Kanye West is facing a copyright lawsuit over claims 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’. Phase One Network – the management company that oversees Boogie Down’s music catalog – has since claimed that the song uses elements from the hip-hop group’s 1987 track ‘South Bronx’.
The lawsuit alleges that West initially sought permission to sample ‘South Bronx’ last July, but withdrew that request in November 2021 after both parties failed to agree on an authorized use of the song. At the time, the rapper had already released ‘DONDA’, which arrived alongside his deluxe songs in August 2021.
According to Rolling stones, the lawsuit cites ‘Life Of The Party’s “accurate rendering” of ‘South Bronx’ horn hits, melodic figures and drum fills as evidence of infringement. The lawsuit also alleges that West and his team used ‘Life Of The Party’ to promote both ‘DONDA’ and Stem Player, and requests that further use of the song be blocked.
“By unlawfully incorporating ‘South Bronx’ into the infringing track and authorizing the distribution of the infringing track through Stem Player and its associated website, all defendants permitted the widespread distribution of the infringing track,” court documents read.
West is named as a defendant along with record labels GOOD Music, Universal Music Group Recordings and Def Jam Recordings, the latter of which he was signed to at the time of ‘DONDA’s’ release. Also named is Stem Player CEO and co-founder Alex Klein, with whom West partnered to launch the device in 2021. In response to the lawsuit, a STEM spokesperson said Rolling stones, “We have just heard about this allegation and are now investigating it.”
“The KANO and STEM team were assured by Kanye and Yeezy that they would deliver music with ‘all intellectual property rights, licenses and consents.’ This was important to us because STEM is built from the ground up to be a more fair and immersive media than the current music business. At STEM, creators fully own and control their own work, pricing, rights and distribution,” the spokesperson said.
The ‘South Bronx’ lawsuit comes amid a number of other legal battles targeting West in recent months. Earlier this year he faced two lawsuits regarding ‘DONDA’ copyright infringement on the songs ‘Flowers’ and ‘Come to Life’. In July, West was sued by an LA production company over claims for unpaid fees related to his ‘Donda 2’ live stream and his canceled Coachella 2022 performance, among other events.
Recently, the family of police brutality victim George Floyd was reported to be preparing a defamation suit against West after he made false and inflammatory comments about Floyd’s death in an October interview.