Poor Rick Ross. This week, somebody filled one of his cars with bullet holes, and now a pair of songwriters are taking aim at his wallet.
Ross, Jay-Z, Dr. Dre, producer Jake One, and Universal Music Group (the company that houses Ross’ label) have all collectively been sued by Clara Shepherd Warrick and Jimmy Lee Weary, the pair of songwriters responsible for 1976’s “I’m So Grateful (Keep In Touch).” Why would they file such a suit? Because according to papers filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, the parties responsible for the God Forgives, I Don’t single “3 Kings” did not properly clear the sample of “I’m So Grateful (Keep In Touch)” around which that song is built. Weary is credited as a co-writer, but the pair says they have not been properly compensated nor did they grant permission for the sample’s use.
Not only do the pair object to the use of their sample, but also to the context in which it was presented. “The video [for ‘3 Kings’] includes very graphic depictions of drug use, vulgarity, nudity, gun violence, criminal conduct, actions demeaning to women, and many other items that are certainly inconsistent with Plaintiffs’ wishes for how Plaintiffs’ song would be portrayed,” the lawsuit said.
The suit is well-timed for maximum exposure, as Ross’ God Forgives, I Don’t is up for Best Rap Album at this Sunday’s Grammy Awards. Jay-Z is also among the most-honored artists, with six nominations.
Give a listen to “3 Kings” and “I’m So Grateful (Keep In Touch)” below. It’s pretty clear the sample is there (no one seems to be denying this), and it’s doubly strange that Weary received a writing credit but apparently no compensation (and Warrick got no notice at all).