Drake Facing Refiled Copyright Lawsuit over ‘In My Feelings’ & ‘Nice For What’
This is the third attempt by the accuser to sue Drake over the smash hits - but the producer behind the songs tells us his claims remain false.
The lawsuit is a continuation of a previous, twice-failed lawsuit that claims two of Drake's biggest hits in 2018 - "In My Feelings" and "Nice For What" - sampled an instrumental beat from a New Orleans artist.
Samuel Nicholas claimed in a complaint filed Wednesday in Louisiana federal court that Drake had copied his 2000 track "Roll Call (Instrumental)" for the "bouncy" sound used in the two songs. Nicholas has made the same accusations twice in the past, but they were dismissed because he did not try the cases.
As in the previous lawsuit, the new lawsuit claims that Nick's copyrighted song was sampled and added to Drake's songs by producer BlaqNmilD - as well as to several other bounce songs he's produced for other artists.
BlaqNmilD - real name Adam J. Pigott - told Billboard that there was a far less nefarious explanation than infringement. Instead of copying "Roll Call," the producer's representatives said that both Pigott and Nicholas had sampled the same, much earlier song by Queens hip hop duo The Showboys, a sample frequently used in bounce music.
“It is this song, ‘Drag Rap (Triggerman),’ that Adam had indeed sampled for the compositions in question,” said Craig E. Baylis, BlaqNmilD’s manager. “The Showboys will attest that Adam ensured that they were contacted for all proper clearances. Our question is, has the plaintiff done the same?”
Nicholas' lawyer, Mark Edward Andrews, did not respond to a request for comment on the lawsuit, including why Drake's cases have been repeatedly dropped and refiled.
Drake's fifth studio album, Scorpion, featured the singles "In My Feelings" and "Nice For What," each topping the Billboard Hot 100 for more than eight weeks. Both tracks were accompanied by star-studded videos featuring Olivia Wilde, Issa Rae, Will Smith, DJ Khaled, Rashida Jones, Odell Beckham Jr., Dua Lipa, and more.
According to Nicholas, videos on YouTube and a reality television show in which BlaqNmilD explained his process provide him with direct evidence BlaqNmilD's song was used. According to the lawsuit, the producer gave an interview to the website Genius in which he detailed how he added a specific "beat" to Drake's songs to incorporate "different bounce elements."
“The video interview reproduced an approximately 18 second sound clip of ‘that beat’ while displaying an audio spectrum of it, labeled ‘blaq _bouncebeat.wav’,” the lawsuit said. “When plaintiff Samuel Nicholas III became aware of that YouTube video months later, he recognized ‘that beat’ to be an unauthorized copy of his copyrighted work.”
Freddie Ross, Jr., a New Orleans rapper known as Big Freedia who allegedly worked with BlaqNmilD, was also named in the lawsuit along with several other entities involved in the two Drake songs.