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Kanye West sued over prayer sample

By | Published on Monday 11 February 2019

Kanye West

While Kanye West proceeds with litigation against both his record company and his music publisher, he’s also got some defending to do after he was sued last week over a sample in his 2016 track ‘Ultralight Beam’, which appears on his ‘The Life Of Pablo’ album.

The first track on the ‘Pablo’ LP opens with the voice of a young child in prayer. The sample was taken from an Instagram video uploaded by the child’s mother in early 2016.

West’s people did approach the mother, Alice T Johnson, about sampling the audio from her Instagram post. However, last week’s lawsuit has been filed by the child’s adoptive parents, Andrew and Shirley Green, who say that Johnson didn’t actually have the authority to allow the girl’s voice to be used in the record.

Even if she did, the lawsuit alleges, conversations between Team West and Johnson were only ever verbal and a fee for the use of the sample was never agreed. Meanwhile, a promised written agreement never arrived with either Johnson or the Greens. Further talks with the West camp have since occurred, the Greens confirm, but as yet no agreement has been reached.

According to Law 360, the legal papers state: “While a new representative of defendant West has recently made contact with the [Greens] to negotiate a licensing agreement for the Green samples, the parties have not been able to reach an agreement. Due to the potential expiration of legal deadlines, the [Greens] were forced to file this suit to protect their rights”.