How Much Money Did Tracy Chapman Get From Nicki Minaj?

How Much Money Did Tracy Chapman Get From Nicki Minaj?

When it comes to legal battles and copyright infringement, the music industry has seen its fair share of controversies. One such case that made headlines in recent years was the dispute between Tracy Chapman, the renowned singer-songwriter, and Nicki Minaj, the rap sensation.

The Background

It all started when Nicki Minaj wanted to release her album “Queen” in 2018. She had a song called “Sorry” featuring rapper Nas that contained a sample from Tracy Chapman’s iconic track “Baby Can I Hold You.” However, obtaining permission to use the sample proved to be a challenging task.

The Lawsuit

Tracy Chapman’s team denied Nicki Minaj’s request to use the sample, which led to an unfortunate leak of the song on social media. This leak sparked outrage among fans who were eagerly awaiting the release of “Queen.” As a result, Nicki Minaj decided not to include “Sorry” on her album.

Despite not officially releasing the song, Tracy Chapman still took legal action against Nicki Minaj for copyright infringement. The lawsuit claimed that even though “Sorry” was not commercially available, it had been distributed to various DJs and radio stations.

The Settlement

In January 2021, after two years of legal battles and negotiations behind closed doors, both parties reached a settlement. While the exact amount has not been publicly disclosed due to confidentiality agreements, it is rumored that Tracy Chapman received a substantial sum of money from Nicki Minaj as compensation for using her copyrighted material without permission.

The Lesson Learned

This case serves as a reminder of how important it is for artists and musicians to obtain proper licensing and permissions before using someone else’s work. Even if a song is leaked or not officially released, it can still have legal consequences.


While the specific details of the financial settlement between Tracy Chapman and Nicki Minaj remain undisclosed, it is clear that this copyright infringement case had a significant impact. It emphasizes the importance of respecting intellectual property rights in the music industry and serves as a cautionary tale for all artists.

Aspiring musicians should take note and ensure they obtain proper permissions and licensing to avoid legal disputes that can be both financially and reputationally damaging.