What Happened With Tracy Chapman and Nicki Minaj?

What Happened With Tracy Chapman and Nicki Minaj?

In the world of music, collaborations between artists are not uncommon. However, sometimes these collaborations can lead to legal disputes and complications.

One such recent incident involved singer-songwriter Tracy Chapman and rapper Nicki Minaj.

The Background

Tracy Chapman is a highly acclaimed American singer-songwriter known for her soulful folk music. Her breakout hit, “Fast Car,” released in 1988, catapulted her to international fame.

On the other hand, Nicki Minaj is a prominent rapper and pop artist known for her chart-topping hits and unique style.

The Incident

In 2018, Nicki Minaj expressed her desire to collaborate with Tracy Chapman on a song called “Sorry.” She reached out to Chapman’s team in hopes of obtaining permission to sample one of Chapman’s songs for the track.

However, after months of negotiations and unsuccessful attempts, the collaboration did not materialize.

The Lawsuit

Despite the failed collaboration attempt, Nicki Minaj still went ahead and played a snippet of “Sorry” on her radio show prior to its official release. This led to Tracy Chapman filing a lawsuit against Nicki Minaj for copyright infringement.

In the lawsuit, Tracy Chapman alleged that Nicki Minaj had used a substantial portion of her song without permission. The sampled song was reportedly “Baby Can I Hold You,” one of Chapman’s most well-known hits.

Chapman claimed that this unauthorized use violated her exclusive rights as the copyright holder.

The Settlement

The legal battle between Tracy Chapman and Nicki Minaj lasted for over two years. It involved multiple court hearings and negotiations.

Eventually, in 2020, both parties reached a settlement.

As part of the settlement, Nicki Minaj agreed to pay Tracy Chapman a significant sum of money as compensation for the unauthorized use of her song. Additionally, Minaj publicly apologized to Chapman for any harm caused by the incident.

The Aftermath

The Tracy Chapman and Nicki Minaj incident served as a reminder of the importance of obtaining proper permissions before using copyrighted material. It highlighted the potential legal consequences artists may face if they fail to secure necessary clearances.

This incident also sparked discussions about sampling in the music industry and raised questions about fair use, creativity, and artistic freedom. It serves as a valuable lesson for both established and aspiring musicians regarding respecting intellectual property rights.


In conclusion, the failed collaboration between Tracy Chapman and Nicki Minaj led to a legal dispute that ultimately resulted in a settlement. The incident shed light on copyright infringement issues within the music industry and emphasized the importance of obtaining proper permissions.

Artists must be mindful of these legal aspects to foster a fair and respectful creative environment.