Kanye West Is Being Sued For House Music Sample on Donda 2 Song “Flowers”
Kanye West is being sued by Marshall Jefferson over West’s sample of his song, “Move Your Body.” Jefferson’s publisher Ultra International Music Publishing filed a lawsuit at New York’s US District Court on Wednesday (June 29th). Kanye and his team haven’t commented on the lawsuit yet.
Marshall Jefferson claims that Kanye West sampled his 1986 hit, “Move Your Body”, at least 22 times, without the proper authorization on his Donda 2 song, “Flowers.” Kanye West and Marshall are both from Chicago, so this was especially disappointing to the House legend.
AllMusic.com states that Marshall Jefferson is one of the original innovators in the Chicago house scene and had a hand in several of the music’s most influential early tracks. As a solo act, he recorded 1986’s “Move Your Body” — subtitled and unanimously acclaimed “The House Music Anthem.” Jefferson also had a hand in Phuture‘s “Acid Tracks,” the first and best acid-house single. He then later moved to deep house and became one of its best producers along with Larry Heard.
Jefferson said, “I’ve been sampled thousands of times. There is a right way and a wrong way to go about it,” Jefferson told BBC Radio 1’s Newsbeat. “Getting done by another artist, a Black artist, a fellow Chicagoan without acknowledgment is disappointing,” according to The Guardian. Adding insult to injury, “West and his team previously admitted to representatives for Jefferson that they had sampled Move Your Body, but it claims that West did not take out a license for the song, meaning Jefferson has not been paid for use of the sample.”
BBC reports that the lawsuit states that “West advocates for artists’ rights with one hand, yet has no shame in taking away rights from another artist with the other.” It also states that “Flowers is reportedly about Kanye’s ex-wife Kim Kardashian, whose petition to end their marriage was approved in March.” As a result, Jefferson and his team are asking for profits and damages to be determined at a trial or maximum statutory damages of $150,000 per infringement.
House music is having a resurgence with artists like Beyonce and Drake making house-inspired music. Other artists, who’ve made house music recently include Azealia Banks and Kelly Rowland. This is even more reason for Kanye West to make sure legendary Black artists and Black creators get paid for their contributions, especially if the allegations are true.
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