Cardi B is being sued for $10 million by her former manager who claims he was fired by the rapper despite being instrumental in her success.
In court documents filed on Thursday and obtained by The Blast, Klenord “Shaft” Raphael and his KSR Group and Worldstar Management companies accuse Cardi B (born Belcalis Almanzar) of breach of contract and defamation after she signed a deal with Quality Control management last month.
A rep for Cardi B, 25, and a rep for Shaft did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s requests for comment.
Shaft, who began working with the rapper and former Love & Hip Hop reality star in 2015, claims he “catapulted [Cardi B] from exotic dancer and social media presence to music icon” and “conceived, arranged and orchestrated Cardi B’s rise to become the biggest music sensation on the planet.”
Shaft claims before he spotted Cardi B’s raw talent, she was not even a rapper and he credits himself with taking her “from the strip club to the recording studio,” thus “her rapid rise as a recording artist and performer is attributable to” him.
However, according to the manager, their professional relationship began to dissolve “by the end of 2017” after Cardi B’s stylist allegedly told her that Shaft was “robbing” the hitmaker by making side deals at her expense. He claims the star then told her rapper fiance, Offset from the Migos, about what she had been told.
“She has also repeatedly defamed Shaft, falsely communicating to her fiancé Kiara Kendrell Cephus (Offset), members of her entourage, and the public that ‘Shaft is robbing me,’ ” the lawsuit states, adding, “Offset is responsible for steering Cardi B to QC to be managed in all of her entertainment endeavors.” (QC is also the management of Offset’s group, Migos.)
According to the court documents, Offset allegedly reached out to Shaft, saying: “[U] better stop play acting like u don’t know u taking her s— from her u a snake. U can’t hide from me n—- and u not bout to play my WIFE.”
Shaft alleges Cardi B — who is expecting her first child this year with Offset — listened to “the lies” and cut ties with him and jumping ship to Quality Control Management.
Shaft is seeking damages of $10 million and is also seeking $10 million in damages from Quality Control for interfering with his management deal.
“Since discovering Cardi B in 2015, Shaft has played an integral role in developing her music career and public image,” a rep for Shaft said in a statement to Billboard and Variety. “While he is proud of their successful collaborations as she evolved from Instagram influencer to music megastar, Shaft is disappointed by her actions to freeze him out of her career, which are detailed in the complaint. Shaft is confident that his lawsuit will validate his conduct and substantiate his legal claims.”
Cardi B announced on Wednesday night she’s canceling several scheduled summer shows to focus on her pregnancy.