Missy Elliott Jumps Into the Bad Bunny ‘Safaera’ Conversation and Clarifies Royalty Details
The Bad Bunny hit “Safaera,” which features the veteran reggaeton duo Jowell & Randy, snakes through half a dozen samples and references, including the famed beat from Missy Elliott‘s 2001 hit “Get Ur Freak On.” Last week, Jowell ignited a Twitter storm by sharing details about the royalty splits on the track, claiming that Missy got most of the money while he, Bad Bunny, and Randy only got 1 percent. Now, Missy is correcting the record and saying that she gets just 25 percent of the royalties from “Safaera.”
During a now-viral interview with the Puerto Rican personality Molusco, Jowell shared that the artists never properly cleared the “Get Ur Freak On” sample. According to him, when Missy found out about the track, she threatened to sue and “asked for millions.” He said Bad Bunny’s label head, Noah Assad, worked out a deal that left her with nearly all the money generated by the song, and him, Bad Bunny, and Randy with a single percentage point each.
“That cabrona was the one that got everything,” he said in the interview through laughter.
The clip worked its way through social media and drew instant backlash, with people coming to Missy’s defense and lambasting Jowell for calling her a “cabrona.” However, Missy also ended up getting attacked by Bad Bunny fans, who felt the split Jowell described was unfair.
On Thursday, she finally decided to step in and clarify the situation. She specifically called out Jowell for misrepresenting what the actual song splits look like, writing to him on Twitter and saying, “Sadly you mislead all these people to make them think I have 99%. Now I don’t talk business online because that’s messy, but now we are here I have 25% and there is 6 other samples & 15 other writers on this one song. They got [a] percentage also…”
@jowell1 sadly you mislead all these people to make them think I have 99%. Now I don’t talk business on line because that’s messy but now we are here I have 25% and there is 6 other samples & 15 other writers on this one song. They got percentage also…
Jowell responded, “Missy, something got lost in translation cuz i never said u take 99% thats impossible there are a whole bunch of other peoples in there. Im cool with my 1% . Excuse me , Nothing but love from Puerto Rico to you. We are both in business. Let’s chill and enjoy what we have. Peace.”
She replied to his olive branch by saying, “I’m glad that you now mention that there are many other samples/writers on this track that got their percentages that you hadn’t named. We both in the music business & know how we must clear someone else’s work.”
It’s not the first time “Safaera” has faced sampling issues. Last October, Bad Bunny and the collaborators on the song got hit with a lawsuit accusing them of infringing the copyright of the Florida-based group AOM Music Inc., which does business as BM Records. The lawsuit specifically cited alleged “unauthorized incorporation” of several songs from the Puerto Rican reggaeton pioneer DJ Playero. DJ Playero released a long statement on Instagram, saying that he’s not involved with the lawsuit.
The lawsuit is currently in a discovery/mediation phase, with a hearing date listed for Sept. 1. According to documents, the defense claimed by Bad Bunny and his team is that if they did infringe copyright, they “did so innocently.” They also claim that Playero’s songs were “not properly or timely registered” with the U.S. Copyright Office, and that their conduct constitutes “fair use” of the material.