11 Musicians That Have Faced Lawsuits Over Songs They Sampled
Samples are often used to bring a track to life and make it stand out. Before these sounds and vocals are borrowed, permission is supposed to be given by the original creators. Many of our favorites drop the ball and fail to acquire the proper sampling rights before lacing their songs with these catchy hook and instrumental accents. Once these tracks blow up, the originators come knocking and hurl out million dollar lawsuits. Browse to see 11 rappers and singers who didn’t get away with sampling songs without permission.
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Back in April, OVO’s own faced a $300,000 lawsuit for not properly attributing the intro of his song “Pound Cake” from his third album, Nothing Was the Same. The lawsuit from the late musician’s estate claims that Drizzy didn’t give props to jazz musician Jimmy Smith for using his “Jimmy Smith Rap,” which was recorded in 1982.
Yeezy failed to get the permission from singer Ricky Spicer to use his voice on his Yeezus single “Bound 2” which led to him getting hit with a lawsuit. Spicer demanded either getting compensation or that Kanye cease and desist from using his voice. Spicer said he recorded the original vocals on a song called “Bound” in the ‘70s while in group The Ponderosa Twins Plus One and named Ye, Roc-A-Fella Records, Island Def Jam and Rhino Entertainment in his lawsuit.
Last year, Hova was sued by the deceased singer Eddie Bo’s estate for using his voice on the 2009 hit “Run This Town” featuring Rihanna and his (former?) BFF Kanye West. The lawsuit claims that Eddie Bo’s 1969 song “Hook and Sling Part 1” was used for the track without any authorization. This month Jay Z requested that the case be dismissed. After all, the only thing Jay took from the song was the word “Oh.”
In January, David Banner and Ludacris faced a copyright infringement lawsuit for allegedly using a sample from singer Tyrone Davis’ 1979 hit “Be With Me” for the 2010 song “Be With You.” Luda claims that there was no sample used and that the song is entirely original but Davis begged to differ.
In February, Frank Ocean was slapped with a lawsuit from TufAmerica for sampling Mary J. Blige’s hit “Real Love” for his song “Super Rich Kids” for his 2012 album, Channel Orange. The lawsuit also named Universal Music Group and Def Jam in the lawsuit saying that the "Defendants have failed and refused to secure a license from TufAmerica for its share of the rights to use 'Real Love' in “Super Rich Kids.” TufAmerica owns 3.15 percent of “Real Love” in case you were wondering.
Singer Carly Rae Jepsen was sued by Ukrainian singer Aza for sampling her Christmas song “Hunky Santa” for her 2012 hit “Call Me Maybe.” In the lawsuit, Aza claims that Carly Rae ripped off her whole song and just tweaked the lyrics.
Besides receiving backlash for the "Dark Horse" video, Katy Perry was also hit with a lawsuit from the Gospel rap group Flame. The St. Louis collective, which Christian rapper Lecrae was a part of, claimed that Perry sampled their song "Joyful Noise" that was released in 2008 without asking.
Singer Lee Hutson, who is the former lead singer of the 70s group The Impressions, sued the estate of the late Notorious B.I.G earlier this year for using a sample from his 1973 song “Can’t Say Enough About Mom” for his Method Man-assisted track “The What.”
Robert Poindexter of 70s singing group The Persuaders filed a lawsuit against 50 Cent in 2012 for using a sample from the group’s “Love Gonna Pack Up and Walk Out” for his 2009 song “Redrum.” The song was a mixtape titled Wardrum that Fif gave away for free online. Poindexter was demanding that he be paid $600,000 in punitive damages.
In 2013, gospel songwriters Clara Shepperd Warwick and Jimmy Lee Weary came for the bawse Rick Ross. Allegedly, Rozay sampled a song they wrote for Crowns of Glory called “I’m So Grateful (Keep in Touch)” for his 2012 song “3 Kings” from God Forgives, I Don’t. Weary claimed he was not contacted to be asked for permission nor was he compensated. The song also features Dr. Dre and Jay Z, who were also named in the suit.
Back in July, K. Dot was hit with a lawsuit from Woolfsongs Unlimited, who manages 80s act Eric Woolfson and his band The Aaron Parson Project. They claim that the Compton native used their 1982 track “Old and Wise” for Section.80’s “Keisha’s Song (Her Pain)” without acquiring the proper sampling rights. In September, another lawsuit popped up when musicians Eric Reed and Willie Jones III sued the good kid for allegedly using their song “The Thorn” for his 2011 track “Rigamortis”also from Section.80. The two said that Lamar used their song “The Thorn” and did not credit them or ask to use their song as a sample. Reed and Jones III are seeking all the rights and profits to “Rigamortis” along with $1 million.