Gospel Group Sues Rick Ross, Jay Z, and Dr. Dre for Unholy Infringement

Crowns of Glory charge that '3 Kings' knowingly samples their 1976 song

Rick Ross Jay Z Dr. Dre 3 Kings Lawsuit Gospel Copyright
Jay Z: these lawyers can't hold me back Photo by Getty Images
Chris Martins WRITTEN BY
Chris Martins

Another day, another lawsuit involving Rick Ross. He's been taken to task for allegedly forgetting to pay his Rolex bill and pulling out of concerts abroad. Now members of the gospel group Crowns of Glory are claiming that he and his "3 Kings" cohorts — Jay Z, Dr. Dre, Jake One, and Universal Music — willfully infringed upon their copyright by sampling a 1976 song called "I'm so Grateful (Keep in Touch)" for that particular God Forgive, I Don't single.

Plaintiffs Clara Shepherd Warrick (lyrics) and Jimmy Lee Weary (music) are suing for copyright infringement, unfair competition, and breach of fiduciary duty, adding that the success of "3 Kings" continues to "destroy the commercial value of the song in gospel circles" as well as the original's "overall integrity and longevity." They cite emails circulated between the defendants acknowledging their song's use, and say they were never contacted for clearance.

The exact damages remain to be calculated, but that section of the document obtained by SPIN is particularly long. Warrick and Weary clearly take offense at the content of Ross and company's song, and also point out that the video, which has topped 4 million views, contains "vulgarity, nudity, gun violence, criminal conduct, actions demeaning to women and many other items that are certainly inconsistent" with the original's pious intent.

More on that front:

Defendants hijacked music and lyrics that were written by Plaintiffs to be performed only as spiritually uplifting gospel music and have laced Plaintiffs' gospel work with unsavory language such as "[i]f you real motherf***er scream cheers," "[i]f the b**ch bad I got her in red bottoms," "I only love her when that a** fat," "[c]ome and suck a d**k for a millionaire," "Ni**as couldn’t f**k with my daughter’s room," "I whip the coke [cocaine], let the lawyer beat the case," and "spray these ni**as baby just like daddy taught ya."

"3 Kings," by Rick Ross with Dr. Dre, Jay Z, and Jake One:

Play

"I'm so Grateful (Keep in Touch)" by Crowns of Glory:

Play

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