Hip-Hop producer and music mogul Andre “Dr. Dre” Young, one of the world’s richest rappers with an estimated net worth of $400 million as of October 2022, according to USA Today, is being sued by another music maker. This producer, who once worked with Dr. Dre, claims he stole his beats for one of Kendrick Lamar’s biggest hits.
Beatmaker Micah Foster states in his complaint Dre used a sample from his song “The Don Big Boss Whistle 2013 (‘Boss 2013’),” which debuted on SoundCloud 10 years ago, without permission. As the producer of the compilation, Foster alleges he owns the publishing on the song, according to The Blast, and has grounds to sue.
According to the lawsuit, the “Chronic” chart-topper illegally swiped a sample from the song and used it in the 2022 production of “The Heart Part 5 (‘Heart 5’).”
‘Heart 5′ Was a Huge Success for Dre
Dre is credited as producing all of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Kendrick Lamar’s “Mr. Morale & The High Steppers.”
The song “Heart 5,” a touching tribute to Nipsey Hussle, received critical acclaim and won two Grammys in 2023 for “Best Rap Song” and “Best Rap Performance.” Pitchfork even commented on the production in its track review of the song when it first dropped, celebrating elements of Foster’s pianos as much as it lifts the Marvin Gaye “I Want You” sample.
Eminem, a Dr. Dre protégé and considered one of the biggest-selling rappers of all time, heard the project and said he was “speechless.”
The lawsuit alleges Foster was not able to participate in any of this success.
No Samples Cleared, No Royalties Earned
Foster names both the Grammy Award-winning producer and his company Aftermath in the copyright infringement lawsuit, as he says neither party asked for permission to use the sample. He is seeking over $100,000 in unpaid damages and royalties from Dre, who is credited as the producer.
Outside of permission and compensation for the use of the sample, lawyers for Foster also say neither Dr. Dre nor anyone from his camp has provided any accounting for the success of the song.
Other Dr. Dre/Aftermath Lawsuits
This is not the first time Dr. Dre has been sued for using beats that he did not make for work for a mega artist.
In 2016, he was sued by producer Brandon Parrott for the same issue of uncredited use of music. The producer claimed he made the beat for the song “P.I.M.P.” from 50 Cent’s 2003 album “Get Rich Or Die Tryin’.”
Parrott said in 2001 he sent to Dr. Dre’s Aftermath Entertainment office a total of 10 instrumental tracks for his review. Included in the lot was a song titled “BAMBA,” which was used for the 50 Cent song.
The person listed on the song as the sole producer, Denaun Porter, told Parrott that his not being credited on the song was a mistake. Parrott settled his original claim with the hitmakers, according to TMZ.
However, a decade later, he filed another official complaint after hearing interviews that suggested he was being handled by the music executives. In this lawsuit, the producer named Porter, attorney Zach Katz, UMG Recordings, Interscope, Aftermath Records, Shady Records and EMI Music Publishing as defendants.
The Hollywood Reporter reported the labels countered, arguing that Parrott had already settled, receiving shared ownership credit and royalties from the chart-topping hit. U.S. District Judge S. James Otero dismissed the lawsuit, calling the claim “flawed.”
As for Foster’s claims, Dr. Dre has not released a statement.