Jay Z and Timbaland’s ‘Big Pimpin’ Trial Explained ‘For Dummies’

With “Big Pimpin” comes big legal jargon.

Closure may be within reach for Jay Z as he will testify against an Egyptian composer’s copyright claims to settle one of the longest-running lawsuits active in the United States. The sound systems on our yachts were blessed 15 years ago with the release of Hova’s track produced by Timbaland, “Big Pimpin”.

If your ears are in need of a reminder, here is the music video that was released in 1999:


According to The Hollywood Reporter, Timbaland, the mastermind behind Justin Timberlake and Missy Elliot, was inspired by the flute melody on a track that he found on a Middle Eastern music CD. He believed that the album was under free domain and put it on loop in the instrumentals of Jay Z’s rap. When “Big Pimpin” dropped, the British music recording company EMI identified the flute as intellectual property of Egyptian composer Baligh Hamdi from his song “Khosara, Khosara”.


Timbaland paid $100,000 to license the track, which settled the score until 2007 when Hamdi’s nephew Osama Ahmed Fahmy sued Jay Z, Timbaland, EMI, Universal Music, Paramount Pictures, MTV, and their kitchen sinks claiming that EMI never had the right to hand Timbaland the music rights without his consent. According to Vulture, Fahmy also stated that Jay Z and Timbo “mutilated” his uncle’s work.

This is Jay Z’s argument in layman’s terms:

  • We properly licensed “Khosara, Khosara”.
  • Fahmy should calm down because the Hamdi heirs were given a “lump-sum buyout” in exchange for song rights.
  • Per the 2002 Agreement, the Plaintiff gave up all control over the rights of “Khosara” and, therefore, doesn’t have a leg to stand on.


This is Fahmy’s beef:

  • The defendants were not specific enough as to the nature of the song wherein his uncle’s music would be featured beneath lyrics about “ho’s” who are “wet with two pairs of clothes on”.
  • Jay Z and Timbaland did not get the OK from the author or his heirs


The court has already determined that Fahmy’s moral argument is null in the United States.

The trial will begin in October with appearances in Fahmy’s ring from Judith Finell, the musicologist who testified on behalf of Marvin Gaye’s family in the “Blurred Lines” case against Robin Thicke, and entertainment reporter/Jay Z ‘expert’ Sam Rubin.

Jay Z and Timbaland will have a fleet of top entertainment lawyers and, hopefully, Blue Ivy, who will remind the Plaintiff to “f-ck that sh-t y’all talking ’bout, my dad’s that winna.”