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Nicki Minaj Agrees to Pay Tracy Chapman $450,000

In this article we take a look at the definition of copyright infringement, discuss the recent lawsuit filed by legendary singer Tracy Trap man against the current queen of Hip Hop and why did a Judge ruled in Nicki Minaj’s favor, with regards to copyright infringement yet she still had to pay a sizeable amount of cash to the Legendary star.

Posted  631 Views updated 7 months ago

Nick Minaj is a rapper, singer, and songwriter born in the beautiful controversial island of Trinidad & Tobago whom spent most of her childhood in New York. With Nicki Minaj’s current net worth being estimated at ( Dan Western, 2021)  $100 million, she has made quite a name for herself, and become one of the most influential female artists in hip-hop. Tracy Chapman was born in Cleveland Ohio and was mainly raised by her mother after a divorce when she was only four years old. Tracy began playing the guitar and writing songs at age eight. Currently she is believed to have a net worth of around ten million dollars. As of October two thousand eighteen, (TMZ, 2018) Tracy Chapman decided on going after Nicki Minaj claiming she took her song, after her reps made multiple requests to license "Baby Can I Hold You" and all requests were rejected. Chapman claimed in June 2018, Minaj and her reps made multiple requests to license "Baby Can I Hold You" and all requests were rejected. The music legend also claimed the song comprises half of the lyrics and vocal melody from the original works "Sorry."

To Tracy's surprise "Sorry" came out in August 2018 which was supposed to be featured on Nicki's album, "Queen. Funk-master Flex played "Sorry" and it went viral. The track was also featured on "The Breakfast Club" with Charlamagne Tha God. Once Nicki and her team received word (Becca Bleznak, 2021) of its release to a variety of media outlets, Nicki and Team pulled the song from "Queen" and tried to make it disappear, but Tracy felt as if the damage was done and decided to sue for an order prohibiting Nicki and her team from releasing the song again. She was also seeking damages in the form of some type of monetary compensation. So here we are two years later. The lawsuit claimed that Nicki committed copyright infringement when she experimented with  “Baby Can I Hold You” song for her own, “Sorry”. According to a variety of media outlets a judge ruled on Wednesday that usage of the song was within the realms of “fair use” and therefore cannot be considered to be copyright infringement.

Nicki worked on “Sorry” with recording artist Nasir Bin Olu in 2017. During that time, Nicki had believed the song was a remake of another track by Shelly Thunder, a Jamaican reggae artist whom did a remake of “Baby can I Hold You”. The original work of Tracy Chapman so technically, it would have been a remake of a remake.“Baby Can I Hold You” was included on Tracy‘s debut album in 1988.

The copyright issue comes into play when a copy of the unreleased track made its way to DJ Flex, when he decided to played it live on the air. Nicki‘s attorneys argued that Tracy‘s lawsuit against Nicki “would “impose a financial and administrative burden so early in the creative process that all but the most well-funded creators would be forced to abandon their visions at the outset.”The judge agreed, stating that “artists usually experiment with works before seeking licenses from rights holders and rights holders typically ask to see a proposed work before approving a license. A ruling uprooting these common practices would limit creativity and stifle innovation within the music industry.” Nicki Minaj Agreed to Pay Tracy Chapman $450,000


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Works Cited

Dan Western. (2021, Jan 11). Wealthy Gorilla. Retrieved from Wealthy Gorilla:

Becca Bleznak. (2021, Jan 2). Wealthy Persons. Retrieved Jan 11, 2021, from Wealthy Persons:

The University of Kansas. (2021, 10 Sunday). KU Writing Center research papers. Retrieved 2021, from KU Writing Center:

TMZ. (2018, OCT 23). TMZ. Retrieved Jan 11, 2021, from TMZ:


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