50 Cent stole the opening line for his 2003 hit, “In Da Club,” from a song by former 2 Live Crew frontman Luther Campbell, an attorney claims in a lawsuit.
Richard C. Wolfe filed the copyright infringement lawsuit against Curtis James Jackson, aka 50 Cent, in Miami federal court last week on behalf of Lil’ Joe Wein Music.
The 29-year-old rapper only changed one word from the opening line of Campbell’s song from “It’s Your Birthday,” Wolfe said — after repeating the word “go” several times, “Sheila” becomes “shorty” in the line, “Go shorty, it’s your birthday.”
Campbell’s song appeared on his 1994 solo album, “Still a Freak for Life.”
“It’s the melody, it’s the pace, the style — everything about that one line is the same,” Wolfe said. “We’re entitled to a portion of the profits.”
50 Cent’s publicist, Dennis Dennehy, said he had no comment on the lawsuit. A message left Friday for Campbell was not immediately returned.
Lil’ Joe Wein Music holds the copyright to “It’s Your Birthday” and other songs Campbell produced with his rap group, 2 Live Crew, and as a solo artist. Lil’ Joe Wein Music is owned by Joseph Weinberger, a lawyer who formerly represented Campbell.
Campbell’s song “I Like It, I Love It” can also be heard on the 2003 DVD “50 Cent — The New Breed,” the lawsuit claims.
The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages in addition to lawyers’ fees and other legal costs.
Wolfe won a $2.3 million judgment against Campbell in 1994 for another rapper who claimed Campbell withheld royalties.