DaBaby has been hit with a lawsuit over his Roddy Ricch-assisted single “Rockstar” by a Florida-based producer who claims the song’s beat was stolen.
Rolling Stone reports producer JuJu Beatz filed the suit on Friday (December 9), naming both DaBaby and Roddy, the song’s listed producer Sethinthekitchen (born Ross Portaro), and Interscope Records A&R Caroline Diaz as codefendants. Publishing company Warner Chappell Music, Interscope’s parent company Universal Music Group and DaBaby’s publishing company, Project Dreams Entertainment have also been named in the complaint.
JuJu Beatz claims the parties stole the beat to his song “Selena” when he sent it to Diaz for DaBaby in 2019, then released their own single the following year, cutting him out of the creative process.
“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 continues: “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.”
In a statement to Rolling Stone, JuJu Beatz’ attorney said the scenario is one that often happens in his client’s line of work.
“It is unfortunate that these types of situations occur almost daily within the music industry,” they said. “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.
“It is too easy for the labels and mainstream artists and producers to cut out the ones who really matter the most,” the attorney’s statement continued. 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.”
JuJu Beatz is requesting statutory damages of $150,000 per infringement.
“Rockstar” spent seven non-consecutive weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100 in 2020, making for DaBaby’s first No. 1 and Roddy’s second. It was an international hit as well, spending six weeks at No. 1 in both Australia and the UK, and eight weeks on top of the Irish chart.
The song also secured three Grammy nominations – though it didn’t win any – and has since been certified 5x platinum by the RIAA.
The suit comes amid a rough year for the North Carolina rapper, who’s seen low album sales and seemingly low show attendance – though he disputes the latter. Baby On Baby 2’s first-week sales of 16,000 album-equivalent units didn’t even make the Top 20 on the Billboard 200, which paled in comparison to his prior release, 2020’s Blame It On Baby.
The album, on which “Rockstar” was featured, debuted at No. 1 with 124,000 album-equivalent units.