Drake is being sued for copyright by Ghanaian rapper Obrafour

today24/04/2023 21

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Drake is being sued for reportedly using an unauthorised sample from Ghanaian rapper Obrafour on his 2022 album ‘Honestly Nevermind‘.

In a filing seen by Music Business Worldwide, lawyers representing Obrafour claim that album track ‘Calling My Name‘ features a sample from his 2003 track ‘One Ohene (remix)‘ — in which the rapper, real name Michael Elliot Kwabena Okyere Darko, utters the phrase “Killer cut, Blood, Killer Cut.”

Obrafour is suing Drake for $10 million for infringing copyright, with court documents claiming he has emails from Deborah Mannis-Gardner, a representative of Republic Records, that was sent on June 8, 2022 reportedly asking to clear the vocal sample ahead of ‘Honestly, Nevermind”s release.

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Though the suit claims that the sample was never cleared, and just nine days after the initial email on June 17, the album was released.

Alongside Drake, Obrafour is suing a number of individuals associated with Republic Records and the wider Universal Records company.

‘Calling My Name’ received 250 million streams in it’s first week alone, landing Drake chart positions all over the world — with ‘Honestly Nevermind’ receiving around 1 billion streams.

Obrafour, who specialises in Ghanaian hiplife – a style of hip hop that is predominantly spoken in Akan languages – has seen success throughout Africa since his debut album ‘Pae Mu Ka’ in 1999.

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“The copying of the Sampled Phrase in the Infringing Work is so direct in nature that the audio of the Sampled Phrase heard in the Infringing Work contains little or no audible manipulation, processing, or other alteration to its original character as heard in the Copyrighted Work,” Obrafour’s lawsuit alleges.

“This lack of audible alteration to the audio of the Sampled Phrase heard in the Infringing Work is notable to the extent that it is generally atypical for a song to sample audio from another song without at least some audible manipulation, processing, or other alteration to the basic character, speed, and/or pitch of the sampled audio.”

Check out Drake’s ‘Calling My Name’ and Obrafour’s ‘One Ohene (remix)’ ft Tinny below.

Mixmag has contacted representatives of Drake and Republic Records for comment.

Megan Townsend is Mixmag’s Deputy Editor, follow her on Twitter

Written by: Tim Hopkins

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