An old-school singer-songwriter is dragging Nicki Minaj into court

An old-school singer-songwriter is dragging Nicki Minaj into court
Photo credit: / JStone

Nicki Minaj is fighting all the allegations in a copyright lawsuit brought against her by singer/songwriter Tracy Chapman in October.

Last October, Chapman sued 36-year-old Minaj for copyright infringement after claiming the rapper’s track “Sorry,” interpolated her 1988 single, “Baby Can I Hold You,” without her permission.

In new court documents obtained by The Blast, she has now denied infringing on the copyright for the song, despite having previously announced that she was seeking permission from Tracy to use the sample.

The “Anaconda” hitmaker claims in her documents that while “she recorded a musical interpolation that incorporated music and lyrics from the Composition,” the use of the sample is protected by the doctrine of fair use.

Minaj also claims Tracy “has not properly registered her claim to the copyright in the Composition,” adding that the 54-year-old singer “is not the owner of the copyright in issue and therefore lacks standing to bring the claims alleged in the Complaint.”

“Sorry” was meant to appear on Minaj’s fourth studio album Queen, which was released in August last year. However, it remained unreleased until it was leaked to New York DJ Funkmaster Flex, then was subsequently played on Hot 97 radio, leading Chapman to file the lawsuit seeking damages. Additionally, an order was filed to prevent Nicki from releasing the song.

In her documents, she claims she provided “several requests for permission” to license the song, all of which were denied.

The papers read: “Defendant admits that ‘Sorry’ incorporates music and lyrics from the Composition. Defendant admits that she made a recording of ‘Sorry’ without first seeking authorization to do so.”

After Funkmaster Flex played a copy of the Queen album Minaj originally intended to release – which included “Sorry” – (shortly before the release of the final product), the “Good Form” hitmaker seemed to suggest on social media that Tracy had blocked her from using the sample.

In a now-deleted tweet, she simply wrote: “Sis said no.”

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