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Roddy Ricch Hit With Copyright Lawsuit Over Smash Hit ‘The Box’

A songwriter says his oft-sampled 1975 soul track was used without permission in Ricch's megahit.

A new copyright lawsuit claims that Roddy Ricch stole elements of his chart-topping 2019 song “The Box” from a 1975 soul song that’s been repeatedly sampled – legally – by other rappers.

In a complaint filed Tuesday in Manhattan federal court filed against Ricch (real name Roderick Wayne Moore Jr.) and Atlantic Records, songwriter Greg Perry says the smash hit (which spent eleven weeks at the top of the Billboard Hot 100) clearly borrowed from his decades-old song “Come On Down.”

Perry’s lawyers say that an average music fan would be able to hear the “strikingly similar” tempo and melody of the two tracks simply by listening to it, but that more thorough investigation by music experts has more conclusively proven the theft.

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“Comparative analysis of the beat, lyrics, hook, rhythmic structure, metrical placement, and narrative context by a musicology expert demonstrates clearly and convincingly that ‘The Box’ is an unauthorized duplication and infringement of certain elements of ‘Come On Down’.”

In specific terms, Perry claims that Ricch infringed the “ascending minor scale played by violin” that plays at the beginning of “Come On Down” and repeats six throughout the song. He says a very similar musical segment is featured in “The Box” and “permeates” the Ricch’s song, repeating 24 times.

According to Perry, “Come On Down” is a popular sample in hip hop – featured in both Yung Jeezy’s 2008 “Wordplay” and in Yo Gotti’s 2016 “I Remember.” But he says that both of those songs were fully cleared and licensed by giving him a songwriting credit and an ownership stake.

“Other [artists] in the rap world that have chosen to copy elements of ‘Come On Down’ have done so legally and correctly,” Perry’s lawyers wrote. “Defendants chose not to license the musical composition from plaintiffs and instead chose to intentionally infringe upon the copyright.”

Typically, a copyright accuser like Perry needs to show that Ricch and the other “Box” songwriters had so-called access to “Come On Down,” meaning they had a chance to copy the song in the first place. But Perry’s lawyers say his was “so popular in both the R&B and Rap Community” as a sample that such access is already “firmly established” at the outset of the case.

The lawsuit does not specify how much Perry is seeking in damages, but his lawyers claim he was given a 50% cut or greater on each of the earlier songs that sampled from “Come On Down,” which could potentially mean millions of dollars in royalties for a chart-topping song like “The Box.”

A rep for Ricch at Atlantic Records did not immediately return a request for comment.

Read the full complaint here: