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Nicki Minaj pays $450K to Tracy Chapman over copyright infringement lawsuit

Chapman sued Minaj in October 2018 for sampling her 1988 song "Baby Can I Hold You."
Tracy Chapman, Nicki Minaj.
Tracy Chapman, Nicki Minaj.WireImage/Getty Images

Nicki Minaj agreed to pay Tracy Chapman $450,000 over their two-year-long copyright infringement lawsuit, according to court documents.

Chapman sued the rapper and singer Minaj, whose real name is Onika Maraj, in October 2018 for sampling her 1988 song "Baby Can I Hold You." Maraj used the lyrics and vocal melody in an unreleased track called "Sorry."

According to the complaint, Maraj's team contacted Chapman multiple times for permission to sample the song and the Grammy-winning singer refused.

Court documents state that Maraj wanted to include "Sorry" on her 2018 album "Queen" but didn't because they did not have approval. However, Chapman alleged that Maraj leaked the song to Funkmaster Flex, a New York City DJ, who played "Sorry" on the radio and posted it on social media.

The case dragged on in court for two years until the "Super Bass" rapper offered Chapman a $450,000 judgment offer. Court documents made public on Thursday showed that Chapman accepted the offer and as a result, the case will not head to trial.

Chapman said Friday that she was happy to put the case behind her.

"I am glad to have this matter resolved and grateful for this legal outcome which affirms that artists’ rights are protected by law and should be respected by other artists," she said in a statement via her publicist Howard Bragman.

"I was asked in this situation numerous times for permission to use my song; in each instance, politely and in a timely manner, I unequivocally said no. Apparently, Ms. Minaj chose not to hear and used my composition despite my clear and express intentions."

Chapman said as an independent publisher, she likes to protect her work and does not grant or request samples. The four-time Grammy winner said the lawsuit against Maraj was an attempt to protect "the creative enterprise and expression of songwriters and independent publishers like myself."

Attorneys for Maraj did not return a request for comment on Friday.