Puff Daddy’s 1997 smash single “I’ll Be Missing You was one of the biggest rap songs ever, and certainly Bad Boy’s biggest hit, spending 11 weeks on top of the Billboard charts.
Recorded as a tribute to the passing of The Notorious B.I.G., “I’ll Be Missing You” featured Big’s wife Faith Evans and R&B group 112 on the hook, as well as a prominent sample from The Police’s “Every Breath You Take.”
Puff’s lyrics, however, were penned by Sauce Money who at that time was still trying to breakthrough in the rap game, after having featured on Jay-Z tracks like “Bring It On,” off Reasonable Doubt, and “Face Off,” off In My Lifetime, Vol. 1.
Unfortunately for Sauce, Puffy didn’t clear the sample with The Police before releasing the song. They were subsequently sued by their frontman, Sting who now owns 100% of the song royalties, a percentage of which would have gone to the writers of “I’ll Be Missing You.”
In a later interview, Sauce Money estimates that he lost about $4 million from the lawsuit. “I missed out on about $4 million” Sauce said. “We did something as far as the publishing deal that I had which is why I never really went at Puff because we figured something out on that end.”
“That song generates about $730,000 a year. So you figure 10% of that is $73,000 and 20% is $146,000. You multiply that by 24, 25. So if I had a problem with him, you could understand, right?”