In a lawsuit filed yesterday in federal court and obtained by E! News, Ericka Lee states that, while dating and working together between early 2010 and mid-2011, she "candidly shared her life story and creative ideas with...Drake, and trusted him as a confidant, lover and friend."
She further claims that, in February 2011, they agreed to write and compose a song together and split the proceeds accordingly. Per her complaint, Drake asked Lee to record the hook and then he recorded a spoken monologue of Lee to "provide a basic thematic framework" for the song.
She alleges that, during the songwriting process, Drake sent Lee text messages, such as, "U basically made that song" and "it's s--t without you."
Overall, Lee says, her contribution was "highly significant to the overall work," and she never got paid after the song—the first official single off of Drake's Take Care—hit No. 21 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 7 on the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop chart.
After the song's release last June, Drake made himself scarce, Lee claims, and at one point offered her 2 percent of the publishing rights—an amount far below what she felt she deserved.
When she pursued a bigger cut, she says, Drake called her and asked, "What the f--k is your problem?" He then offered her $50,000 to go away and not take him to court, Lee says.
Lee doesn't specifiy an amount in her lawsuit, but she wants what she believes is her fair share of the song's value.
A rep for Drake tells E! News: "This claim is entirely without merit and our client has not engaged in any wrongful conduct. Ericka Lee consented to the use of her voice in the song Marvins Room' prior to its release. Lee asked only for the credit she received as 'Syren Lyric Muse,' and she did not ask for any compensation. It was only after she retained a lawyer that there was a demand for payment. Drake tried for months to resolve the matter amicably, and he now looks forward to being vindicated in court. "
Coincidentally(?), Lee has hired Neville L. Johnson, the same attorney who represented Playboy Enterprises when it sued Drake for supposedly using an unauthorized sample from the 1975 song "Fallin' in Love" on "Best I Ever Had."
Another attorney on the case, Douglas Johnson, calls this a "very straight-forward lawsuit."
"It's not that crazy," he tells E! News. "It is only interesting because it involves Drake. [Lee] just needs to get her royalties, they just need to settle the score."
—Additional reporting by Sharareh Drury and Baker Machado