As Travis Scott prepares to defend himself from an avalanche of lawsuits from Astroworld survivors, another lawsuit has cropped up across the Atlantic. According to TMZ, a French artist, Mickaël Mehala — also known as Black Childish — is suing Travis over artwork from the compilation project Travis La Flame. Mehala’s painting depicting Travis as a centaur in a desert landscape was used as the cover, but Mehala says he did not give the rapper permission to do so.
According to Mehala, he created the painting in 2015 and DMed it to Travis in 2016, when the project was released. The painter never heard back but was surprised to see the artwork used as the cover. He says he registered a copyright in 2019 and has since tried to contact Travis and his management, only to be contacted by an attorney for the rapper who told him Travis was unaware that the art belonged to anyone. The project has since been removed from streaming platforms, but Mehala wants “hundreds of thousands” in restitution for the years it was in use and sole control of its use going forward.
Meanwhile, Complex notes that the compilation may not even be an official Travis Scott release and as we’ve seen before, artists’ projects have been uploaded to DSPs without their knowledge or consent in the past. Considering that Travis La Flame is made up of older tracks of Travis’ — including several from his Days Before Rodeo mixtape, it’s possible that this is the case here. Of course, Travis has been accused of plagiarism and unauthorized use of artwork in the past, so it looks like we’ll have to wait to see what a court thinks.
Update: In a statement responding to the above story, Travis’ attorney Ed McPherson wrote, “This is a frivolous and baseless filing which will almost certainly be thrown out once it has its day in court. Anyone with access to the internet could tell you that Travis never released an album named La Flame. The illustration in question was fan-made and was uploaded to streaming services by fans, something any user has the option of doing. Streaming services quickly removed it after realizing people were trying to pass this off as a real album cover. We look forward to dismissing this case entirely.”