American music star and producer, Ye is being sued for sampling a song by a legendary house musician without permission on ‘Donda 2’.
The rapper is accused of using part of Marshall Jefferson’s 1986 hit, ‘Move Your Body’ at least 22 times on his track, ‘Flowers’.
Jefferson’s publisher Ultra International Music Publishing filed a complaint at New York’s US District Court. However, Kanye and his label have not commented on the lawsuit.
House music pioneer, Jefferson, hails from Ye’s hometown of Chicago and performed at Glastonbury last weekend. His song, ‘Move Your Body’ was released by Trax Records in 1986 and peaked at No. 34 on Billboard’s Dance Singles Sales chart.
“I’ve been sampled thousands of times. There is a right way and a wrong way to go about it. Getting done by another artist, a black artist, a fellow Chicagoan without acknowledgment is disappointing”.Jefferson
The lawsuit noted that Ye and his team had discussions with Jefferson’s representatives where they admitted to sampling ‘Move Your Body in Flowers’. However, it claims the rapper did not take a license – which would have meant Jefferson was paid for using his track.
Part of the suit read: “West has not ceased distribution of ‘Flowers.’ Defendants’ conduct is willful and deliberate. He knows and has been informed that he does not possess a license to utilize the Composition in the Unauthorized Work, and yet continues to willfully infringe in blatant disregard of my rights of ownership. West advocates for artists’ rights with one hand, yet has no shame in taking away rights from another artist with the other”.
The lawsuit also noted that ‘Flowers’ is reportedly about Ye’s ex-wife, Kim Kardashian, whose petition to end their marriage was approved in March.
An attorney for Ultra International, which owns the rights to Jefferson’s song, said they had nothing to add and the lawsuit spoke for itself. They are asking for profits and damages to be determined at a trial or maximum statutory damages of $150,000 per infringement.
Kanye, who has legally changed his name to Ye, released ‘Donda 2’ in February exclusively through his Stem Player, a handheld device that allows users to isolate and recombine song parts.
The lawsuit says he claimed he had earned $2.2million from Stem Player sales just one day after the release.
Kano Computing Ltd, a British company that developed the player with Ye and is also named in the lawsuit, has not said anything publicly about it.
Ye’s representatives and his label Universal Music Group, which is not named in the legal action, have also not commented.
It is worth noting that this is not the first lawsuit Ye has been hit with ever since releasing ‘Donda 2’. The rapper was sued in May this year by a Texas pastor, David Paul Moten for allegedly sampling one of his sermons without permission. He has also been sued in the past over samples used on ‘Yeezus’ tracks ‘New Slaves’ and ‘Bound 2’ but both were settled out of court.