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.

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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.