Kanye West is facing a copyright lawsuit over allegations that his song ‘Life Of The Party’ samples a track from Boogie Down Productions 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 of the hip-hop group’s 1987 track ‘South Bronx’.
The lawsuit alleges that West initially requested permission to sample “South Bronx” in July of last year, but withdrew this request in November 2021, after both parties failed to agree on an authorized use of the song. At that time, the rapper had already released ‘DONDA’, which arrived in August 2021 along with his luxurious songs.
According to rolling stone, the lawsuit cites ‘Life Of The Party’s’ “exact reproduction” of the ‘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 the Stem Player, and requests that further use of the song be blocked.
“By unlawfully including ‘South Bronx’ in the infringing track and authorizing the distribution of the infringing track through the Stem Player and its associated website, all defendants consented to the widespread distribution of the infringing track,” court documents state.
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 mentioned is Stem Player CEO and co-founder Alex Klein, who West has partnered with to launch the device in 2021. A STEM spokesperson said in response to the lawsuit rolling stone, “We have just heard about this claim, and we are now investigating it.”
“The KANO and STEM team have been assured by Kanye and Yeezy that they will provide music with ‘all intellectual property rights, licenses and permissions.’ This was important to us because STEM was built from the ground up to be a more fair and immersive medium than the current music business. On STEM, creators fully own and control their own work, pricing, rights and distribution,” the spokesperson said.
The ‘South Bronx’ lawsuit comes amid a slew of other legal battles aimed at West in recent months. Earlier this year, he faced two lawsuits related to ‘DONDA’ copyright infringement on the songs ‘Flowers’ and ‘Come to Life’. In July, West was sued by an LA production company over claims of unpaid fees related to his ‘Donda 2’ live stream and his canceled Coachella 2022 appearance, among other things.
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 October interview.