Nicki Minaj is facing a $240 million lawsuit for allegedly stealing her 2018 “Rich Sex” track – and allegedly failing to pay an agreed upon 15 percent of the royalties associated with “I Endorse These Strippers” – from a rapper named Brinx Billions.
Brinx Billions, whose full name is Jawara Headley, submitted the nearly 100-page-long complaint to a New York federal court on December 31st, and Digital Music News obtained an exclusive copy of the corresponding filing. Aside from Nicki Minaj herself, Universal Music Group, Republic Records, Young Money Entertainment, Cash Money Records, and Minaj’s Tokyo Ninja label are named as defendants.
According to the suit’s text, Brinx Billions is the “sole author/creator/composer/writer/producer” of “Rich Sex” – though Nicki Minaj, Lil Wayne, engineer Aubry “Big Juice” Delaine, and composer Jeremy Reid are officially credited as co-songwriters. Additionally, Big Juice and Reid received producer credits on the roughly three-minute work, which is part of Minaj’s fourth studio album, Queen.
Despite being released in 2018, once again, “Rich Sex” was crafted by Brinx Billions “in or about the year 2016 and/or earlier,” per the verbose legal text. (The corresponding copyright registration, number PA0002241281, is dated March 31st, 2020, with 2016 cited as the date of creation and March 23rd, 2016, noted as the date of publication.)
Jawara Headley – who used to live in Queens, where the Trinidad and Tobago native Nicki Minaj moved when she was five years old – met Minaj on MySpace “in or around the year 2007,” the document relays. The two purportedly bonded due to their close proximity and shared interest in rap. Then, nine years thereafter, Brinx Billions allowed Minaj to listen to his own take on “Rich Sex,” which “he wrote and produced for himself and for his own album,” the filing maintains.
Headley did not, however, give the “Super Bass” artist or the other defendants permission to use or recreate the track commercially, the text indicates. Nevertheless, Minaj released the work – which the plaintiff says consists of “NINETY-FIVE TO NINETY-NINE PERCENT (95-99%)” of his own “Rich Sex” effort – as a single in June of 2018. The song has proven commercially successful, the suit proceeds, and has allegedly contributed to the career accomplishments (in terms of album sales, touring revenue, and more) of Nicki Minaj.
On page 60 or so, the document broaches the alleged “I Endorse These Strippers” royalty payments that Minaj (via Tokyo Ninja) and Brinx Billions agreed upon – specifically, 15 percent “of/from any and all revenues generated in any and all forms from” the song. (Headley appeared in the 2012 track and received one of several writing credits.)
According to the suit, despite meeting his obligations for “the writing, musical composing, producing, and/or otherwise creating a master recording/song” called “I Endorse These Strippers,” the plaintiff ceased receiving payments in about 2017.
Minaj allegedly acknowledged the debt – to be paid to Brinx Billions “in the future” – that same year, but didn’t follow through with the payments. Headley is seeking $200 million in damages from all the defendants as well as $10 million from Minaj/Tokyo Ninja on four counts (breach of contract, fraud, conversion, and misappropriation), for $40 million from the latter two parties and a total of $240 million from all involved defendants.
At the time of this piece’s writing, Nicki Minaj hadn’t commented publicly on the lawsuit that Brinx Billions levied. In September of last year, a federal judge determined that Minaj’s “Sorry” track – which sampled “Baby Can I Hold You” by Tracy Chapman and was initially set to appear on Queen – could be protected by fair use.