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Two rappers at odds over ‘Teflon Don’

  • Written by Milton Howery III

Memphis rapper Donald Askew Jr. – aka “Teflon Don” – is gearing up to take legal action against Rick Ross, who happens to be one of the hottest rappers in the music industry at the moment. Memphis rapper Donald Askew Jr. – aka “Teflon Don” – is gearing up to take legal action against Rick Ross, who happens to be one of the hottest rappers in the music industry at the moment.

Memphis’ “Teflon Don” – aka Donald Askew Jr. – is prepared to go to court to protect the use of “his” name.

Rick Ross – aka “Teflon Don” – will be in Memphis next week pushing his venture into the chicken wing business.

DJ Khaled, Def Jam Recordings, Universal Music Group, Slip-N-Slide Records, and Maybach Music Group are all included in the pending law suit for trademark infringement, common-law trademark rights, trademark delusion, and unfair competition.

Askew claims that Ross and his label are infringing on the rights to his name, “Teflon Don,” a moniker that Rick Ross also uses. It’s also the same name of Rick Ross’ 2010 album release, which reached No. 2 on the Billboard charts.

Memphis rapper Teflon Don in the beginning of his career went by the name “Don.” However, after spending some time stationed at Fort Hood, Texas, he got the nickname, “Teflon Don.” Upon leaving the military he decided to continue his music career using the new nickname.

“In the military I was a cook and a rapper, so they started calling me ‘Teflon Don’,” Askew told the New Tri-State Defender.

His debut music release was “God, The Government, The Game,” which was a nominated for Best Indie Rap Album of the Year in 2009 at the Southern Entertainment Awards. He also created the NBA anthem for the Memphis Grizzlies, titled “Memphis Grizzlies.” And that led to ringtone and distribution deals with VIO Mobile and Select-O-Hits, and two movie soundtracks deals in 2009 and 2010 for “Money Makers” and “Daylight Fades.” In addition, he landed a video game deal with Rock Band Network/Harmonix Music and was signed to PTE/SODMG for a one-year contract.

Despite both rappers’ claims to the name Teflon Don, others more readily it as the nickname of the mobster John Gotti, who was the leader of the Gambino crime family in New York City. Gotti got the nickname in the 1980s because of a series of criminal court cases against him, which often resulted in a hung jury or acquittal. People would say no charge would stick to him, giving rise to the appellation “Teflon Don.”

All of this was unknown to Memphis rapper Teflon Don when he started performing under the name.

“At the time I started using it, I didn’t know it was associated with the mobster John Gotti,” said Teflon Don.

If the case goes to court, it should be interesting. According to “Teflon Don” Askew, no one currently has officially trademarked the name “Teflon Don.”

On many online sites, Rick Ross has said that “Teflon Don” was the name he went by before calling himself Rick Ross. The New Tri-State Defender did make contact with Ross’ public relations team but had not received an on-the-record response by press time.

Meanwhile, “Teflon Don” Rick Ross is scheduled to be in Memphis next week promoting his venture into the chicken wing business with WingStop. (Yes, we’re going to try and hook with him.)

Memphis’ Teflon Don says DJ Khaled, the record label executive who works with Rick Ross, was very much aware of the name situation. He holds DJ Khaled responsible,  noting that DJ Khaled on a song with Ross and should have realized the potential conflict.

“I just want people to know that I am not upset at Rick Ross. I hold the record label responsible for not doing their job and preventing situations like this from happening. If they had done proper research they would have known that I have been using this name for years.”

(For booking or to reach Teflon Don (Donald Askew Jr.), contact Leighala Jiminez  (Leighala J Management and Ent.) at 770-885-3511. Or check out www.teflondonmusic.com.)


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