Kanye West is facing a copyright lawsuit over claims that his song ‘Life Of The Party’ samples a Boogie Down Productions track without permission.
‘Life Of The Party’ features André 3000, and was released on West’s Stem Player device as part of the deluxe edition of his 2021 album ‘DONDA’. The Stage One Network — the management company that oversees Boogie Down’s music catalog — has since claimed that the song uses elements of the hip-hop group’s 1987 track, ‘South Bronx’.
The lawsuit alleges that West sought permission to sample ‘South Bronx’ in July of last year, but withdrew this request in November 2021, after the two parties failed to agree on an authorized use of the song. By then, the rapper had already released ‘DONDA’, which arrived alongside his lavish songs in August 2021.
According to Rolling Stone, the lawsuit cites ‘Life Of The Party’s’ “exact reproduction” of ‘South Bronx’ horn hits, melodic figures and drum fills as evidence of infringement. The lawsuit also claims that West and his team used ‘Life Of The Party’ to promote ‘DONDA’ and the Stem Player, and asks to stop further use of the song.
“By unlawfully incorporating ‘South Bronx’ into the Infringing Track and authorizing the distribution of the Infringing Track through the Stem Player and its associated website, each Defendant has permitted the widespread distribution of the Infringing Track,” documents read. court.
West is named as a defendant alongside record labels GOOD Music, Universal Music Group Recordings and Def Jam Recordings, the latter of which was signed at the time of the release of ‘DONDA’. Also named is Stem Player CEO and co-founder Alex Klein, with whom West collaborated to launch the device in 2021. Responding to the lawsuit, a STEM spokesperson told Rolling Stone, “We have just heard about this allegation, and we are now looking into it.”
“The KANO and STEM team were assured by Kanye and Yeezy that they would provide music with ‘all intellectual property rights, license and permission’. This was important to us, because STEM has been built from the ground up to be a more equitable and immersive medium than the current music business. When it comes to STEM, creators fully own and control their own work, pricing, rights and distribution,” the spokesperson said.
The ‘South Bronx’ lawsuit comes amid a series of other legal battles aimed at the West in recent months. Earlier this year, he faced two legal proceedings relating to ‘DONDA’ copyright infringement on the songs ‘Flowers’ and ‘Come to Life’. In July, West was sued by an LA production company over alleged unpaid fees related to his ‘Donda 2’ live stream and his canceled Coachella 2022 appearance, among other events.
More recently, it was reported that the family of police brutality victim George Floyd is preparing a defamation lawsuit against West, after he made false and inflammatory comments about Floyd’s death in an interview in October.