The family of David Pryor is suing rapper Kanye West for allegedly using unlicensed samples on his hit record “Gold Digger.” The 2005 hit received much buzz from its obvious sample of Ray Charles’ “I Got a Woman.”
The children of Pryor, who is now deceased, accused West of sampling a very small part of the song “Bumpin’ Bus Stop,” which was written and sang by Pryor and his band Thunder & Lightning in 1974.
Trena Steward and Lorenzo Pryor claim that when listening carefully, Pryor can be heard singing “Get Down” three times, echoing West singing, “Get down girl, go head, get down” 13 seconds into the song.
Steward and Pryor each own one-quarter of the song and have asked a judge to put a halt on the sale of the song. They have also asked for “millions of dollars” in damages for the allegedly unlicensed sample.
According to AllHipHop, the lawsuit accuses West and various labels of engaging in a 15-year “illegal copyright infringement scheme and criminal enterprise involving the unauthorized, willful sampling of plaintiffs original copyrighted music on a massive scale.” Other labels including Roc-a-Fella Records, Bad Boy Records, Stones Throw Records, Bomb Hip-Hop Records, Autumn Games, Activision, Caroline Distribution and Island Def Jam Music Group have been named in the suit.
This is not the first time West has been sued for using unlicensed samples. Most recently, he was sued in September 2012 by New York label TufAmerica, who claimed that West illegally used portions of a 1969 song by New Orleans legend Eddie Bo on his 2010 album “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.”
TufAmerica said West’s then label Roc-A-Fella paid a $62,500 license fee but “failed and refused to enter into written license agreements that accounted for their multiple other uses of [‘Hook and Sling’].”
Similarly in 2010, West was sued by Vincent Peters over a copyright dispute for his “Stronger.” West’s legal counsel referenced the works of philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, whose saying “that which does not kill us makes us stronger” is quoted in the song. The court ruled in the rapper’s favor.