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Drake Sued For $10 Million By African Singer Over Alleged Uncleared ‘Honestly, Nevermind’ Sample

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Apr. 19 2023, Published 12:55 p.m. ET

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Drake has been hit with a federal lawsuit accusing him of using a sample of an African artist’s without permission – and now the singer wants $10 million in damages, RadarOnline.com has learned.

According to court documents obtained by RadarOnline.com, a musician named Michael Darko aka Obrafour filed a federal lawsuit against Drake, Warner Music Group, Universal Music Publishing and various other defendants.

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Obrafour describes himself as a musician, singer, vocalist, producer, and entertainer from Ghana. He said he’s been performing to widespread public acclaim since 1999.

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He said he is “widely recognized and celebrated in his home nation of Ghana, and internationally, as one of the pioneers of Ghanian hip-hop music and culture. To that end, Obrafour is amongst the most globally recognizable musicians associated with hiplife, which is a Ghanian musical genre that fuses hip-hop with elements of Ghanian culture and is appreciated by musical audiences not only in West Africa, but worldwide.”

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In the suit, Obrafour claimed that Drake used a sample of his track Oye Oheme (remix) without permission in his 2022 song Calling My Name.

His lawsuit read, “Defendants released the Infringing Work on June 17, 2022, despite the fact that an agent of one or more Defendants had previously contacted Obrafour seeking to obtain Obrafour’s permission for the use of the Copyrighted Work in the Infringing Work. Obrafour never granted Defendants permission to use the Copyrighted Work and the Infringing Work was released mere days later.”

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The musician said a woman named Deborah Mannis-Gardner reached out to him in June 2022 about Drake sampling his work. He said he had yet to respond to the email when weeks later Drake released his album Honestly, Nevermind.

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“Obrafour had not yet responded to the June 8, 2022 Clearance Email or the follow-up June 13, 2022 Clearance Email at the point when Drake’s “Honestly, Nevermind” album was released on June 17, 2022. Nonetheless, the Infringing Work is one of the songs appearing on the “Honestly, Nevermind” album, as released to the world by ‘surprise’ on June 17, 2022,” the suit read.

“The Infringing Work appears on “Honestly, Nevermind” as the song entitled “Calling My Name,” which prominently features an audio phrase taken directly from the sound recording of the Copyrighted Work,” the musician explained.

Obrafour has demanded $10 million in damages from the defendants.

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