The founder of the Chalewote Street Art Festival, Mantse Aryeequaye has sued rapper, Obrafour and producer Hammer for allegedly claiming sole ownership of the famous ‘killer cut blood’ phrase.
The ownership of the phrase, used in the popular Obrafour track, Oye Ohene, came under scrutiny after the rapper sued Canadian artiste Drake for using it in his track without the former’s permission.
In the suit, Mantse accused Obrafour of claiming ownership of the phrase and copyrighting it in the US in September 2022.
He stated that “his artistic work, in the form of a spoken word titled “Killer Cut”, was used on the song ‘Oye Ohene’ by 1st defendant (Obrafour) with permission, but without transfer of any rights, nor permission to 1 defendant to register the work as his own, or receive any payments from its subsequent use by anyone in any form.”
He added that “the “Killer Cut” which was used by the 1st Defendant in his song, is separate and distinct from the song recorded by Defendants. It was recorded separately and subsequently infused into the 1st Defendant’s song by the 2nd Defendant (Hammer), mainly to enhance/improve the song.”
Mantse said that after knowing of Drake’s request to use that part of the ‘Oye Ohene’ track, he called for a meeting with both Obrafour and Hammer, however, none of his requests materialised.
He noted that he later found out Obrafour had registered the track with the phrase inclusive in the US “robbing him (Mantse) of his intellectual property and seeking to receive payment for plaintiff’s work exclusively.”
The Chalewote founder called the rapper’s actions malicious with “clear nefarious intent” to divert and use royalties belonging to him.
He insists that he owns the intellectual property of ‘killer cut’ and thus, he is praying on the court to declare so.
In addition, he is calling on the court to restrain Obrafour from demanding and receiving payment for ‘killer cut’.
Mantse is also praying to the court to order Hammer to not only relinquish all his works to him but, also submit a record of all his works (with Hammer), including ones that have been used in other tracks.
Among other things, he is also demanding “general damages against 1st defendant for misappropriating Plaintiff’s work and actively seeking to profit from it whilst evading all calls and efforts to rectify his duplicitous conduct” and “costs including full indemnity for legal costs which could have been avoided.”
Meanwhile, although the suit was filed in July 2023, Mantse in a Facebook post revealed that Hammer and Obrafour had been evading being served by the court’s bailiff.
As such, his lawyers applied for an Order of Substitution, allowing them to serve the two on their personal WhatsApp, Facebook, and Notice Board of the High Court, Accra.
In June 2022 Ghanaians woke up to a surprise when they saw Canadian rapper Drake had not only released an album but he sampled Obrafour, one of Ghana’s favourite artists.
On ‘Honestly Nevermind’ Drake sampled Obrafour’s Oye Ohene remix released in 2003 for his track ‘Calling My Name’.
The sample is found at 0:53 seconds of the Drake tune, where it transitions into a house music vibe sending the song into a different type of ambiance compared to its initial trajectory.
“Killa cut blood!” is the chant heard multiple times. That part was sung by Mantse Aryeequaye as an opener to the late 2003 remix of ‘Oye Ohene’ off the Ntete Pa album.
However, nearly a year after the song was released Obrafour sued Drake in a New York court to the tune of $10 million.
The rapper in court documents indicated that the ‘Hotline Bling’ hitmaker did not have his permission to sample the track.
The Ghanaian rapper indicated that Drake and other defendants following the release of ‘Calling My Name’ have greatly benefited from his work.
But, Mantse after knowing of the suit did not sit quietly.
In a series of tweets directed at Drake, Mantse, as he is popularly called, said that he is the sole owner of the phrase ‘Killa cut blood’ on Obrafour’s ‘Oye Ohene’ remix.
He stated that he did not relinquish his rights to Obrafour and Da’ Hammer, producer of the track and thus not only can Obrafour not claim sole ownership of the sample but he also cannot be given sole compensation.
Hammer has responded to agitations by Mantse Aryeequaye.
Speaking to Kwame Dadzie on Joy FM’s Showbiz A-Z, Hammer said everyone who played a role in the production benefits if the verdict goes in favour of Obrafour.
He said that Mantse Aryeequaye had nothing to worry about.
“It is everybody on the song against Drake. Obrafour is only leading the conversation. So I don’t know what the hullabaloo was about,” he said.
Asked how the writ includes all the actors when their names were not written, Hammer said “we are mentioned in the docket. The publishing of the song has Tina, Tinny, Mantse, me and Obrafour. Obrafour is the one leading because it’s his song. He owns the copyright.”
Hammer also indicated that Obrafour had a conversation with Mantse and everybody involved before he went in for the suit.
“He spoke to everybody. I connected the conference call. We were all on the call. We all agreed and Obrafour went on with the suit,” he stated.