The dispute centers on Cyrus’ lyrics “We run things/ Things don’t run we,” according to legal documents obtained by PEOPLE. May, who performs under the name Flourgon, reportedly claims that he originated the phrase in his 1988 reggae track “We Run Things,” which includes the lyrics “We run things/ Things no run we.”
“May was the first to construct such a sequence using the phrase ‘We run things. Things no run we’,” May’s lawyers argue in the obtained documents, adding that Cyrus owes her track’s “chart-topping popularity and its highly-lucrative success” to May.
“We Can’t Stop” features references to drug use, and was featured in Cyrus’ album Bangerz, which marked a break away from the singer’s previous more innocent persona in Disney Channel’s Hannah Montana. The song also reached No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
While the court documents don’t specify the exact amount that May is suing Cyrus for, but May’s lawyers specified $300 million to Reuters, adding that the sum “would be a reasonable compensation”, CNN Money reports. May also wants to prohibit Cyrus from obtaining further profits from the song.
Cyrus’ rep has not yet responded to media outlets’ requests for comment.