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Kendrick Lamar accused of song-theft over Loyalty

By | Published on Tuesday 25 August 2020

Kendrick Lamar - Damn

Another day, another song-theft lawsuit in the US. Kendrick Lamar has been sued by musician Terrance Hayes (not to be confused with the poet of the same name), who accuses the rapper of ripping off one of his songs on the 2017 Grammy-winning Rihanna-featuring track ‘Loyalty’.

Hayes’ 2011 song was also called ‘Loyalty’. But, it’s worth noting, he reckons the similarity between the two tracks goes somewhat further than just the title.

Lamar’s song “copied substantial qualitative and quantitative portions” of the earlier work, Hayes’ lawsuit claims, with “substantially similar note combinations and structures, melodies, themes, rhythm, and kick and snare patterns”.

Not only that, the lawsuit goes on, but Lamar and his creative team slowed down Hayes’ original composition “through a synthesiser” and then “combined it with another sample to disguise the copying”. Sneaky.

Beyond the alleged similarities between the tracks, Hayes does also have a loose link to the Lamar record. He previously collaborated with producer Josef Leimberg, who in turn collaborated with musician and producer Terrace Martin during recording sessions for Lamar’s 2015 album ‘To Pimp A Butterfly’. And Martin was then also involved in the production of Lamar’s ‘Loyalty’.

Hayes met Martin at Leimberg’s recording studio, the lawsuit claims, meaning he was aware of the plaintiff’s work. Much of which, including his song ‘Loyalty’, was stored on Leimberg’s studio computer.

It’s a bit convoluted, but that’s how Hayes reckons that Lamar’s creative team had access to his ‘Loyalty’ when making the other ‘Loyalty’. We now await a response from Team Lamar.