Rita Ora, Biggie Smalls Estate And More Sued For Allegedly Stealing “Party And Bullsh*t” Lyrics
Rita Ora, the estate of the Notorious B.I.G., and several more players in hip hop are being sued for $24 million for allegedly stealing lyrics by musician and poet Abiodun Oyewole, and not compensating him for his copyrighted work. The suit, which was obtained by Gossip Cop, was filed in federal court in New York on Monday.
In his lawsuit, Oyewole claims Biggie Smalls infringed on his “copyrighted lyrics” when he released the 1993 single, “Party and Bullsh*t.” Oyewole maintains in his court filing that he “coined” the phrase “party and bullsh*t” when he and his spoken-word group The Last Poets recorded those lyrics for the hook of their 1970 song, “When the Revolution Comes.” Since then, alleges Oyewole, several other artists, including Ora, have “unlawfully used” and sampled the copyrighted phrase “without [his] consent or authorization.”
Among the allegations in Oyewole’s copyright infringement suit is that Biggie Smalls’ estate wrongfully licensed “Party and Bullsh*t” to Ora for her 2012 single, “How We Do (Party).” “The Defendants did not credit Plaintiff nor secure permission… to sell Plaintiff’s hook, copyrighted lyrics and recordings,” reads Oyewole’s complaint. As a result, in addition to suing Smalls and Ora, he’s also suing Jay Z’s Roc Nation and Diddy’s Justin Combs Company, which produced her song.
But they’re not the only ones caught in Oyewole’s crosshairs. He’s also named Eminem and Busta Rhymes as co-defendant for sampling Smalls’ “Party and Bullsh*t” in their 2014 collaboration “Calm Down.” Oyewole notes in his lawsuit that because of widespread alleged copyright infringement he has “sustained and continues to sustain damages,” as well as “suffered and continues to suffer irreparable injury.”
The Plaintiff explains the reason he didn’t sue earlier is that Biggie Smalls suddenly died, and afterwards he saw “no reason to hassle [Biggie Smalls’] widow or mother following the loss of their loved one.” It was only after Ora took his hook, and credited only Smalls, did he decide to finally pursue litigation. Oyewole alleges in 2013 the defendants were notified of the alleged copyright infringement and, despite attempts, they continue to “fail and refuse” to pay him for the use of his phrase “party and bullsh*t.”
In addition to the defendants “knowingly us[ing] the words without permission,” Oyewole is further galled because when he wrote “When the Revolution Comes,” he says it had the “sole purpose of challenging and encouraging people to NOT party, but to move towards success.” The subsequent alleged infringements of the phrase “party and bullsh*t” have since been used “in contravention of the original purpose,” notes Oyewole, who calls himself a hip hop “pioneer” in his court papers.
Oyewole estimates his damages and losses to be in excess of $24 million, which includes money from unpaid royalties. He’s also seeking an injunction so that the many defendants, including Biggie Smalls’ estate and Ora, cease using his copyrighted material.