"I love a good mystery story," opens a new legal memorandum from Nicki Minaj. "Don't you? That is what this case is: a good mystery story."
It's now time for more in the heavyweight copyright battle between Tracy Chapman and Nicki Minaj over the latter's "Sorry," which was derived without permission from Chapman's "Baby Can I Hold You." Earlier this month, Minaj took the position in a summary judgment motion that her demo recording made fair use of Chapman's copyright. To hold otherwise, her lawyers argued, would be to ruin the ability of artists to experiment in the studio. It would mean that musicians would need a license before even creating a work. A cute argument surely, and one that sparks a solid rebuttal, but what about how "Sorry" got leaked to Funkmaster Flex, who had a popular radio show in New York? Isn't Minaj liable for that?
In Minaj's latest court papers (read here), she goes back to how in early Aug. 2018, just days before the release of Queen, she sent Flex a private message on Instagram teasing "Sorry," the song recorded with hip-hop superstar Nas that she couldn't clear for the album. Specifically, Minaj wrote the New York DJ: "Hey. I got a record I want u to world premier. The week [the] album drops. U will be the only one with it. I'll have jean hit u to explain. Keep it on the low. Wait til u see who's on it. Not going on album either. No one will get it."