Nicki Minaj to pay Tracy Chapman US$450,000 in copyright dispute settlement
Rapper Nicki Minaj has agreed to pay US$450,000 to singer-songwriter Tracy Chapman in an out-of-court settlement for using parts of her song without permission.
According to documents filed in US District Court in California’s Central District, the agreement was finalised before the case went to trial.
Chapman filed the suit in October 2018, claiming that Minaj’s track ‘Sorry’, a collaboration with Nas that was never formally released, had used the lyrics and vocal melody from her 1988 song ‘Baby Can I Hold You’.
According to Chapman’s documents, Minaj’s team had been in touch in July 2018 through the music clearance company DMG to ask for permission. However, rather than sample the Chapman song, the idea was to re-record the lyrics and melody.
Chapman reportedly has a firm policy of not allowing her material to be sampled or changed, and her publisher rejected the offer a few days after.
The singer-songwriter, best known in Australia for ‘Fast Car’ and ‘Give Me One Reason’, claimed that Minaj had already recorded ‘Sorry’ before the request was made.
Minaj tweeted she “had no clue” the song contained a sample and once she found out, tweeted Chapman a number of times asking her to get in touch.
The song was destined for Minaj’s Queen album, which was released in August 2018. As it turned out, ‘Sorry’ didn’t make the final cut, but it was mysteriously leaked to Funkmaster Flex, a popular New York radio DJ on station Hot 97, who played it on his show, after which it went viral online.