Minaj is accused of using an uncleared sample from Chapman
‘Sorry’ makes prominent use of Chapman’s ‘Baby Can I Hold You’, which it is claimed was done without permission.
The track did not appear on the album, however, US DJ Funkmaster Flex did play it on his show on New York’s Hot 97 station.
Charlamagne Tha God also played ‘Sorry’ on his radio show The Breakfast Club, and the song is now readily available online.
According to the suit, Chapman claims that the song “incorporates the lyrics and vocal melody” of the “most recognizable and memorable parts” of ‘Baby Can I Hold You’.
It goes on to say that Minaj used them “without first seeking the authorization to do so.” In addition, the suit states that Chapman’s “lyrics and vocal melody comprise approximately half” of ‘Sorry’, and are “easily recognizable and identifiable as Chapman’s.”
Chapman’s lawsuit is demanding an order to prohibit the track ever being released again, as well as financial compensation.
Minaj’s desire to use Chapman’s music was made public when the rapper tweeted on July: “There’s a record on ‘Queen’ that features one of the greatest rappers of all time. Had no clue it sampled the legend Tracy Chapman”.
She then put out a poll asking fans whether or not she should delay the album’s release until she could clear the sample. The album’s release was eventually pushed back.
As one Twitter thread pointed out in August, Chapman received multiple abusive messages on social media from Minaj’s fans over her refusal.
It also included a screenshot of an interview with Chapman in 2005 in which she discussed her reluctance to license her music.
“I’m not really a fan of it, especially if people do it without permission. It can work sometimes but at other times it may not be in line with the music that somebody may have come to appreciate from the original. I guess I’m protective,” Chapman said.
She also recently hit out at a ‘racist’ artist over his hugely controversial cartoon of tennis player Serena Williams.