Jay Z Testifies In Copyright Trial
Jay Z called producer Timbaland a “genius” on Wednesday as he testified in a Los Angeles court during a long-running copyright battle over their 1999 hit “Big Pimpin’.” The musicians are being sued by Osama Ahmed Fahmy, who alleges they used the melody from his uncle Baligh Hamdi’s 1957 song “Khosara Khosara” without permission.
The defendants have denied the accusations, insisting they took the proper steps to secure the use of the Egyptian songwriter’s tune for Big Pimpin’, and the case, which has been rumbling on since 2007, went to trial on Tuesday. Jay Z, real name Shawn Carter, took the witness stand Wednesday and maintained he and his producer had the license to include the Arabic composition on “Big Pimpin’.” He pointed out the liner credits for Khosara Khosara on one of his old CDs, and told Fahmy’s lawyer, “We have the rights as you can see on the bottom of the CD.” Attorneys for both Jay Z and Timothy ‘Timbaland’ Mosely previously insisted Hamdi’s heirs had received repeated payments for the sampling of his track. During the hearing, the rapper also discussed his working relationship with Timbaland, revealing they make a good team because they always challenge each other to do better. He said, “He tells me his beats are better than my raps. I tell him my raps are better than his beats. It’s an ongoing thing that I keep winning.” His remarks prompted laughter among those in the courtroom, including Timbaland himself. He also hailed Timbaland a “genius” for coming up with beats which transcend genres. The trial continues.