Why Tracy Chapman Would Probably Win Her Lawsuit Against Nicki Minaj

October 24, 2018Media Mention

This summer, a little more than a week before the release of her album QueenNicki Minaj tweeted a request to Tracy Chapman to clear a sample for the album. In a later tweet, Minaj wrote, “Sis said no.” The album was released on August 10, without any songs featuring a Tracy Chapman sample.

Repeating identical lyrics puts Minaj on shakier ground, legally speaking, than simply borrowing a feeling or groove. “It’s a strong case for Tracy Chapman, because it’s a wholesale lift of the lyric as the centerpiece of Minaj’s track,” says Bill Hochberg, who works with the Bob Marley estate. “It’s stronger than the ‘Blurred Lines’ case where you have two songs that really don’t sound alike other than an inspirational vibe, whereas here it’s word-for-word lifting.”