Kanye West is being sued over claims that one of his tracks ‘Life Of The Party’ on his Donda album features an unauthorised sample of a Boogie Down Productions track. ‘Life Of The Party’ was released on the Stem Player as part of the deluxe edition of Donda and featured Andre 3000.
However, Phase One Network, which oversees the management of Boogie Down’s catalogue, has claimed that West’s song uses several elements of the iconic hip-hop collective’s 1987 tune, ‘South Bronx’. Allegedly, West had asked for permission to use their track in July 2021 but later withdrew the request in November of that year, by which point Donda had already been released.
The lawsuit argues that ‘Life Of The Party’ directly replicates the horn sections, drum fill and other melodic elements, which is a clear case of copyright infringement. Furthermore, it claims that Kanye had used ‘Life Of The Party’ in order to promote Donda and the Stem Player, so the song ought to be blocked from further playing.
The court documents read, “By illegally incorporating ‘South Bronx’ into the Infringing Track and authorising the distribution of the Infringing Track through the Stemplayer and its associated website, all Defendants have allowed for the widespread distribution of the Infringing Track and have direct financial interest in the same.”
Among the defendants are West himself, G.O.O.D. Music, Universal, Def Jam and Stem Player CEO Alex Klein. A spokesperson for Stem said, “We just heard about this claim, and we are investigating it now. The Stem team were assured by Kanye and Yeezy that they would provide music with ‘all intellectual property rights, licences and consents’. This was important to us, because Stem is built from the ground up to be a more fair and immersive medium than the current music business. On Stem, creators own and control their own work, pricing, rights, and distribution in full.”