Drake is being sued by veteran Ghanaian artist Obrafour for illegally sampling his vocals on “Calling My Name.”
As reported by Music Business Worldwide, the lawsuit filed Tuesday (April 18) with the US District Court for the southern district of New York, alleges that Drake, without authorization used vocals from a remix of Obrafour’s 2003 track Oye Ohene on his 2022 track Calling My Name.
Obrafour’s legal team claims a woman that clears rights for Drake reached out to Obrafour via email on June 8 seeking for clearance to use the sample. When he failed to get back to them, they sent a follow-up email on June 13 asking for confirmation from the artist’s team that they received the request.
The lawsuit states Obrafour hadn’t yet responded to these emails when Drake released “Calling My Name” on June 17.
“Quite frankly, it’s insulting to an artist who is a musician of some popularity, especially in their home country, who takes pride in the creative work that they have put together,” Imran H. Ansari, a legal representative for Obrafour tells the Daily Mail. “Only to find out that it’s just disregarded in the sense that Drake samples from his work without permission. The emails are indicative that he knew he needed to do so. And he didn’t do so.”
Drake’s team has not publicly reacted to the lawsuit, but the musician’s court documents acknowledged that his label OVO Sound, Republic Records, and Universal Music Group failed to get proper clearance before including the song on his seventh studio album Honestly Nevermind.
Obrafour, whose real name is Michael Eliot Kwabena Okyere Darko is seeking a minimum of $10 million in damages, citing ‘all profits and damages in the following categories attributable to the infringement’ including album sales, downloads, sponsorships, digital revenue, and concerts that Drake performed following the release of the song.
Also named in the lawsuit are music producer Alex Lustig; DJ Diamante Blackmon (current stage name GORDO, formerly Carnage); songwriter and producer Johannes Klahr; and musician Beau Nox, all of whom are listed as producers or writers on Calling My Name.
This is not the first lawsuit Drake is facing over his recordings. Last year, Angelou Skywalker, whose real name is Micheldeangelou Perfvwaybelayou unsuccessfully sued the Canadian, 36, for copyright infringement claiming that Drake’s “Way 2 Sexy” from his sixth studio album Certified Lover Boy stole the elements of his song “Reach for Skies”.
The court later threw out the lawsuit after determining that “Way 2 Sexy,” which featured Future and Young Thug did not share enough elements with “Reach For Skies” to justify a copyright violation.
“The court finds that while Plaintiff does allege ownership of a valid copyright, he does not allege facts to show Defendants’ access to Plaintiff’s song nor substantial similarity,” read a ruling by Judge Kollar-Kotelly.