NEW YORK • Say yes and folk singer Tracy Chapman stands to walk away with US$2 million (S$2.7 million).
The booty is dangled by rapper Nicki Minaj, who is set to release her first album in four years. But a track contains a Chapman sample, which Minaj did not realise at first, prompting her to now seek clearance so that she can roll out her album on Aug 10.
But Chapman, the intensely private artist behind socially conscious songs such as the 1988 classic Fast Car, is proving hard to track down, leading Minaj, 35, to tap her 20 million followers each on Instagram and Twitter to join the quest.
Chapman, 54, has said she has no desire to spend time on social media.
In a tweet this week, Minaj wrote that a song on her upcoming Queen album features one of "the greatest rappers of all time", but that she had "no clue" that the artist had sampled "the legend #TracyChapman".
Minaj did not specify the rapper behind the supposedly obscure Chapman sample, but her praiseworthy tone led fans to think she was referring to Eminem.
The two have suggested in flirtatious public remarks that they may be romantically involved.
Minaj proceeded to poll her followers to ask whether she should delete the track or delay the album.
The latter option apparently won.
But some fans have voiced offence at Minaj's baiting of Chapman for a "yes". "I can't believe that this is the kind of disrespect that Tracy Chapman is getting for merely not replying," tweeted one user.
But with Chapman proving elusive to hunt down, Minaj is now hedging her bets, writing on her Apple Music account that her album will come out on Aug 17.
That day will also see singer Ariana Grande, 25, release her album. Dampening talk that she wanted to steal Grande's thunder, Minaj said: "I love this woman. Can't wait for the fans to benefit from all the hard work on both ends."