Jamaican singer Shenseea and her label Interscope/Universal Music Group (UMG) have asked a New York judge for more time to try to resolve producer Anastas ‘Pupa Nas-T’ Hackett’s lawsuit outside of court, DancehallMag has learned.
In a letter to the court dated September 29, Adam I. Rich of the law firm David Wright Tremaine LLP, which represents Shenseea and UMG in the matter, told Judge Mary Kay Vyskocil that Pupa Nas-T has consented to their request that the Court “extend the deadline” for them to answer the lawsuit.
Rich specifically asked the judge to give his clients an extension of 14 days, from October 3, 2022, to October 17, 2022.
“The parties are working diligently to resolve [Pupa Nas-T’s] claims without the need for further judicial intervention, and are hopeful that the requested extension will help facilitate those discussions,” the lawyer told the judge.
In the lawsuit, filed in March 2022, Pupa Nas-T had demanded over $10 million USD in damages after he was allegedly not paid an agreed $5,000 fee for a sample, which was used in Shenseea’s song Lick with rapper Megan Thee Stallion.
The song, which appeared on Shenseea’s debut album Alpha, had sampled elements from the 2002 remix of Denise ‘Saucey Wow’ Belfon’s Work. The remix was done by the production duo Masters At Work (‘Little’ Louie Vega and Kenny ‘Dope’ Gonzalez), after they obtained a license from Pupa Nas-T, who had produced and co-wrote the original song in 1999.
Court records seen by DancehallMag show that Interscope had contracted DMG Clearances, Inc, in September 2021 to do the leg work of clearing the sample with Pupa Nas-T.
According to an email sent to DMG later that month, the New York-based producer—through his music publisher ATAL Music Limited and their rep Alexandre Escolier—initially agreed that he would approve the sample if he were paid a $5,000 USD advance, 3% royalty on wholesale sales (PPD), and 15% royalty on Shenseea’s net streaming on the song.
However, DMG only sent the final written agreement to Escolier, for Nas-T’s signature, on February 2, 2022, 12 days after Lick was already released on streaming platforms on January 21, 2022.
By then, Pupa Nas-T had ‘fired’ Escolier from representing his music catalog and his production company after he learned of the song’s release from “colleagues who…had reached out to congratulate” him.
According to Nas-T’s lawyer, the agreement was never signed and executed, and Lick was released without the producer’s consent and without the $5,000 advance being paid to him.
The lawsuit had demanded, among other things, that Nas-T be awarded copyright infringement damages in the amount of $150,000; wilful infringement damages in excess of $10,000,000; and actual damages and profits from 43 sources including sales, ringtones, streaming, endorsements, and touring.
Shenseea, 25, had signed to Interscope Records in 2019, a joint venture with Rvssian’s Rich Immigrants. UMG (formerly MCA) currently owns the majority interest in Interscope.
Lick is Shenseea’s highest-charting song in the United States, as a lead artist. It peaked at No. 20 on the Billboard Bubbling Under Hot 100 chart.