Nicki Minaj‘s “Starships” was a hugely successful cash-in on all of pop’s biggest fads in 2012: it had the bludgeoning fun-at-all-costs busyness of LMFAO/Black Eyed Peas, wubby brostep breakdowns, some ascendant EDM synths, a vaguely uplifting chorus and cartoonish rapping. But one source of that earworm’s massive pastiche may have been plagiarized, according to a new lawsuit.
The Chicago Tribune reports that reclusive electronic artist Clive Tanaka is suing Minaj, RedOne, Carl Falk, Wayne Hector and Rami Yacoub for copyright infringement, saying the songwriting/production team lifted the melody from his 2011 track “Neu Chicago.” The lawsuit alleges Tanaka’s song had plenty of exposure before “Starships” was created, appearing on radio in the US and in ad campaigns in Sweden.
The Sweden angle is interesting, since it’s where Minaj’s four “Starships” collaborators are based. “They had a very good opportunity to hear it,” Tanaka’s attorney said of “Neu Chicago.” Head below to hear the songs side-by-side.
There’s certainly a similarity between the “Starships” melody and the “Neu Chicago” synth/steel drum motif. What do you think? Let us know in the comments.