Cardi B is back to court for a trial that started yesterday in California. The Bronx rapper is being sued for $5 million over the sexually explicit cover of her 2016 debut mixtape, Gangsta B*tch Music, Vol. 1. The copyright infringement case, filed by Kevin Michael Brophy Jr., alleges that Cardi used a photo of his back tattoo for the cover without permission or compensation. He originally filed a complaint in 2017, trying to get her to change the cover for five years.
While the man pictured on Cardi B’s mixtape cover isn’t Brophy Jr., his lawyer claims that as a husband and father, he has suffered emotional distress from the resemblance to his back tattoo. The lawyer also alleges that photo editing programs were used to overlay it onto the male model on Cardi’s cover. According to ABC News, Brophy Jr.’s tattoo has been featured in magazines as a significant design.
“The mixtape photo was never sold separately, never used in merchandise, and the mixtape was being released free of charge for much of its ‘life,’” Cardi B noted in the court documents, according to Yahoo! News, as she had been trying to get the judge to dismiss the case prior to going to a trial.
“It felt like my Michelangelo was stolen off a wall and literally ripped off, robbed, and put where ever these people wanted to put it,” Brophy Jr. testified in court yesterday. “This was a long journey to get this tattoo. It took a lot of commitment. To see it in this light was a complete slap in the face and a complete disrespect to me and my family.”
Read more about the first day of Cardi B’s trial from a legal-focused Twitter thread below.
Cappello says Brophy has been trying to get Cardi and her crew to take his picture off the album for five years. She won’t do it, and he fears as his kids get older they’ll come across the album cover and think it’s their dad because the tattoo is so noticeable and unique.
— Meghann Cuniff (@meghanncuniff) October 18, 2022
Cardi B is a Warner Music artist. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.