Rapper Nicki Minaj to pay Tracy Chapman $450,000 in copyright infringement settlement
Chapman sued Minaj in 2018 for using a sample of her 1988 song 'Baby Can I Hold You' in one of her songs
Anaconda rapper Nicki Minaj will pay singer-songwriter Tracy Chapman $450,000 to settle a copyright infringement dispute.
Chapman, who is a four-time Grammy Award-winning artist, sued Minaj in 2018 for using a sample of her 1988 song Baby Can I Hold You in one of her songs. The track, Sorry, which also features If I Ruled The World rapper Nas, was initially set to appear on Minaj’s fourth album Queen but did not make it on the final cut.
Minaj wrote the track with Nas based on the dancehall song Sorry by Jamaican artist Shelly Thunder. However, once Minaj realised that the track was in fact based on the Chapman song, she reached out for permission to sample it. The singer-songwriter refused.
According to the BBC, Chapman’s lawyer has said the artist has a blanket policy against granting sampling rights. Chapman is even known to be on an unofficial “do not sample” list.
The track, as a result, was pulled from the album. However, a leaked version made its way to radio DJ Funkmaster Flex and soon went viral.
Chapman accused Minaj of sending the track to Flex. Both denied the allegations.
An earlier court ruling said that Minaj’s use of the track was fair, siding with the rapper’s lawyers who contended that artists should freely be able to sample music without worrying about being sued after approaching the rights-holder for permission.
The court also said there was "no evidence" that Minaj's track "usurps any potential market for Chapman”.
However, a trial was set to examine how Sorry came to be leaked to the public and whether that amounted to copyright infringement.
The trial will no longer go ahead as, according to The Guardian, court documents now reveal that an out-of-court settlement was reached late last month.
Updated: January 10, 2021 12:39 PM