The "perfect" rap-R&B marriage turns into a contentious "terrible divorce" in court

By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated November 02, 2004 08:00 AM

Making their spat official, R. Kelly slapped former concert costar Jay-Z with a $75 million breach-of-contract suit Monday, alleging Jay-Z’s “spite and jealousy” prompted the rapper to use violence to force Kelly off their 40-city Best of Both Worlds tour that was to have run through Nov. 28.

Legal papers for Kelly, 35, suggest that Jay-Z, 33, was perturbed because Kelly was being paid more for their tour, the Associated Press reports. As the documents claim, Kelly’s profit split from the tour was 60 percent of the first $15 million earned, compared to Jay-Z’s 40 percent.

The ill feelings, Kelly’s side claims, sparked deliberate lighting miscues and other technical flubs, violence against the singer and threats to get him dropped by the promoter Atlanta Worldwide Touring, who is also named as a defendant.

Kelly, who seeks $15 million in compensatory damages and $60 million in punitive damages, alleges that a member of Jay-Z’s posse blasted him with pepper spray early Saturday at Madison Square Garden. Kelly was treated at a hospital, then fired by the promoter.

Kelly’s lawyer, Edward Hayes, said the tour started out to be “the perfect marriage of hip-hop and R&B. Instead, it’s going to be a terrible divorce.”

A statement from Island Def Jam Records, which Jay-Z (real name: Shawn Carter) is slated to take over, blamed Kelly’s “lack of professionalism and unpredictable behavior” for cancellation of the tour – which is expected to continue with Jay-Z and guests stars, who have yet to be announced.