A rapper on stage in front of a crowd

What happened when JayZ sued Australian author over childrens book

By James Wan

What you need to know (in a nutshell)

  1. In 2019, rapper Jay-Z sued an Australian author, Jessica Chiha (The Little Homie Pty Ltd), over a children’s book titled “AB to Jay-Z” that paraphrases lyrics to one of his songs.
  2. Lawyers for Chiha called the lawsuit “embarrassing” and have challenged Jay-Z’s claim of co-ownership of the original music, the literary work in the lyrics, and the hook of the song. They argued that the title and parts of the lyrics of Jay-Z’s song “99 Problems” were copied from another song titled “99 Problems” which was recorded and released in 1993 by Ice-T and Brother Marquis.
  3. The case was settled in September 2020 and the book is no longer available for sale. An apology was issued: “Firstly, we would like to sincerely apologise for the offence caused by the content relating to this project. Our intentions were never to hurt anyone that is the last thing we wanted. This project came from a good place and it is unfortunate that we have tarnished it with our ignorance”

Full Article

Jay-Z’s legal action against Australian author Jessica Chiha is “embarrassing” according to her lawyers.

Lawyers for the Australian mum Jay-Z is suing have labelled his lawsuit over a children’s book that paraphrases his lyrics “embarrassing”.

Jay-Z (real name Shawn Carter) has taken Jessica Chiha and her business, The Little Homie, to Federal Court for alleged trademark infringement.

Ms Chiha began with AB to Jay-Z, a picture book using famous rappers for the alphabet. Since her 2017 launch, she has also produced a colouring book and clothing range.

The book features the line “ZZ is for Jay-Z and he has 99 problems, but his ABCs ain’t one” on its front cover. The back also contains the quote “If you’re having alphabet problems I feel bad for you son, I got 99 problems but my ABCs ain’t one”.

Jay-Z’s 2004 hit “99 Problems” famously begins, “If you’re having girl trouble, son I sympathise. I have 99 problems but a woman isn’t one of them.”

In the Federal Court, Ms Chiha’s lawyers declared Mr Carter’s suit “humiliating in its current state”.

The performer’s assertion of joint ownership over the original music, lyrics and hook is disputed.

The defence argues sections of Mr Carter’s “99 Problems” were taken from a song released in 1993.

Ice-T and Brother Marquis’ track featured the words “If you’re facing female issues, I sympathise son; 99 complications but a woman ain’t one - hit me”.

Carter’s Australian lawyers submitted documents last month, noting Carter requested Chiha to stop selling the book. They stated that “Carter has endured, and will keep on experiencing, loss and harm”.

“The release of our first book, A B to Jay-Z, was quickly followed by the realisation that we had made some significant mistakes in our past. Our book, as are all the things created by the Little Homie, was inspired by our love for the music and the culture that it grew from. What we learned is that it is possible to love the product of culture and still hold some damaging beliefs and behaviours, at the same time,” it reads on its Chiha’s US website.