The 27-year-old rapper’s business empire is shaking to the ground after he was again discredited by a violent incident.
Suspicion of assault
Lil Kleine, the artist name of Jorik Scholten, was arrested on Sunday on suspicion of assaulting his girlfriend. He was released yesterday while the prosecution investigated him.
This is not the first time that Lil Kleine has been linked to assault. He was also arrested in Ibiza in May last year after an altercation with his girlfriend who went out of control. And on Friday, the rap artist was sentenced to 120 hours of community service for a previous assault on a nightclub.
The limit has been reached
Last fall, his manager Nathan Moszkowicz told Het Parool that it is not necessarily bad for your career for a rapper, often even beneficial if you are occasionally in the news with some disruption. “Of course there are limits.”
There is a good chance that Lil Kleine has now reached that limit. On Tuesday, Madame Tussauds removed her wax figure, and Moszkowicz announced that he was considering continuing the collaboration with the rapper.
On Monday, Spotify had already removed its songs from the to-do lists compiled by the music service, and radio station FunX announced that it would no longer play its music.
Destructive to revenue
A boycott of streaming services and radio stations can be devastating to both an artist’s fame and earnings. “Such playlists do a lot for your reach,” DJ and music producer Ronald Molendijk said this week in Shownieuws. “Here he is hit amidships.”
Kees de Koning from Top Notch, until recently Lil Kleine’s record company, also pointed out in an interview two years ago the importance of such top lists for artists and record companies. “We’re still dependent on a playlist maker on Spotify and people on radio and TV.”
Beyond the reach of the public, it is also an economic interest. Each time an artist’s music is streamed or played, they receive a small fee.
For example, Spotify would pay up to half a cent per stream. It does not seem like much, but it can be added to large numbers. Lil Kleine is one of the most streamed artists in the Netherlands.
In early 2020, for example, he broke a Spotify record with his album ‘Street Boy’. Within 24 hours, the album was streamed 4.6 million times. It was good for 13,500 to 20,000 euros, a nice profit for a day.
Incidentally, such income often still requires fees to Buma / Stemra and record companies.
The new suspicion of assault may also have major financial implications for Lil Kleine’s performance earnings, especially given the recent release of his new album, Ibiza Stories.
“His album is out, you usually play at festivals and tours,” music producer Molendijk told Shownieuws. “But they will now also say: hey, I’m canceling your performance. It’s going to hit someone financially hard.”
Judging by his statements and behavior in recent years, it seems that Scholten could withstand beatings financially. The rapper regularly appeared in the news or on social media with statements about big incomes and an extravagant consumption pattern.
For example, in 2019 he bought a capital house on the Amsterdam Prinsengracht for 2.35 million euros. He also posted pictures of his expensive cars, bought an expensive watch for his son’s first birthday and spent 40,000 euros on clothes in a Parisian store.
French fries, drink and fashion
In addition, the rapper was involved in other companies. In 2017, for example, he went with a childhood friend to the chip shop De Belg, near Rembrandtplein. In 2018, he opened the party café ‘t Lammetje on Leidseplein. And a year later, the artist presented his own clothing line, Jorik.
With this, the rapper aroused the hint that the business was going well for him. The image of a successful entrepreneur was generously adopted in the media. The question, however, is to what extent this is correct.
The exact and most recent income of Lil Kleine is not known because his private company Kleine Moeite only submits a condensed financial statement to the Chamber of Commerce. Figures for his second company, Lio Z. Holding, which was founded in 2019, have not yet been submitted.
The most recent annual accounts for Kleine Moeite therefore do not contain an overview of the company’s income and expenses, only a limited overview of the assets. In addition, the piece covers the year 2019, so the numbers are not very fresh.
Full of debt
The striking thing is that the company did not look so rosy at the end of 2019. The total balance sheet amounted to more than 2.1 million euros. But of that, less than a quarter of a million was equity and more than 1.9 million was debt.
Remarkable because the artist already broke through in 2015 with the song Drank & Drugs, and had already had five very successful years by the end of 2019. That success is not really reflected in the balance of his business.
However, it must be borne in mind that the annual accounts give a picture of the situation two years ago. It is possible that the rapper’s net worth has grown significantly since then. In return, the artist looks back on two corona years in which there was almost no revenue from performances.
Nor did he pay for the half-channel house that Lil Kleine bought in early 2019 out of his own pocket, as some media outlets wrote. Data from the land registry show that the rapper financed the house with a mortgage loan of no less than 2 million euros from ABN Amro.
To pay for the house, he also borrowed 800,000 euros from his own company Kleine Moeite.
Then there are the companies the rapper has been involved with in recent years. In that context, the media often talked about his business empire. The question here, however, is to what extent these companies can be considered companies ‘by’ Lil Kleine.
In the Chamber of Commerce (KvK) register, the chip business is registered in the name of a company belonging to his friend Daniël Lam. The party cafe is in the name of companies belonging to the hospitality brothers Darwin and Leon Poppes.
Silence with business partners
Jorik Scholten is not mentioned in the Chamber of Commerce as owner or director of any of the companies. The rapper may have only a slight interest, or he may only have his face attached to the companies.
In that case, the question is whether his collaborators still want it. Another company in which Lil Kleine was commercially involved – the Dutch limoncello brand Fiorito – has now put the rapper on the sidelines due to the new suspicion of assault.
At the moment, both the chip shop’s and the cafe’s websites are still filled with pictures of the rapper. The Poppes brothers did not return after asking for comment. No one takes the phone in the chip shop.
Finally, there is the ‘high-end men’s fashion brand’ Jorik, which Lil Kleine and her boyfriend presented three years ago with a big fashion show and great media attention.
The rapper seems to have founded that clothing line with fashion entrepreneurs Barry Broedersz and Ramzi Addarrazi from fashion brand Purewhite. They are also the CEOs of the company Part of Me, which houses Lil Kleine’s clothing line.
In contrast to the chips shop and the party café, the rapper is mentioned in the Chamber of Commerce register at this company. Both he and his manager Nathan Moszkowicz are non-executive directors there.
The fashion business failed
After the controversial presentation, however, there was a deafening silence around the clothing line. Now it seems that the initiative has died a quiet death. Only a handful of T-shirts, hoodies and a shirt from Jorik are still for sale in the webshop.
Operational manager Christian Opschoor in the fashion company NOAH / Purewhite, the company that the rapper Jorik started with, confirms that the clothing line is no longer running. “It was not a success, that’s why we stopped it.” According to him, the webshop only sells some ‘leftovers that we still had lying around’.
Owner Addarrazi adds that there was a two-year contract which was not extended subsequently. “It was partly the result of the corona. We wanted to have full focus on our own business again. We have put the Jorik chapter behind us.” The entrepreneur does not want to disclose whether the clothing line has made a profit or a loss.
Bright spot Sony
The bleak financial picture above can be adjusted as the rapper has recently signed a new record deal. In the fall, he announced that he was leaving his record label Top Notch for music giant Sony Music. At the time, reports were circulating that this new contract would earn him 3 million euros.
But whether that is true and whether Sony will continue with the rapper after the latest suspicion of assault is uncertain. The record company was reportedly due to work on a statement, but has not yet sent it out. Sony does not respond to requests for clarification.
The management remains silent
The management of Lil Kleine did not want to answer an email list with questions about the rapper’s financial position, his income in the last two corona years, the precise commitment to the chip shop and the party café and the flopped clothing line.
“Unfortunately, we are unable to comment on this at this time,” an external spokesman said.