Is "Starships" A Ripoff? Nicki Minaj Sued By Mystery Artist

Nicki Minaj may have had a blast performing at Alexander Wang's after-party last weekend, but we can't begin to imagine her mood today. We've just learned that she and producer RedOne are being sued by artist Clive Tanaka for copyright infringement, for perceived similarities between her 2012 hit "Starships" and his 2011 track "Neu Chicago." Tanaka filed the suit yesterday at the U.S. District Court in Chicago, which includes "Starships" co-writers Carl Falk, Wayne Hector, and Rami Yacoub. Though the musician's origins are a mystery (there's ongoing debate regarding whether he lives in Japan or Chicago), "Neu Chicago" enjoyed some ad exposure in Sweden and has over 100,000 YouTube views, making it not entirely obscure. RedOne lives in Stockholm and likely encountered the track at some point. Accidental homage or something more suspicious? Not surprisingly, neither Minaj nor RedOne are commenting right now. For context, note that this isn't RedOne's first brush with plagiarism controversy. After all, he produced "Born This Way," the Lady Gaga track that channeled "Express Yourself" closely enough to make Madonna emblazon the world "reductive" into our brains.
Below, you can check out "Neu Starships?," a "mash-up" Tanaka posted to his Soundcloud last year to highlight the similarities between the two songs. His track is in the left channel, Minaj's on the right. Amazingly, it's not even remixed; the songs "just happen" to sync up that well. [Pitchfork]
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