Rapper Lil’ Kim has become embroiled in another lawsuit shortly after being released from prison.
In the suit, filed last week in Manhattan federal court, Tanya Stephens, a popular Jamaican reggae singer/songwriter, accuses the rapper (born
Kimberly Jones) of stealing her lyrics for use on Lil’ Kim’s 2005 album The Naked Truth.
The suit springs from a 1999 meeting between Stephens and Lil’ Kim, who flew the singer out to New York to sing on one of her albums.
Lil’ Kim, who admitted to owning several of Stephens’ albums, later sang the song
she’s accused of stealing lyrics from, “Mi and Mi God,” according to the suit, which stated the rapper belted the tune as a way of showing
Stephens what a big fan of hers she was.
The track was originally recorded in Jamaica and released in 1997, Stephens representatives said.
Although recorded the song with Lil’ Kim, her vocals never made the album.
Stephens and her representatives from the Royalty Network were surprised upon listening to the song “Durty” off The Naked Truth.
According to the lawsuit, the song’s lyrics match almost word for word with “Mi and Mi God,” said the representatives.
The suit further stated that Jones sang the tune with a West Indian accent.
Stephens believes the lyrics are so similar that she should own the song and receive all past and future royalties.
“The lawsuit against Atlantic Records and Lil’ Kim is the result of Royalty Networks Inc’s failed attempts to extract unreasonable sums and
percentages of Lil’ Kim’s new song for an interpolated use of a song which happens all the time in Hip-Hop,” said Lil’ Kim’s attorney L.
Londell McMillan, who vowed to fight the accusations.
“There are no damages to Tanya Stephens, they never objected until after their efforts failed, and Kim was and remains willing to be fair. This matter should have been resolved but it appears to be another money and media play at Lil’ Kim’s expense. This issue was no secret. Kim was advised licenses
were obtained by those who handle clearances at the time. We shall defend this action.”
Established in 1993, the Royalty Network works to help educate artists, songwriters and producers about music publishing, copyright ownership
and the inside operations of the business.
Its clientele includes Hip-Hop, R&B and reggae. songwriters, producers and artists.
Stephens is preparing her sixth album, Rebelution, Tuesday on VP Records.
Her current single, “These Streets” was number three in Jamaica last week.
The singer, whose style is a mixture of reggae, dance hall and R&B, is scheduled to take part in the West Indian Parade on Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn over Labor Day weekend.
The lawsuit follows Lil’ Kim’s July 3 release from federal prison in Philadelphia.
The Brooklyn rapper, who completed house arrest on Aug. 3, served 10 months for lying to a grand jury about a shooting that erupted outside New York’s Hot 97 radio station.