Nicki Minaj could end up regretting that she recorded the song “Sorry,” if Tracy Chapman has her way.
“Fast Car” singer-songwriter Chapman on Monday hit the rapper with a lawsuit, saying that Minaj’s “Sorry” infringes on Chapman’s copyright of her own composition, “Baby Can I Hold You.”
According to the suit, filed in federal court in California, “Sorry” incorporates “the lyrics and vocal melody of the Composition, its most recognizable and memorable parts. Maraj recorded the Infringing Work using these parts of the Composition without first seeking the authorization to do so. 21. The Composition’s lyrics and vocal melody comprise approximately half of the Infringing Work, and are easily recognizable and identifiable as Chapman’s.”
The suit, which seeks unspecified damages, says that Minaj’s team made multiple requests to license the song from Chapman, but only after it was recorded, and Chapman rejected the licensing requests.
The suit says that “Sorry,” which also features Nas, was initially intended to be included on Minaj’s recently released album “Queen,” but was ultimately left off the collection.
The suit cites a since-deleted Juy 2018 tweet from Minaj which, according to the complaint, read, “had no clue [the Infringing Work] sampled the legend #Tracy Chapman – do I keep my date & lose the record? Or do I lose the record & keep my date? [D]o we push #Queen back 1week (sic)? Ugh! I’m torn, y’all help.”
However, the suit says, the track was given to HOT 97 deejay Funkmaster Flex, who played it on the station “and, possibly, through other outlets.”
A rep Minaj did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the suit.
“As a result of the unauthorized use of the Composition in the Infringing Work and the subsequent distribution of the Infringing Work despite Chapman’s clear and repeated denials of [Minaj’s] license requests, [Minaj] wrongfully deprived Chapman of the right and opportunity to decide whether to allow the use of the Composition, and, if so, on what terms,” the suit reads. “[Minaj], thus, has caused Chapman to incur substantial injury, loss and damage as a result of her wrongdoing.”
Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.