Following last week’s revelation that US hip hop vets The Outlawz were cancelling their planned end-of-year Australian tour, rapper Rufus ‘Young Noble’ Cooper has hit back at promoter Fady Atalla‘s claims that the group were attempting to divert blame for the jaunt’s failure back to him and his company, Hiphop TV.
By RIP NICHOLSON
At the time, Atalla claimed that payments for the tour would be contingent upon ticket sales, saying Cooper’s claims were blown out of proportion. However, Cooper tells Rip Nicholson that there’s more to the story than merely “trying to blow this up because this obviously looks bad”, as Atalla described it.
“This shit really opened up a can of worms, man,” Cooper said. “This needs to be on alarm … It’s just all around the board a terrible situation and he’s giving Aussie promoters a bad fucking name.”
The tour — which had been due to celebrate the 20th anniversary of The Outlawz’ first album with the late Tupac Shakur — was to open up around Australia this last week in November, and Cooper was put into contact with Atalla several month ago through a friend in Toronto, Deuce Deuce, an associate of Cameron Foti, from D.O.C. Entertainment in Melbourne, a promoter who had previously brought over The Outlawz. Atalla’s first international booking some 10 years ago was The Outlawz and, even then, Cooper claims, there were questionable components to the tour.
“He booked us for two shows and had some older lady, who was the investor, we got out there and did the first show and the second show didn’t happen due to a money issue. And I witnessed this guy basically lie and show his true colours to me back then,” Cooper recalled. “I’m a grown man. I’m a boss. I been getting rap money for the last 20 years; I have nothing to lie about.”
However, Cooper says, when he was approached by Atalla to handle the now-cancelled tour, he was open to persuasion.
“He said, ‘I’m about to do this Slaughterhouse tour, telling me all this shit he been doing and I’m telling you, give me another chance. I’m telling you I’m not the same guy I once was’,” Cooper said. “I believe in giving someone a second chance. Ain’t nobody perfect in life. So, going against my better judgement I give Fady a shot. He gives me the agreement. The agreement looked good but it was an agreement for 10 shows and we get half the money from the ticket sales, and before we get on the plane we’re supposed to get $30,000 period, point blank.”
According to a revised contract provided by Cooper to Rip Nicholson — in response to Atella providing the initial agreement for the impending Australian Outlawz tour 2015 lacking any wording in regards to having to provide a deposit — the agreement had stipulated $US39,000, which included a deposit of $7000 and incidentals to cover return flights from the US to Australia to be paid directly to Cooper prior to the commencement of sales (5 October), as worked out by Outlawz management; both contracts were agreed and signed by both parties.
“We did [the revised contract] a few days after the first one, ‘cause I changed my mind when I really thought about the dude we was dealing with,” Cooper said. “In this agreement, he owed a deposit and flight money that wasn’t supposed to come from tickets, then another 7K from ticket sales was supposed to go to us … we never saw one penny!”
After the second contract was signed, Atalla had promised Cooper he had deposited $US5000 into his bank account. Cooper again supplied Rip Nicholson with evidence in an overseas telegraphic transfer receipt from Atalla’s own father, dated 23 October, only to be retracted soon after, the rapper says.
“It never showed up in my account and my name was spelled wrong,” he said. “He said he borrowed the money from his father and his father changed his mind because he didn’t trust him and went and cancelled the transfer … truth is Fady probably cancelled it from the beginning … just another tactic for him to borrow time. He had me believing for two weeks that the wire was on the way.”
Come November, Cooper had reached out to contact another promoter, Victor Lopez, who was organising for Onyx to come out to Australia with the plan for The Outlawz to join the Onyx dates as well work alongside Atalla’s planned tour with Lopez providing financial assistance.
“As soon as I call Fady to try and get him to work it out with Victor, he starts hatin’ on this guy,” Cooper said. “So I’m cursing this guy out, he’s acting like a child. At the end of the day if you got us booked for 10 shows and you got somebody else who can bring us on Onyx shows, what’s your problem with that? When you hate on that, you’re taking money out the Outlawz’ pockets,” Cooper said. “Long story short, Victor didn’t come on board for that and [Atalla’s] still dragging his feet with this. Excuse after excuse, his dog was having a heart attack, his phone was off for three days — just ridiculous shit. The other day I told him, ‘refund these people they fuckin’ money, this tour is over!’”
Cooper provided Rip Nicholson with screenshots of text messages delivered to Atalla to that effect on 17 September demanding cancellation of the tour. After Atalla breached the above-mentioned redrafting of the agreement the next day by failing to transact any of the deposit and flight money into Cooper’s account, Cooper sent Atella further texts on 17 November accusing him of ripping off fans and venues and threatening to shoot down his professional credibility in the business of music promotion.
“I said, ‘Fuck this dude, I’m gonna move forward and work directly with these clubs and make it happen, even if we gotta take a little less money, it’s all good’,” said Cooper. “So I reach back out to Victor, tell him about Fady breaching the agreement. Victor started reaching out to the clubs and getting their numbers for me so I start calling other promoters and clubs trying to work this shit out.
“It ain’t brain surgery. At the end of the day with the artist, it’s real simple with us. You reach out to the Outlawz, you wanna book us, we come up with an agreement, sign the contract, you send us half your money and book our plane tickets and we’re gonna be there at the airport. We get on fucking stage and give the people a show they’ll never forget. It’s real cut-and-dry, man. We don’t miss flights, miss dates, we’re grown men. We take on the responsibility.”
As the venue programmers had stated in their press release detailing the imminent cancellation, the Outlawz fully intend to make their planned Australian tour happen; the rap group has toured Australia numerous times before, having previously worked with Get Busy Entertainment and D.O.C. Entertainment and, Cooper says, they will be back again.
“We’re trying to reschedule this shit immediately so we can be out in Australia over December, January,” Cooper told Rip Nicholson. “Motherfuckers can know, we’re coming!”