'Starships' Weren't Meant for Nicki Minaj, New Lawsuit Alleges

Clive Tanaka accuses rapper of stealing his "Neu Chicago" melody

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Dan Reilly WRITTEN BY
Dan Reilly

Nicki Minaj, Red One, and three other collaborators face allegations that they stole the melody for "Starships" from electronic artist Clive Tanaka. According to the Chicago Tribune, a new lawsuit claims that the quintet lifted elements of Tanaka's track "Neu Chicago," which appeared on his 2011 LP Jet Set Siempre 1° (Burger Records).

The lawsuit, filed Tuesday, September 10 in Chicago, claims that Tanaka's track already had hundreds of thousands of online views and plenty of radio plays before "Starships" was written in 2012. As of today, "Neu Chicago" exceeds 100,000 plays between YouTube and Vimeo. Tanaka's lawyer Christopher Niro says that "Neu Chicago" was used in commercial campaigns in Sweden, where Red One and the other three collaborators, Carl Falk, Wayne Hector, and Rami Yacoub, are based. "They had a very good opportunity to hear it," Niro is quoted as saying.

Tanaka, who Niro described as "reclusive," apparently saw the similiarities between "Starships" and "Neu Chicago" last year when he posted a mashup of the songs on Soundcloud. Minaj and the other writers have yet to comment.

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