Jay Z Will Testify In Epic “Big Pimpin'” Copyright Trial

In 1999, Jay Z released the Timbaland-produced “Big Pimpin’,” one of the definitive songs of either man’s career. The track came out on Vol. 3 … Life And Times Of S. Carter, and it boasted a particularly recognizable sample that Timbaland nabbed from an Egyptian composition he found on a CD containing Middle Eastern music. At the time, the producer thought that the music was public domain, but a foreign subsidiary of EMI identified the audio clip as Baligh Hamdi’s “Khosara, Khosara,” which was featured in the 1960 Egyptian film Fata ahlami (Arabic for Dreams Of Youth). EMI claimed rights to the song, and Timbaland handed over $100,000 for use of the sample, but in 2007, Hamdi’s nephew Osama Ahmed Fahmy filed suit against Jay Z, Timbaland, EMI, Universal Music, Paramount Pictures, MTV, and other companies who used the song under pretense that it was “illicitly copied.” The Hollywood Reporter points out that there are more than a few quirks to this case: According to documents at the time Jay Z paid EMI, Hamdi’s heirs were offered a buyout in exchange for the all US rights to “Khosara, Khosara.” But Fahmy’s lawyers are approaching through the lens of Egyptian law and how Hamdi’s family’s rights impact contracts in states. This trial has been almost 10 years in the making, and it will finally go to court on 10/13. Both Jay Z and Timbaland will testify. Read more about the case’s many intricacies here while you listen to “Big Pimpin'” below.