Since the release of his debut album, New Joc City, Bad Boy South recording artist Yung Joc has meticulously maintained a certain image. His music is of the party/R&B remix variety. He doesnt deal with rap beefs. He reps his crew proudly. He is openly willing to discuss any aspect of his personal life that might become public. And, to the surprise of many a fan, he is a calculated business man.
But Yung Joc has been surprisingly absent from the public eye sine dropping his sophomore album, Hustlenomics. Yes, hes recorded several feature appearances on other artists projects, but the fervor that lead him to release a new LP just one year after his first, seemed to have been gone. As a matter of fact, in 2008 Joc made headlines for everything from baby mama drama to entrepreneurship everything but his own music. Hes especially been noticeably missing from the Block Entertainment family.
On May 14, the usually reserved artist-turned-record label exec broke his silence, revealing a dispute with Block Entertainment founder Russel Block Spencer, with whom the young Atlanta star seemed to have a great mentor/mentee relationship. However, below Joc tells AllHipHop.com that the relationship has never been what it seemed from the beginning, and that it has been virtually non-existent for over a year.
Joc reached out to AllHipHop.com through his assistant to clarify that he is not bringing legal action against Sean Diddy Combs directly. His lawsuit is against Harve Pierre and Russell Block Spencer, for preventing the release of his third album. He maintains a positive relationship with Diddy and remains hopeful the relationship between all parties can be salvaged.
Bad Boy supported Yung Jocs statements, telling AllHipHop.com: "Yung Joc's dispute is with his production company Block Entertainment, not Bad Boy Records. Bad Boy has worked with counsel for both Joc and Block in an effort to mediate their dispute, but it appears that these parties are still unable to resolve their differences. Bad Boy values its lengthy association with both Block Entertainment and Joc, and remains hopeful that these parties will resolve their internal dispute and get back to the business of making great music."
AllHipHop.com: What is the current situation with you and Block Entertainment?
Yung Joc: It aint nothing. I was never signed to Block, he did a finders situation. My deal is through Mastermind. See, the discrepancy began when I started watching how Block talks to people and the way he do business. A lot of people dont like to do business with him. Block dont even go out in Atlanta; a lot of people dont even know his face. And when youre trying to do business, you cant be a boss if people dont f**k with you. So the whole thing that was taking place is, dude was taking my budgets and doing what ever the f**k he wanted to do with em.
AllHipHop.com: How did he have access to our budget if you werent signed to him?
Joc: When he brought me in, they gave him a label deal. They gave him a deal as if I was signed to him. I signed an inducement letter to Bad Boy and Atlantic. But I didnt sign no inducement letter to Block. So they gave him control over the budget. So thats how the first thing started happening. Because him and Chino Dolla with MasterMind stopped seeing eye to eye. So Chino took him to court first. [Block] and Chino [were] supposed to do a joint venture, but Block breached that contract. I did my deal with Chino but I never signed to Block. So Block breached his contract with Chino, that breaks the tie right there.
AllHipHop.com: So when did you find out all of this?
Joc: I been knew. I knew before Hustlenomics came out. Thats why with that whole project I wasnt really even there, as far as doing everything I needed. My mind wasnt there, man. Just so much bulls**t going on. My first album, I didnt get but a $25,000 advance. My second album, I didnt get no advance. My third album, he tried to give me another $25,000 advance. I couldnt get Bad Boy to step up and make him do more. I aint f**ked with Block since December of 07, so why would Bad Boy give him my full budget if they know I wasnt recording with him. Thats money I gotta pay back, right.
AllHipHop.com: Once you figured out the situation, what was the dialogue you had with the label?
Joc: I told them I needed to be accounted to, because nobody had paid me my royalties. They tried to hit me back and say that I breached my contract because I wasnt recording with Block. Thats when it all hit the fan. So then it started creating crazy problems and turned into a whole new situation. Ive been recording everything Ive been on myself. I havent had label support since December of 07. Neither Bad Boy nor Atlantic has spent any money on Joc since then. Matter of fact, you can check my [label-controlled] MySpace page: notice aint none of my new music is on there. If you go to my MySpace page, notice it aint nothing but Gorilla Zoe music on my page. That show you what type of f**ckery they on over there. Aint none of my new music, none of my features or nothing. I done been on how many records since December of 07? A whole lot of em! I stepped my cameo game way up. The only one that might be on there is the Day 26 record, and thats cause thats thru the label.
AllHipHop.com: So when did you record the new Diddy Bop single with Puff?
Joc: I recorded that s**t in my own studio. Everything I been on I been recording in my studio. I been paying for my own publishing
AllHipHop.com: But how does that work if youre not really messing with the label? How did the collaboration come about?
