A member of the late ’90s rap group Hot Boys is threatening to sue French Montana for copyright infringement, claiming the chorus to his 2021 track “Handstand” directly copies a 20-word block of lyrics from a 1999 song.
In a May 4 cease-and-desist letter obtained by Billboard, an attorney for Turk said Montana’s song featured two lines of lyrics that were lifted almost word-for-word from the Hot Boys song “I Need A Hot Girl,” which reached No. 65 on the Billboard Hot 100 in March 2000.
In the letter, the attorney for Turk (whose real name is Tab Virgil Jr.) said he would file a lawsuit unless a settlement could be reached over the 2021 song, which was released with Doja Cat and featured Saweetie. Talks to resolve the situation are already being planned, a source tells Billboard.
Founded in 1997 in New Orleans, the Hot Boys also featured the rappers Lil Wayne, Juvenile and B.G. in addition to Turk and recorded three albums before splitting up in 2001. While Wayne went onto major solo success, both B.G. and Turk served lengthy prison sentences over separate crimes.
At issue in the budding dispute with French Montana are two lines of lyrics from the chorus to “Handstand,” sung by all three artists on the track: “I need a project bitch, a hood rat bitch/ One don’t give a fuck and say she took that dick.” The line is repeated within the pre-chorus and chorus, and both of those are repeated three times throughout the song.
With the exception of a single word, the exact same line appears once in “I Need A Hot Girl”: “I need a project bitch, a hoodrat bitch/ One that don’t give a fuck and say she took that dick.” In the Hot Boys song, the lines are used just once, as part of a larger verse of lyrics.
French Montana’s attorney Adam Zia, to whom the letter was sent, did not immediately return a request for comment on Monday (May 9). But TMZ, which first reported the letter, said that the rapper believed he had cleared the use of the material prior to release and that his team was already working on rectifying the problem.
A rep for French Montana didn’t immediately return a request for comment.