Kanye West sued over claim of illegal sample on 'Donda 2'
Published Thursday, June 30, 2022 10:51AM EDT
Ye, the artist formerly known as Kanye West, at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party in Beverly Hills, Calif., on Feb. 9, 2020. (Evan Agostini / Invision / AP)
LOS ANGELES -- Rapper, producer and entrepreneur Kanye West, who legally changed his name to Ye last year, was sued on Wednesday for allegedly sampling a song by musician Marshall Jefferson without permission.
Ultra International Music Publishing LLC said "Flowers" from West's album "Donda 2" includes a sample from Jefferson's 1986 dance song "Move Your Body" that is repeated at least 22 times.
A representative for West did not immediately respond to a request for comment, nor did West's label Universal Music Group UMG.AS, which is not a party to the suit.
An attorney for Ultra International, which owns the rights to Jefferson's song, said the company had no comment and believes the lawsuit speaks for itself.
Jefferson is a pioneer of house music from West's hometown of Chicago. According to the lawsuit, West and his representatives acknowledged during talks with Jefferson that "Flowers" sampled "Move Your Body" without permission. But those talks did not end with a license, according to the lawsuit.
"West advocates for artists’ rights with one hand, yet has no shame in taking away rights from another artist with the other," the lawsuit said.
West released "Donda 2" in February exclusively through his Stem Player, a handheld device that allows users to isolate and recombine song parts.
Kano Computing Ltd, a British company that developed the Stem Player with West and is also named in the lawsuit, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The lawsuit said "Flowers" is reportedly about West's ex-wife Kim Kardashian, whose petition to end their marriage was approved in March.
Texas pastor David Paul Moten sued West in May for allegedly sampling one of his sermons without permission. Read full story
West has previously settled lawsuits over samples of a Hungarian singer on the 2013 song "New Slaves;" a child's prayer on the 2016 song "Ultralight Beam;" and a theater work about activist Marcus Garvey on "Freeee (Ghost Town Pt. 2)," a 2018 collaboration with rapper Kid Cudi.
Reporting by Blake Brittain in Washington, D.C.; Editing by Alessandra Rafferty and Chris Reese