Ghanaian rapper Obrafour performing.
Photo credit: Obrafour's Instagram page.

Ghana’s Obrafour Sues Drake For $10 Million. Here’s What Happened

Ghanaian rapper Obrafour is suing Drake for allegedly using a sample of his voice on the album Honestly Never Mind without prior authorization.

Ghanaian hiplife icon Obrafour is suing Drake for $10 million in damages for using a sample from his 2003 song "Oye Ohene" without proper authorization. According to Obrafour, Drake sampled his work for his song "Calling My Name," which is off of his seventh studio album Honestly, Nevermind . The Canadian superstar’s album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 and spent 43 weeks on the chart.

The clip in question features the vocal phrase, "Killer cut, blood, killer cut," which was allegedly lifted directly from the Ghanaian artist’s song “Oye Ohene.” Obrafour also claims to have clear evidence of wrongdoing in the form of an email from a representative at Republic Records seeking to clear the sample. According to the lawsuit, the email, dated June 8, 2022, allegedly admitted that Drake had already "used samples from the above-referenced song" and wanted permission to release it. However, Drake's album was released nine days later, before Obrafour could respond to the email.

Furthermore, the lawsuit accuses Drake of "continuing to engage in infringement, despite acknowledging that they needed to secure rights and authorization from Obrafour" and claims that neither he [Drake] nor Republic Records has ever "accounted to, credited, or otherwise compensated" Obrafour for the unlicensed use of his work.

This is not the first time that an African artist has accused an American music artist of copyright infringement. Earlier in February, Nigerian Afrobeats artist and music exec Mr. Eazi called out Puerto Rican singer Bad Bunny for the same grievance. In his tweet, Mr. Eazi stated that Bad Bunny had used an uncredited interpolation of "Empty My Pocket" by Joeboy and Dëra—who are signed to his emPawa Africa record label — on the song "Enséñame a Bailar." The music industry is no stranger to copyright disputes, with many cases being settled out of court. However, the issue of unlicensed sampling is particularly contentious. So far, reps for Drake and Republic Records have not yet commented on the lawsuit.

Listen for yourself below. The sample appears at the 54-second mark in Drake’s “Calling My Name.”

Drake - Calling My Name (Official Audio)

Oye Ohene feat. Tinny