MANHATTAN — A beef between hip-hop stars Chris Brown and Drake over Rihanna led to a bottle-throwing brawl at a SoHo nightclub that sent five people to the hospital early Thursday morning, police and sources said.
The late-night rumble began at roughly 4 a.m. at the hotspot W.I.P. — short for Works in Progress — at 75 Vandam St. after Brown apparently received a note from Drake saying that he was "still f--king" Rihanna, sources said. Rihanna is Brown's ex-girlfriend.
Rihanna, 24, and Brown, 23, who pleaded guilty to felony assault for beating the Barbados-born singer in February 2009, have been spotted at many of the same clubs this summer, including Jay-Z's 40/40 Club, SL and Catch Roof in the Meatpacking District.
Drake also briefly dated Rihanna.
Brown arrived at W.I.P. with his current girlfriend, Karrueche Tran, and a bodyguard. Members of Drake's entourage, who were already in the club, confronted them, asking Brown what his problem was with Drake, sources said.
Brown responded that he didn't have a problem with the Canadian-born rapper, and sent over a bottle of champagne to smooth things over, sources said. Then the note came in response.
Brown and his trio then got up to leave, a source said, but were cut off by five men from Drake's crew.
"They were giving [Brown] the middle finger," Ingrid Gutierrez, a member of Brown's entourage, told the New York Daily News. "They got into each other's faces and were shouting at each other."
Before anything happened between them, bottles started flying.
There was no immediate indication that either rapper's entourage threw any bottles during the fight.
"Chris, Karrueche [Tran] and his friends were victims of a brutal attack last night at W.I.P.," Brown's publicist said in a statement, according to RadarOnline. "They sustained several injuries. Chris and his party are cooperating with NY authorities who are pursuing this incident further."
Early Thursday, Brown tweeted a photo of a cut on his chin and the message "How u party with rich n---- that hate? Lol....Throwing bottles like girls? #shameonya!" The photo and message were later removed from his account.
Drake's spokesperson told TMZ that, "Drake did not participate in any wrongdoing of any kind last night at W.I.P. He was on his way out of the club when the altercation began."
Drake was in Saratoga Springs for a concert Thursday night, sources said.
Five people went to the hospital after the brawl. Three went to Bellevue Hospital, the FDNY said, including a 25-year-old man who suffered head trauma. Of the two others, one had a cut to the head and the other had a cut to the hand.
One of the victims, a 24-year-old woman, reportedly found herself in the middle of the bottle tossing.
"Within a few moments of noticing glass being thrown around, I saw a glass bottle headed towards me," the woman told TMZ.com, "consequently hitting me in the head."
Police investigators were reveiwing surveillance tape at the club to see who was throwing bottles, sources said.
Managers at W.I.P., who did not immediately respond to a request for comment, tweeted at 2 a.m. Thursday about the star's arrival at the club.
"Welcome back @chrisbrown," they wrote.