Rapper Soulja Boy, the creator behind hit songs like “Crank That,” “She Make It Clap” and “Kiss Me Thru the Phone,” may not be as paid as his social media persona portrays.
Santa Monica Superior Court judge Mark Epstein has ordered the recording artist, whose real name is Deandre Way, to pay his ex-girlfriend Kayla Myers $472,000. This ruling comes as a result of his losing a federal civil claim regarding an incident in 2019, when he reportedly pistol-whipped her during a house party, according to Radar Online.
The courts found him liable for the alleged assault and increased his judgment because of how he conducted himself during the legal process.
Soulja Boy’s legal team sought to have the judge dismiss the six-figure judgment, $236,000 in damages and another $236,000 in punitive damages, stating that despite his millions of streams, tours and business ventures, the celebrity is struggling financially.
The judge would not be moved and recommended that the chart-topper look at his finances and cut out some of the extraordinary expenses.
According to court documents, Soulja Boy does not really own anything. Currently, he lives in a rented home in Los Angeles, paying the landlord $25,000 a month to live there. He reportedly does own an elaborate car collection, valued at close to $600,000, along with $18,000 in jewelry.
He admits that he has not been making as much money as he did early on in his career, only commanding $10,000 to $50,000 per show — shows that have been severely impacted by or canceled due to COVID-19 quarantine restrictions.
The “Pretty Boy Swag” rapper also shared with the court his $1 million tax debt with the IRS, claiming all of these reasons are why he should not be asked to pay the punitive damages.
This is completely different from what many have assessed to be his net worth. According to multiple sources, his estimated net worth is between $10 million and $35 million. Myers’ lawyers also noted how it’s hard to believe he is broke.
“The defendant stated that he considered himself to be a successful rapper because he has sold several million records,” her lawyers said in filings, according to MyNewsLA.com. “He testified that he has made millions of dollars off of the sales of one rap single alone, `Crank That,’ and that he continues to make money from music sales. He testified that he also continues to make money from social media marketing and views of his videos on YouTube and that his YouTube channel has approximately 3 million subscribers and has been viewed over 1 billion times.”
The legal team for his ex-girlfriend suggested that he sell some of his stuff. The judge agreed.
The judge acknowledged “at least based on the evidence” the 32-year-old’s “net worth is negative.”
He also said it was his responsibility to find the money to pay what he owes, even if that meant he had to take shows for as low as five figures.
“And while it is not clear that defendant could just snap his fingers and book as many shows as he would like, neither is it clear that he cannot work at all. It might not be the work he wants (and he might not be headlining), but the court has no reason to believe that he cannot perform at all,” the judge ruled.
The judge added, “Someone as close to zero (financially) as defendant claims to be might want to scale down the living arrangements. $25,000 is a lot of monthly rent—even in Los Angeles. There is no reason of which the court is aware that he could not relocate to a more “modest” $10,000/month home.”
“[The] defendant must be earning money from somewhere sufficient to pay for the rent and whatever other monthly expenses he has. In other words, defendant is paying $300,000/year in rent alone. It stands to reason that he must have some other living expenses,” the judge rationalized.
“That money must come from somewhere,” he said.