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Cardi B Wins Mixtape Cover Art Lawsuit

Cardi B Wins Legal Feud Over Mixtape Cover Art
Photo credit Depositphotos (EugenePowers)

has won a lawsuit over the explicit cover art for her 2016 mixtape “Gangsta B*tch Music, Vol. 1.”

A federal jury took the 30-year-old rapper's side on Friday afternoon (Oct. 21, 2022) in a case that saw the Grammy Award-winning artist fighting to defend her mixtape cover art from plaintiff Kevin Michael Brophy, who claimed that she misused his image on the cover.

The artwork depicts a shirtless male performing cunnilingus on the rapper, while she sipped from a bottle of Corona and stared into the camera, with her palm resting on the man's head. The tattoo on the man's chest was strikingly similar to that on Brophy.

Kevin Brophy, who accused Cardi B of misappropriating his likeness, sought $5 million in damages, the Associated Press reported.

“I would never ever sign off on an image like this, being a father of two. No one ever asked for my consent. This was just an image that came into my life,” Brophy testified on Tuesday (Oct. 18).

He was also seeking an order blocking her from using his likeness.

Brophy's lawyer, A. Barry Cappello, claimed that photo-editing software was used to place the back tattoo, which has been published in tattoo magazines, onto the male model featured on the mixtape cover.

Cardi B Wins Lawsuit Over Raunchy Album Cover Art
Photo credit Depositphotos (PopularImages)

Cardi B, whose real name is Belcalis Marlenis Almánzar, asserted that she had no involvement in creating the album art and that Brophy's life and career were unaffected by her use of a portion of his tattoo in her work.

On Wednesday (Oct. 19), the “Bodak Yellow” rapper and Brophy's lawyer got into a heated exchange during cross-examination.

“He hasn't gotten fired, he hasn't gotten divorced. How has he suffered? Please, tell me how he has suffered?” Cardi B asked on the stand.

She added that inking was used “in an anonymous manner, as a single building block” and said the model who posed for the cover was “Black, with hair,” while Brophy is a “middle-aged Caucasian with a shaved head”.

The “WAP” rapper had also argued that the album art was transformational and qualified as fair use, according to the AP.

“No one looked at that artwork and thought, ‘Oh my God, Mike Brophy, what is he doing with Cardi B?'” Cardi B's lawyer, Peter Anderson, said during his closing argument. 

Released on March 7, 2016, by KSR, “Gangsta B*tch Music, Vol. 1” is the debut mixtape by Cardi B. The album's cover, designed by graphic artist Timm Gooden.

The mixtape features songs such as “Trust Issues,” “On Fleek,” “Washpoppin,” “Her Perspective (Skit),” “Selfish,” (featuring Josh X), “I Gotta Hurt You,” “Foreva,” “Trick,” “Lit Thot” and “Sauce Boyz.”

Last month, Cardi B was ordered to complete 15 days of community service after she entered a guilty plea in a criminal case involving two fights that took place in New York City strip clubs.

The rapper received a $1.25 million settlement in January after suing a celebrity news blogger who falsely claimed in videos that the rapper used cocaine, had contracted herpes, and engaged in prostitution.

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