DaBaby is being sued by a Florida producer who claims the rapper used his musical composition “Selena” to create his megahit “Rockstar.”
In the complaint obtained by Rolling Stone, which was filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida on Friday, Craig Mims, who performs as JuJu Beatz, names “Rockstar” writers DaBaby (real name Jonathan Lyndale Kirk), collaborator Roddy Ricch (given name Rodrick Wayne Moore), and producer Sethinthekitchen (legal name Ross Joseph Potaro). Defendants also include Caroline Diaz, Warner Chappell, Universal Music Group, and DaBaby’s publishing company Project Dreams Entertainment.
According to the suit, Mims began communicating with the Vice President of Interscope Records Caroline Diaz, also known as Baroline Diaz, in 2019 about his music career. That same year, he also began speaking with representatives of DaBaby.
“Plaintiff provided his musical composition known as Selena to Defendants in 2019, who then used Selena to create a sound recording entitled ‘Rockstar,’” the complaint states. “Defendant Diaz and DaBaby’s representative accessed Plaintiff’s Selena on more than 40 occasions in late 2019 and early 2020.”
It adds: “On, or around April of 2020, Defendants DaBaby, Roddy Ricch, and Portaro released, through the other named Defendants, a sound recording titled ‘Rockstar’ that included many compositional elements from Plaintiff’s Selena composition.”
Mims claims he has never received any compensation for their “unauthorized” use of “Selena” and that he made “numerous attempts” to resolve the matter without litigation, “but such efforts were unsuccessful due to Defendants’ unwillingness to cooperate or accept responsibility for blatant and willful copyright infringement,” per the complaint.
Reps for DaBaby, Ricch, Sethinthekitchen, Diaz, Warner Chappell, and Universal Music Group did not immediately return Rolling Stone’s requests for comment.
“It is unfortunate that these types of situations occur almost daily within the music industry. The unequal balance of power and money in the industry is sometimes used to silence the real individuals who truly deserve a piece of the action and money,” Bradley Eiseman, Mims’ attorney, tells Rolling Stone. “It is too easy for the labels and mainstream artists and producers to cut out the ones who really matter the most. It is disheartening because there is enough money in the industry to change everyone’s lives but the money usually ends up in the hands of the few.”
Mims seeks the maximum statutory damages of $150,000 per infringement — which could total into the millions given how popular the song was — alongside attorney’s fees and any other relief the court determines.