GloRilla sued for alleged copyright infringement over sample used on ‘Tomorrow’

Picture credit: Paul Smith-Featureflash/Shutterstock
LOS ANGELES, CA. November 20, 2022: GloRilla at the 2022 American Music Awards at the Microsoft Theatre.

Yesterday (April 19), we reported that Drake is being sued for alleged copyright infringement by Ghanaian rapper Obrafour over a sample used in the track Calling My Name. Now, another hip-hop artist is facing a copyright suit of their own.

Rising rap star GloRilla has been sued in a Louisiana court for alleged copyright infringement on her hit tracks Tomorrow and Tomorrow 2, which feature Cardi B.

The lawsuit comes from Ivory Paynes, part of the 1990s New Orleans rap outfit Dog House Posse.

In a complaint filed Wednesday (April 19) in the US District Court for the eastern district of Louisiana, Paynes alleges that Tomorrow and Tomorrow 2 “misappropriates key protected elements” of Dog House Posse’s 1994 track Street of Westbank, which Paynes wrote.

The complaint alleges that GloRilla’s tracks used “unauthorized samples” from Street of Westbank and copied the  “musical arrangements, percussion tracks, synthesized orchestration, including … piano, cello, violin, contrabass, and drum set, and tone and melody”.

The complaint continues: “Moreover, Tomorrow and Tomorrow 2 mimic and copy the arrangement of Street of Westbank by the choice of the instrumentation accompanying the rap lyrics, the choice of when the instruments drop out and reenter and what instruments drop in and reenter.”

You can listen to Street of Westbank on Spotify here, and Tomorrow 2 here.

GloRilla, whose birth name is Gloria Woods, signed to Yo Gotti’s CMG Records in partnership with Interscope in 2022 and broke onto the scene with the track F.N.F. (Let’s Go). GloRilla was listed as one of Vevo’s DSCVR “artists to watch in 2023.”

Tomorrow 2 is her biggest single thus far, breaking into the Top 10 on the US Billboard 100 chart late last year. The track has been streamed over 89 million times on Spotify.

Paynes’ complaint doesn’t specify a dollar amount, but asks for payment of damages, profits from Tomorrow and Tomorrow 2, as well as Paynes’ costs in pursuing the lawsuit, including lawyers’ fees.

The lawsuit, obtained by MBW, and which you can read in full here, also names Antonio Anderson, a.k.a. Macaroni Toni, who is listed as the composer of Tomorrow, as well as Collective Music Group, Universal Music Group (UMG), Warner Chappell Music and others.

Copyright lawsuits have become commonplace in the music business in recent years.

In one recent high-profile case, rappers DaBaby and Roddy Ricch were hit with a copyright lawsuit last December over their 2020 hit Rockstar. That lawsuit came from producer JuJuBeatz, who alleged that Rockstar ripped off his track Selena.

In 2021, Donald Glover, aka Childish Gambino, was hit with an infringement suit over his hit track This Is America. Florida-based rapper Kidd Wes alleged that Glover borrowed elements of Kidd Wes’s Made In America for his own single, which won Song and Record of the Year at the 2019 Grammys.

Glover recently beat the lawsuit when a federal court judge in New York dismissed the case last month, on the grounds that, even though Kidd Wes’s track came out two years before Glover’s, he had failed to properly register his copyright on Made In America.

The judge also said the parts of Kidd Wes’ involved in the infringement claim were “insufficiently original” to justify an infringement claim.

In March 2022, pop star Dua Lipa was hit with two copyright suits over her 2020 hit song Levitating. In the first of these suits, filed in a California court, Florida reggae band Artikal Sound System alleged that Levitating infringed on their 2017 hit Live Your Life.

In the second suit, filed in a New York court, songwriters L. Russell Brown and Sandy Linzer asserted that Levitating copied their 1979 song Wiggle and Giggle All Night, as well as their 1980 song Don Diablo.Music Business Worldwide

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