Joc: I still had to be a business man. I still had to show good faith so nobody could say Im not complying. So as a business man, I still had to do certain things. Like last night, they asked me to record a song with Marina Chelo, this new artist that Bad Boy got, and Zo. And I was gonna do it. But after I did 106 & Park with Day 26 yesterday, I sat down realizing I been on 106 & Park ten times in the last year with no label support, and I aint even got an record out. Why am I f**king with these n**as and they not even trying to put my record or my album out while I got a buzz going with all these cameos? How many albums have you heard me on that have been hit records. If you was a label, wouldnt you take advantage of that momentum? Ni**as is dummies, so Im suing them. Its like Harve [Pierre] and Block is homeboys, and Harve is trying to make me sign to Block. And Im not gonna do it. They keep talking about, theres no way were gonna do this [label] deal without Block being involved. How you gon do that? You cant force me to sign to anybody. Thats a lawsuit in itself.
AllHipHop.com: Did you attempt any other means of resolving this issue before taking it to this level?
Joc: I tried to work it out with Puff, I tried to work it out with Harve, I tried to work it out with Block. But they keep insisting that I sign this deal with Block. Then they tried to give me this deal, talkin bout, Okay, well account directly to you. Well give you half of your budget so you can go do what you need to do on your album. Thats cool, but Im not gonna sign to Block. So I said since yall dont want this to look f**ked up, Ill let him keep his logo placement rights and Ill allow yall to continue to pay him his percentage, but Im not signing to him. But they keep trying to coerce me to sign to him and Im not f***in doing it. Some shiesty business is going on. I aint been paid no royalties. This is the first time in two years Ive had label support, and its on a Day 26 record. Thats because they realized, Damn, all these people making money with Joc. And he our artist, and we aint even seeing any of it. When they flew me from wherever I was to Miami to shoot that video, that was the first time the label had spent any money on me in two years. Bad Boy, that is. Everything Ive been doing, I been spending my own money. So I just recently set up my own office for my label, Swagg Team Entertainment. My own groups are being nominated now. This is the second group Ive signed thats been nominated for a BET Award. Hot Stylez was nominated for Laugh Out Loud Award, and became recipients. GS Boys, we did the video, smash single, millions of ringtones. Here it is, theyre nominated for Best Group. Im not saying they gonna win, but God is so good, they been nominated. That lets you Im working. So how is it that an artist came off of a flop second album it sold over 300,000 units, but since it didnt go Gold or Platinum, n***as consider that a flop hasnt really been off the charts since.
AllHipHop.com: So whats your next move?
Joc: Since Mr. Robinsons Neighborhood is postponed, Im about to drop The Grind Flu. Its an unofficial album. I dont do mixtapes, I dont give people half-assed product. I invest money in me. So people will have that by the end of next week, through Swagg Team Entertainment. Since Bad Boy/Block Entertainment dont wanna play right, fuck em.
AllHipHop.com: Whats going on with Hot Stylez and GS Boys?
Joc: Were about to release their second singles. We just shot the video for GS Boys new single, Booty Doo. Hot Stylez, we got a bunch of records, were just trying to make sure we come with a good record. Lookin Boy was such a good record, so they say they wanna give it some time and make sure they come back with the right record. They made a lot of money off their first single, so they trying to make sure they come with quality music.
AllHipHop.com: Are you concerned that your comments and actions might backfire?
Joc: How can it backfire? They owe me millions. They aint paid me royalties, man. Hows it gonna backfire? What, they gonna prolonged my album some more? I been waiting this long, I dont give a fuck. Thats why Imma establish myself. Matter of fact, Im in New York right now negotiating between three labels for a label deal for Swagg Team Entertainment. Ill make money on the executive end. Ive been quiet for a year and a half now. I aint said nothing! Trust me, every time I do an interview or go up to radio, people ask me whats up with Block Entertainment. I been quiet about this s**t, I been trying to be politically correct. Im not doing it no more.
AllHipHop.com: Have you already filed the lawsuit? What are you suing for?
Joc: Its already been filed. Im suing for contractual discrepancies, first and foremost, and unpaid royalties. Im not playing with these people. They need to come to the table, and come all the way right.
AllHipHop.com: What type of compensation are you looking for?
Joc: I really cant disclose that as of yet. Cuz a lot of stuff gotta be involved. They already know what it is. But they thinking if they give me some money Ill go on and fold on them. If I aint fold in a year, Im not gonna fold on you. Just give me my motherf***ing money and do my deal the way I want it. And if not, Imma sue, and Imma file for a release.
AllHipHop.com: So if the label came to you now and was willing to meet your demands, would you reverse your course of action?
Joc: The contracts gonna be marked up so crazy and they gon have to abide by so many rules that there would be so many breaches so fast. It would have to be right.
AllHipHop.com: But youd be willing to do it if they presented you with the right contract?
Joc: Yea. And paid me my unpaid royalties.
AllHipHop.com: So in your eyes, there is still an opportunity to remedy the situation and salvage the relationship?
Joc: Yes. I spoke to Harve yesterday and I spoke to Puff yesterday. My attorneys reached out to Lyor Cohen and the people at Atlantic yesterday. And today all the replies are coming in, and its like, maybe we can do this, or maybe we can do that. But until then, Im going forward with my suit.