Nicki Minaj has agreed to pay $450,000 to seasoned singer and songwriter Tracy Chapman to settle a copyright lawsuit the latter brought against her for allegedly sampling her song without her permission.
According to The Guardian, the award-winning rapper and her representatives contacted Chapman to request for clearance to sample her 1988 single “Baby Can I Hold You” for her Nas-assisted track, “Sorry”. Chapman, however, repeatedly rejected their request.
And though the song – which was set to be featured on the 38-year-old’s 2018 album Queen – was never released officially, it was leaked on New York-based radio station Hot 97. The Super Bass rapper agreed to an out of court settlement instead of proceeding to trial, court documents reportedly revealed.
“I am glad to have this matter resolved and grateful for this legal outcome which affirms that artists’ rights are protected by law and should be respected by other artists,” Chapman said in a statement after the settlement. “I was asked in this situation numerous times for permission to use my song; in each instance, politely and in a timely manner, I unequivocally said no. Apparently Ms Minaj chose not to hear and used my composition despite my clear and express intentions.”
Chapman is reportedly on a “do not sample” list which means she does not allow other artistes to use any of her works. Minaj, who claimed she had “no clue” her song sampled Chapman’s single, initially took to social media in 2018 to appeal to the Grammy award-winning musician to give her the green light. “I’m torn, y’all help,” she tweeted. “Tracy Chapman, can you please hit me. omg for the love of #Queen.”
She also revealed the hold-up with regards to gaining the sample clearance for the single had left her in a dilemma over the release date for her album. “Do I keep my [release] date & lose the record? Or do I lose the record & keep my date? … Ugh! I’m torn, y’all help,” she wrote in a since-deleted tweet, NPR reported.