Rapper Nicki Minaj has responded to Folk/Blues singer Tracy Chapman’s copyright infringement lawsuit.
The Queens rapper feels she did no wrong, according to The Blast. According to court documents obtained by the publication, the “Rich Sex” rapper has denied all allegations of wrongdoing in the case, which claims that Minaj sampled Chapman’s 1988 single “Baby Can I Hold You” without permission.
Minaj sampled Chapman in her track “Sorry” featuring Nas that she was going to use for her latest studio album, Queen.
Chapman filed the lawsuit in October 2018, and the new court documents, which were filed on Feb. 22 in a California federal court, states that Minaj says her song is protected by the fair use doctrine, which Copyright.gov defines as “A legal doctrine that promotes freedom of expression by permitting the unlicensed use of copyright-protected words in certain circumstances,” according to Atlanta Black Star.
Chapman is seeking monetary restitution for damages, but Minaj said that the singer “has not properly registered her claim to the copyright in the composition of “Baby Can I Hold You”.
However, Minaj admitted to recording the record before she reached out to Chapman on several occasions, but got denied.
Around the time that Minaj got closer to releasing Queen, she jumped on Twitter and asked her fans to help convince Chapman to grant her permission.
“So there’s a record on #Queen that features 1 of the greatest rappers of all time,” she wrote in tweets that have now been deleted. “Had no clue it sampled the legend #TracyChapman. Do I keep my date & lose the record? Or do I lose the record & keep my date? Do we push #Queen back 1 week? Ugh! I’m torn, y’all help. Tracy Chapman, can you please hit me. omg for the love of #Queen.”
Minaj confirmed that Chapman turned down her request in another deleted tweet. “Sis said no,” Minaj later tweeted with a shrug emoji. This resulted in “Sorry” being left off of the album.
“Tracy Chapman very much protect her rights and she has a right to deny a license when requested,” Chapman’s lawyer Lee Phillips told Rolling Stone. “There’s no question that this is infringement. If you ask what Nicki Minaj’s defense going to be, we have no idea.”
Glennisha Morgan is a Detroit-bred multimedia journalist and writer. She writes about intersectionality, hip-hop, pop culture, queer issues, race, feminism, and her truth. Follow her on Twitter @GlennishaMorgan