Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion have won a court ruling tossing out a lawsuit that accused them of stealing the lyrics to their smash hits “WAP” and “Thot Shit” from an earlier track called “Grab Em by the P—-.”
In a decision issued Tuesday (Aug. 29), a Manhattan federal judge ruled that the lyrics Cardi and Megan were accused of copying in their songs — “p—- so wet” and “n—-s wild’n” — were simply too unoriginal to be covered by copyright law.
“The lyrics over which plaintiff asserts copyright protection are no more than common phrases, employed frequently in popular culture and other Hip-Hop songs,” U.S. District Judge Andrew L. Carter wrote.
“The concept of using ‘p—- so wet’ as a rhetorical device in a song is neither original nor unique to plaintiff,” the judge wrote. “Likewise, defendants have provided examples of at least three songs pre-dating [‘Grab Em’] which use some variation of the phrase ‘n—–s wild’n.’”
The ruling dismissed a lawsuit filed last year by Denise Jones, a rapper who performs under the name Necey X, against Cardi (Belcalis Marlenis Almanzar), Megan (Megan Pete) and Atlantic Records. Jones, who sued without the aid of a lawyer, claimed that the stars chose to “copy and paste” her lyrics into their songs.
But in Tuesday’s decision, Judge Carter said Jones not only lacked valid copyrights in those lyrics but that Cardi and Megan’s own words were not “substantially similar” to those in “Grab Em” — the key requirement for proving copyright infringement.
“Defendants’ lyric, ‘why you in the club with n—-s wild’n,’ poses a question to the rapper (or to the audience), while plaintiff’s lyric refers to the rapper’s effect on a single individual,” the judge wrote. “Thus, the phrase is used in different ways and has different meanings such that an ordinary listener would not identify defendants’ lyric as being appropriated from plaintiff’s song.”
The lawsuit also included additional claims beyond copyright law, including that Cardi and Megan had stalked and harassed Jones. But Judge Carter quickly dispatched those allegations as well.
“Plaintiff makes generalized allegations about fearing for her safety from alleged stalking and harassment by the ‘cartel’ that she equates to the music industry at large, but plaintiff neither identifies any negligent conduct on the part of defendants or any special duty to avoid causing emotional distress,” the judge wrote.
Jones did not return a request for comment on the ruling Friday.
Released in August 2020 by Cardi with guest vocals by Megan, “WAP” was a smash hit, spending four weeks atop the Hot 100. “Thot Shit,” released a year later by Megan, was partly inspired by the backlash that “WAP” had received from conservative critics; it reached No. 16 on the Hot 100.
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