Kendrick Lamar is at the top of the rap world at the moment. He’s beloved both critically and commercially, To Pimp a Butterfly was considered by many to be the top album of 2015, and he has seven Grammys to his name. However, with this kind of recognition, generally you end up with more stress and hassles as well. Lamar finds himself in a tricky situation at the moment, as he has been sued for using a Bill Withers sample without permission.
Lamar is being sued by Mattie Music Group, who says they own the rights to Withers’ 1975 song “Don’t You Want To Stay.” They are claiming that Lamar’s song “I Do This,” from his 2009 release Kendrick Lamar EP, “consists of nothing more than new rap and hip-hop lyrics set to the existing music of ‘Don’t You Want to Stay.’ ” Mattie Music Group is seeking damages, and for Lamar to no longer use the song.
“I Do This” was produced by Sounwave, who is one of the in-house producers for Top Dawg Entertainment, the record label that has released essentially everything Lamar has ever done. Arguably, they are as much, if not more, to blame for this, if the claims are true. However, Lamar is the name on the song, and he’s the star so, of course, he finds himself with a lawsuit at his feet. It remains to be seen how Lamar, and TDE, will decide to handle this.