Nicki Minaj has responded to a lawsuit filed by Grammy award winning artist Tracy Chapman that alleges the rapper stole a sample of her song ‘Baby Can I Hold You’ after she gave her a hard no last year, Rolling Stone reports.
There had been some drama concerning the sample before Minaj dropped her album, Queen. The rapper took to social media to plead with Chapman to clear the song, that was to be used in her unreleased Nas collab, “Sorry.” She then admitted Chapman refused to do so.
“So there’s a record on #Queen that features 1of the greatest rappers of all time,” she wrote in a series of since-deleted tweets, referencing Nas. “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 1week? Ugh! I’m torn, y’all help. Tracy Chapman, can you please hit me. omg for the love of #Queen.”
Minaj later took to social media to report, “Sis said no,” with a shrug emoji.
Ultimately, the track was scrapped from the actual album, but that didn’t stop Minaj from playing it on the radio. Funkmaster Flex played the song on August 11 and it can still be found online.
On Feb. 22, Minaj formally responded to the suit in California federal court, saying the interpolation is protected by the fair use doctrine. Minaj added that Chapman “has not properly registered her claim to the copyright in the Composition [‘Baby Can I Hold You’].”
She alleges that Chapman does not own the “copyright in issue and therefore lacks standing to bring the claims alleged in the Complaint” and is not entitled to damages.
According to Pitchfork:
In the suit, Chapman claims Minaj’s song “incorporates the lyrics and vocal melody of [“Baby Can I Hold You”], its most recognizable and memorable parts.” And that Nicki used “these parts of [“Baby Can I Hold You”] without first seeking the authorization to do so.” In addition, the suit states that Champan’s track’s “lyrics and vocal melody comprise
The version that was played on the radio doesn’t include Chapman’s vocals, but instead has Nicki singing her lyrics.
“My baby can I hold you tonight?/And maybe if I told you the right words/ Ooh, at the right time.”
Chapman is suing for damages and wants to prevent Nicki Minaj and her team from ever releasing the song.