One of the most complicated lawsuits in the US has reached trial.

Timbaland and Jay Z were in court yesterday defending their use of an Egyptian song in the 1999 hit ‘Big Pimpin”, and by all accounts it was a colourful performance.

Asked why he and Timbaland didn’t ensure they had the rights to ‘Khosara Khosara’ before they released the single, Jay Z said he didn’t ask if there was a sample in Timbaland’s beat, noting that Tim is famous for rarely sampling.

“That’s not what I do. I make music,” he said, before elaborating: “I make music, I’m a rapper, I’ve got a clothing line, I run a label, a media label called Roc Nation, with a sports agency, music publishing and management. Restaurants and nightclubs … I think that about covers it.”

His attorney Andrew Bart prompted: “I’m not so sure. You have a music streaming service [Tidal], don’t you?”

“Yeah, yeah. Forgot about that,” replied Jay.

He also talked about his relationship with Tim, to laughter: “He tells me his beats are better than my raps, I tell him my raps are better than his beats, and I keep winning”.

Timbaland’s testimony nearly included a concert, with his attorneys bringing out a keyboard for him to compose a beat in the courtroom, but technical problems interfered and he ended up beatboxing for the jury. That’d be worth a day off work, right?

The trial is underway eight years after Osama Fahmy, a nephew of ‘Khosara Khosara’ composer Baligh Hamdi, filed one of the longest running lawsuits in the US. The suit touches on tricky issues including how to interpret Egyptian laws about an author’s “moral rights” and whether one Arabian record company had the right to “sublicense” the track. [via Billboard]



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