Do you know the term “rickrolling”? If not, then you’re either fairly new to the internet and missed the heyday of this amusing phenomenon, or you’ve never really been around the internet. When “rickrolling” someone is unexpectedly confronted with the Rick Astley catchy tune “Never Gonna Give You Up” – it’s a joke. Be it that friends or colleagues sent each other links with supposedly serious target websites, behind which only the YouTube video with the song was hidden, or that people even uploaded YouTube videos that pretended to be something completely different, and then they did only contained the heartbreaking pop song.

You have to have been there to understand the joke. In fact, once you’ve heard Rick Astley’s 1987 hit, it’s hard to get it out of your head. Some hate the song for it, others love it – but it’s definitely a catchy tune. The American rapper Yung Gravy has now taken advantage of this. The hip-hop star, who has a Swiss father, likes to incorporate elements of soul, funk and pop into his often humorous tracks. In his latest hit “Betty” he now takes on “Never Gonna Give You Up”.

In the intro of the song, Astley’s hit is faithful to the original – but it is sung by an Astley double. Yung Gravy later raps to the tune of the number: “Never gonna take no loss / Never gonna lose my sauce / All I know is chase this (whoa) / and get money.” Translated something like: “I will never accept defeat, I will never lose my drive, I just know that I will continue and want to make money.” The rap track with a soulful note is quite catchy and is already celebrating its first chart successes.

There’s just one problem: The rapper didn’t ask Rick Astley in advance if he could use his cult hit. And also not whether he can sing a new text to the well-known melody. And the now 56-year-old Astley, otherwise well known for his self-mockery, reacted in this case not happy.

The Briton, through his attorney, filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles, alleging that Yung Gravy and his producing team “conspired to intentionally use an almost indistinguishable imitation of Mr. Astley’s voice throughout the song.” But they had never been allowed to do that before. The 26-year-old US rapper was well aware that he was treading the dark side of a legal gray area, but apparently felt he was on the safe side by making minor changes and using a different singer.

The court will soon show whether this is the case. If Rick Astley is right, it could be extremely expensive for Yung Gravy: The Brit is suing for several million dollars in compensation.

Sources: Daily Mail, YouTube