Rick Astley Sues Rapper Yung Gravy Over Voice Imitation on Hit Single 'Betty (Get Money)'
Charles Rex Arbogast/AP/Shutterstock, Greg Doherty/Getty Rick Astley, Yung Gravy
Rick Astley is suing rapper Yung Gravy for allegedly imitating his voice on his June 2022 hit "Betty (Get Money)."
The "Never Gonna Give You Up" singer filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against Gravy (born Matthew Hauri) in Los Angeles Thursday, which claimed the rapper used "a deliberate and nearly indistinguishable imitation" of his voice in the song, according to court papers obtained by PEOPLE.
The new lawsuit was filed by Richard Busch, the music litigator who won the copyright case over "Blurred Lines."
"The public could not tell the difference. The imitation of Mr. Astley's voice was so successful the public believed it was actually Mr. Astley singing," the lawsuit reads, which also alleged the singer's voice was used "In an effort to capitalize off of the immense popularity and goodwill of Mr. Astley."
The vocal impersonator featured on the song, Nick Seeley (aka Popnick), is also included in the legal action.
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"A license to use the original underlying musical composition does not authorize the stealing of the artist's voice in the original recording," Astley's lawyers wrote. "So, instead, they resorted to theft of Mr. Astley's voice without a license and without agreement."
Astley pointed to an August 2022 interview Gravy gave to Billboard, in which the rapper said, "My boy Nick, who does a lot of sample replays and recreating original samples, we basically remade the whole song. Had a different singer and instruments, but it was all really close because it makes it easier legally."
The legal documents also stated that Astley had wanted to use his voice to collaborate with another artist on a future project, but the release of the song prevented it from happening.
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The suit continued that Astley's distinctive voice is a resource that needs to be carefully managed, and permission was never granted to use or impersonate his voice.
Along with "Never Gonna Give You Up" Astley topped the charts with "Together Forever" and "It Would Take a Strong Strong Man."
"Betty (Get Money)" reached gold status in the U.S. and is Yung Gravy's biggest hit to date.