit filed against the New York Rap duo for allegedly using a loan of a $130,000 to purchase weed and first class plane trips rather than to advance the group’s musical career.