A bus driver has claimed he’s owed rights and royalties for Tupac’s Dear Mama

Terrence Thomas alleged in a lawsuit that the song’s producer and label conspired to obscure his role in the creation of the song so he wouldn’t receive royalties


Tupac. Credit: Bob Berg/Getty

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A bus driver and former musician has filed a lawsuit claiming he’s owed rights and royalties for his production work on Tupac’s hit Dear Mama. 

The song was famously the third single from Tupac’s third album Me Against The World, with the Library of Congress describing it as an “eloquent homage to both the murdered rapper’s own mother [Black Panther activist Afeni Shakur] and all mothers struggling to maintain a family in the face of addiction, poverty and societal indifference”.

In his lawsuit, Terrence Thomas has pointed to interviews from the late rapper as well as handwritten credits written by Tupac himself which name him as the creator of the beat in Dear Mama.  According to court documents seen by Music Business Worldwide,  Thomas claims he was “never properly and fully credited for his publishing copyright”.

Thomas also alleges that producer Tony D. Pizarro conspired with the label, Interscope, and Universal Music Group to obscure Thomas’s role in the track’s creation to prevent him from receiving the royalties he was owed.

Dear Mama inspired a five-part docuseries of the same name about the rapper’s relationship with his mother. The series aired earlier this year on FX and has received nominations from the Black Reel Awards for Television, the Emmys and the Grammys.

Thomas is also suing Warner Brothers, NBC, Fox, Hulu and Disney who have together brought the Dear Mama documentary series to the small screen. He is seeking an unspecified amount in damages and a jury trial.

In other Tupac news, earlier this year one of the late rapper’s custom-designed rings fetched over $1 million at an auction, and it looks like Drake may be the one who purchased it.

The ring sold last Tuesday (25 July), and its huge sale made it the most valuable hip-hop artefact ever sold at auction, according to Sotheby’s.


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