Kanye West free to use uncleared Backstreet Boys sample
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Kanye West free to use uncleared Backstreet Boys sample

Chicago rapper, producer and entrepreneur Kanye West may be able to release a track using an uncleared Backstreet Boys sample. The snippet of the boyband’s 1997 hit ‘Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)’ has not been cleared and, due to technicalities, may get released without contest.

Kanye West has recently been previewing tracks from his upcoming collaborative album with Ty Dollar $ign and, on December 9th, took to the DJ decks at Art Basel in Miami to play some snippets of new music, starting an impromptu listening session. Following the event, clips of the party quickly circulated on social media.

West has also previewed tracks at another soirée. One of the songs the beatmaker played at a listening party with Ty Dolla $ign at Wynwood Marketplace in Miami was ‘Everybody’.

The song features an interpolation of the Backstreet Boys hit and a recreated chorus from Charlie Wilson, who joins West, Ty Dolla $ign, and Lil Baby on the track. Instead of directly sampling the anthem, West re-created the chorus with the help of Charlie Wilson.

A direct sample of the song would require permission from both a record label and a publisher. Still, because the music has been re-created and re-sung by another artist, it is treated as a cover, which means West will only need the green light from the track’s publishers.

However, those involved in the writing and producing of the original song, Max Martin and the late Deniz Pop’s estate, have not yet stepped in to take action against West.

According to Variety, as Kanye has not put out the song or made any money from it, he has the right to play it. However, an official release may constitute a copyright violation. West and Ty Dollar $ign’s project is expected to drop on December 15th.

Listen to ‘Everybody’ below.