Ryan Leslie Speaks on $1 Million Jury Verdict Against Him
Courtesy Mitchell Dudley.
As you may or may not know, in 2010, somebody stole all my music from me, out of the back of a black Mercedes-Benz when I was in Cologne, Germany. Initially I put up a reward of $20,000, a reward of $20,000 to get my backpack back. And when it never returned, I upped the reward to a million dollars, because that music was absolutely everything to me, it was everything, it was my life, it was everything.
I upped it to a million dollars.
Eventually somebody did return that backpack to me. But when I plugged in that hard drive to access everything that I had lost, the music just wasn't there, the hard drive wouldn't mound, I couldn't access anything, you know...
[crowd member shouts: 'It just wasn't meant to be...']
And a year later, that same gentleman, I don't know if it's because he misunderstood what the million dollars was for, he filed a lawsuit in federal court, in New York City, demanding that I pay a million dollars for music that I never got back. And yesterday, and the reason why I'm on the front page of the news today, everyone thought I was just a cheap skate or something like that.
A jury of my peers, eight people, they looked me in my face and told me I had to pay this man one million dollars for music that I never got back.
[crowd member: 'f*&k that!']
And so I woke up today to go get me some orange juice man, and the lady who works at the deli was like, 'oh man, you're the guy on the front page of the paper today!' And I looked at the [New York Post] headline, and it said, 'Rap Weasel'...
[Leslie dips his head, collects himself, crowd claps, 'we love you!'... 'keep your head up bro...']
So listen, music always comes from a place of inspiration and I've got to tell you all, never have I been more inspired than when I lost everything than to try and make the most incredible album I could possibly make. And for the last two years, I invested every single penny, every last dollar I had, to make the best artistic offering I possibly could. And October 22nd it came out, it's my album called Les Is More.
And despite what the jury said, that million dollar reward is still out there for anybody who can return all my compositions to me. That's why I never took the video off of YouTube, I never got anything back, but luckily God blessed me with talent I can make the music over again."
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