Bluffton rapper sues 50 Cent, claiming 'beat' theft

Bluffton resident Tyrone Simmons, who hopes to become better known as rapper Young Caliber, claims the hit single “I Get Money” by rapper 50 Cent took dollars out of his pocket.

Simmons’ lawyers have filed a copyright-infringement suit in New York federal court claiming he owns exclusive rights to the single’s underlying beat. The suit says Simmons bought those rights from producer William Stanberry, known as Apex, in 2006 and that Stanberry violated their contract by reselling them to 50 Cent.

The single appeared on 50 Cent’s 2007 album, “Curtis,” according to the lawsuit.

Along with Stanberry, defendants include 50 Cent, whose real name is Curtis Jackson, and Universal Music Group, Interscope Records and other subsidiary companies.

Simmons, a 26-year-old aspiring rapper, graduated from Hilton Head Island High School and lives in Bluffton.

“In this game, the music industry ... is very cutthroat,” Simmons said.

Copyright law states that the holder of a copyright on a sound recording has the exclusive right to release, record, publicly perform, broadcast or sell it.

Simmons’ lawsuit doesn’t specify the amount of damages he is seeking.

New York-based attorney Peter Raymond, who is representing 50 Cent and the record labels named in the suit, said he is trying to have the case dismissed.

The three-year statute of limitations on copyright infringement has passed, his clients have filed their own copyright registrations and Simmons’ contract with Stanberry didn’t include exclusive rights to the beat, Raymond said.

“Three years later, Mr. Simmons comes out of the woodwork and claimed that he had gotten an earlier assignment of rights on this beat from Stanberry,” Raymond said.

The defendants have until April 29 to file a response to Simmons’ suit.

Meanwhile, Simmons said he is preparing for a four-week tour that begins in May. It includes stops from Philadelphia to Miami, according to his manager, Christian Stoles of Bluffton-based Black Hand Entertainment and owner of Bluffton’s Metropolitan Lounge & Bistro.

“My career is going up steady,” Simmons said.