Kanye’s refusal to clear samples has come back to bite him yet again, this time over an uncleared interpolation on his collaborative album with Pusha T, Daytona. Apparently, the song “Come Back Baby” from Daytona contains an unlicensed sample from late Southern soul singer George Jackson’s 2011 song “I Can’t Do Without You,” according to Alabama’s Times Daily and Pitchfork. According to the report, FAME Enterprises, Inc. has filed a lawsuit against Kanye, Pusha, and Def Jam and its parent label, UMG, for using the uncleared sample.
Intriguingly, Fame issued the copyright claim against the song back in 1969 when it was apparently originally recorded, despite the fact that it wasn’t officially released until 2011 when FAME began issuing shelved material from Jackson’s time at the label. Pitchfork quotes the lawsuit as claiming, “The worldwide rights to the sound recording ‘I Can’t Do Without You’ are 100% owned by FAME.”
The lawsuit also claims that FAME would not have licensed the sample in the first place because “Come Back Baby” is “about drug addiction and the money made from selling drugs,” and note that Kanye and his business partners “have a pattern and practice of willfully sampling sound recordings without consent or permission.”
Kanye is also being sued for a sample on his Kid Cudi collaboration Kids See Ghosts, a sample of a child praying on his Life Of Pablo song “Ultralight Beam,” and was previously sued over a sample on his Yeezus song “Bound 2,” so perhaps FAME has a point. For his part, Kanye maintains that he shouldn’t have to clear samples, a sentiment shared by some others in the hip-hop community. Unfortunately for them, hip-hop is still subject to US copyright law, so perhaps they should cooperate with that because arguing that’s just the way hip-hop works doesn’t seem to be a winning strategy.