Lil Wayne will stay with Cash Money and Birdman IF they ante up the money he's owed ... in fact, we're told if Cash Money pays up, Wayne has no choice but to stay.
Sources involved in the case tell TMZ ... Wayne feels Birdman's decision to avoid paying him is nothing more than a power play. TMZ broke the story that Wayne is suing, and a central claim is that Birdman has consistently stiffed him over the last year.
There are 2 payments that have irked Wayne -- he says he was owed $8 million when he went into the studio to record "Tha Carter V" in December 2013, and another $2 mil when he completed the album last month.
We're told the hope is that Universal -- which distributes Cash Money Records -- will step in and earmark the $10 mil for Wayne. And we're told Universal is already putting pressure on Cash Money to settle.
If Cash Money pays Wayne the $10 mil, it would essentially eliminate any breach of contract. That means Wayne would have no legal basis to ask out of the contract. Even though Wayne's suing for $51 million, most of that is predicated on future lost profits which would not be an issue if they settle.
As for the release of "Tha Carter V" ... even if the case settles the power would be in Birdman's claws.