Kanye West sues again over unlicensed sample, this time in ‘Life of the Party’

Kanye West is facing a copyright lawsuit over claims that his “Life of the Party” illegally sampled a song by seminal rap group Boogie Down Productions — the latest in a string of such infringement cases against the embattled rapper.

In a complaint filed Monday in New York federal court, Phase One Network (the group that owns Boogie Down’s copyrights) says Ye incorporated key aspects of the 1986 song “South Bronx” into “Life of the Party,” which was released in 2021. West’s Stem Player streaming platform.

How do they know he did it? Phase One says West’s people reached out to remove the use of the Boogie Down song — and then released it anyway since a deal was never made.

“The communication confirmed that ‘South Bronx’ had been incorporated into the infringing track, even though West had not yet obtained such a license,” Phase One’s lawyers wrote. “Despite the fact that final approval for the use of ‘South Bronx’ in the infringing track was never approved, the infringing track was nevertheless reproduced, sold, distributed, publicly performed and exploited.”

In the middle of his many, many other problems over the past year, West has been repeatedly sued for illegal sampling or interpolation in his tracks. In May, a Texas pastor named David P. Moten the rapper accused of a selection from his recorded sermon in “Come to life”. In June he was sued againat the time for using a snippet of Marshall Jefferson’s 1986 house track “Move Your Body” in the song “Flowers”.

Although coming at a faster clip in recent months, such lawsuits are nothing new to the West. In 2019, he and Pusha T were sued to sample George Jackson’s “I Can’t Do Without You” on the track “Come Back Baby”. That same year, he was sued for allegedly using an audio clip of a young girl praying in his 2016 song “Ultralight Beam.”

Back in the day, West was hit with similar lawsuits over allegedly unlicensed samples used in “New Slaves,” “Bound 2,” “My Joy.” And thought he is not named in the case, Universal Music Group is currently facing a trial which claims that West used an originally unlicensed sample of King Crimson’s 1969 “21st Century Schizoid Man” in his 2010 track “Power”.

In the new lawsuit, Phase One’s lawyers say West used an “accurate rendition” of “South Bronx,” with the song’s horn hits, a melodic figure and a drum fill. The company says it controls both the release and recording copyrights to the song, and accuses West of infringing both.

A spokesman for West could not be reached for comment on the new lawsuit. Several former press representatives for West have recently told Billboard that they no longer work with him.

Read the entire trial here:

Related Posts