Legendary Ghanaian rapper Obrafour is suing popular Canadian rapper Drake for sampling his 2003 remix of ‘Oye Ohene’ on his song ‘Calling My Name’ off the Honestly Nevermind album. In the documents presented to a court in New York, Obrafour stated that Drake infringed on his copyright when he sampled his song without permission.
“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,” parts of the document read. The Ghanaian rapper indicated that Drake and other defendants following the release of ‘Calling My Name’ has greatly benefited from his work.
“To date, over the mere 304 days that have elapsed since the Infringing Work was released, the Infringing Work has already been streamed over 4.1 million times on YouTube, streamed over 47,442,160 times on Spotify, and streamed tens of millions of times on Apple Music.”
“In addition to generating enormous sums of global streams and sales across numerous platforms, the Infringing Work has also been exploited by the Defendants via other means, including live performance.” Among others, Obrafour is seeking damages in an amount not less than $10,000,000.
He is also seeking an injunction requiring the “defendants and their agents, employees, officers, attorneys, successors, licensees, partners, and assigns, and all persons acting in concert or participation with each or any one of them, to cease directly and indirectly infringing, and causing, enabling, facilitating, encouraging, promoting, inducing, and/or participating in the infringement of any of Obrafour’s rights protected by the Copyright Act.” Meanwhile, other defendants in the suit include writers, producers, performers, record labels, entertainment companies, publishers, managers, administrators, and/or distributors of the infringing work.
In June 2022, Canadian rapper, Drake surprised his fans with ‘Honestly, Nevermind’ but for Ghanaians, it was a double surprise. On Track 6, ‘Calling My Name’, Drake sampled a beloved popular song from one of Ghana’s best musicians alive, Obrafour.
The sample is found at 0:53 seconds of the Drake tune, where it transitions into a house music vibe sending the song into a different type of ambiance compared to its initial trajectory. “Killa cut!” is the chant heard multiple times. That part was sung by Mantse Aryeequaye as an opener to the late 2003 remix of ‘Oye Ohene’ off the Ntete Pa album.