Nicki Minaj is set to pay Tracy Chapman $450,000 in the copyright infringement lawsuit brought upon the rapper by the singer-songwriter. The origins of the suit date back to 2018, when Chapman sued Minaj for the uncleared usage of her song “Baby Can I Hold You” as a sample in the rapper’s track “Sorry.”
In the newest update, as reported by Pitchfork through filed California federal court documents, “Chapman and her team have accepted a $450,000 offer of judgment that Minaj and her team tendered in December. The sum includes all costs and attorney fees related to the case.”
The music site also said Minaj’s attorney told them they only coughed up the money to avoid a costly headache.
“We settled for one reason only. It would have cost us more to go to trial,” the attorney said.
As mentioned, all this got started back in 2018 when Minaj tweeted about the possibility of the date for her then-upcoming album Queen being pushed back due to a track having clearance issues due to the use of Chapman’s song.
“So there’s a record on #Queen that features 1of the greatest rappers of all time,” she tweeted at the time. “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”
Per Minaj’s suggestion, the Barbz took things into their own hands. Chapman received plenty of online attacks, but ultimately, “Sorry” ended up being dropped from Queen. It did, however, somehow end up in the hands of New York DJ Funkmaster Flex, who then leaked the song. When Chapman heard that it had gone out to the public, she took legal action.
In June 2019, the courts ordered Minaj and Chapman to privately mediate through the then-ongoing case. Last September, the judge seemingly sided with Nicki in the dispute, claiming that through creative expression and exploration, Nicki had the right to experiment with Tracy’s work before getting approval for the song because completed works are usually sent to the rights holder for consent to use. The judge felt punishing her for that particular aspect of the suit would be limiting creativity and innovation in the music industry. In the end, it seems where things went wrong was when the song was heard by the public.
With all the songs the rapper said she wishes she never recorded early last year, it’s ironic “Sorry” isn’t one of them based on all that’s come of its creation. On the bright side though, the longstanding case will finally be closed. Both artists will be able to move on, Chapman though, with some extra money in her pocket.