Kanye West sued over claim of illegal sample on ‘Donda 2’

Rapper Kanye West gestures to the crowd as he holds his first rally in support of his presidential bid in North Charleston, South Carolina, U.S., July 19, 2020. Image: Reuters/Randall Hill

Rapper, producer and entrepreneur Kanye West, who legally changed his name to Ye last year, was sued on Wednesday for allegedly sampling a song by musician Marshall Jefferson without permission.

Ultra International Music Publishing LLC said “Flowers” from West’s album “Donda 2” includes a sample from Jefferson’s 1986 dance song “Move Your Body” that is repeated at least 22 times.

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Representatives for West and Ultra International, which owns the rights to the song, did not immediately respond to requests for comment, nor did West’s label Universal Music Group UMG.AS, which is not a party to the suit.

Jefferson is a pioneer of house music from West’s hometown of Chicago. According to the lawsuit, West and his representatives acknowledged during talks with Jefferson that “Flowers” sampled “Move Your Body,” but did not take a license.

“West advocates for artists’ rights with one hand, yet has no shame in taking away rights from another artist with the other,” the lawsuit said.

West released “Donda 2” in February exclusively through his Stem Player, a handheld device that allows users to isolate and recombine song parts.

Kano Computing Ltd, a British company that developed the Stem Player with West and is also named in the lawsuit, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.