Where did it all go so wrong for Jay Z and Rita Ora? The musical powerhouses were the best of friends, with Jay billing her as the next big thing when he signed her to his management company, Roc Nation. However, the former friends are now battling it out in court in a fight that could cost them each millions of dirhams.
Rita Gets Rocked
Jay Z’s record label chiefs have launched a multi-million dollar court case against the rap mogul’s former protégé Rita Ora. According to reports, Roc Nation bosses are suing the Radioactive singer for breaking her recording contract and failing to deliver the albums she was contracted to produce. The record label’s US$2.4m (Dhs8.8m) lawsuit comes just six weeks after the 25-year-old filed her own papers in California, claiming company bosses had lost their focus on her, putting the welfare and future of professional athletes and other ventures – like Jay Z’s streaming service Tidal – ahead of her music career. Lawyers representing Roc Nation submitted papers in New York, claiming the company spent more than $2m (Dhs7.3m) on marketing and development for the star’s second album, which is still unreleased.
Jay Z Grants Freedom
Since signing with the label in 2008, Rita has only released one record, 2012’s Ora, and the bosses claim the star was supposed to release five albums under her contract. Following the submission of the Roc Nation countersuit, Rita’s attorney, Howard King said: “Jay Z has personally and graciously promised Rita complete freedom from Roc Nation, the details of which are now being finalised. We believe that Roc Nation’s distributor, Sony Music, has required Roc Nation to file this action to preserve whatever rights Sony might have, pending resolution.”
Ora Failed the Roc
In her attempt to break away from Roc Nation last year, Ora requested a declaratory judgement, claiming the contract she signed in 2008 at the age of 18 is unenforceable and violates California law. In her lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on 17 December, her lawyer wrote: “When Rita signed, Roc Nation and its senior executives were very involved with her as an artist. As Roc Nation’s interests diversified, there were fewer resources available and the company suffered a revolving door of executives. Rita’s remaining supporters at the label left or moved on to other activities, to the point where she no longer had a relationship with anyone at the company.”
Rihanna Ruined Rita
Meanwhile, it’s been claimed the real reason behind Rita’s decision to sue Roc Nation was because of an ongoing feud with label-mate Rihanna. Insiders claim that the Work singer was offered all the big hits before Rita, who was never made the priority. The Sun newspaper claims a source said: “Rihanna has never liked Rita and has been using her power at Roc Nation accordingly. This is the main reason the label’s execs have been uninterested in putting effort into promoting Rita. Songs that might be submitted to her are automatically given to Rihanna, who may then hold them for months before deciding she doesn’t want them. The fact that Rita’s ex Calvin Harris is on their management books hasn’t helped either.”