Last week, two separate lawsuits landed in Kanye West’s lap. One came from EMI Music Publishing, for breach of contract, and the other from a singer who claimed West, Kid Cudi and Ty Dolla $ign sampled a song of his without permission for a Kids See Ghosts track.
West sued EMI late in January, claiming that the deal he signed with them in 2003 is tantamount to “servitude” and a violation of California law. Details of his deal reveal that West is contractually barred from retiring.
Last Thursday, according to The Hollywood Reporter, EMI responded with a breach-of-contract lawsuit of its own. It claims that West’s contract has a clause that provides exclusive jurisdiction in New York, as well as a clause stipulating that any controversy will be adjudicated under New York law. That would effectively disqualify West’s lawsuit, which is premised on California’s laws regulating personal services contracts.
But this pickle with EMI isn’t all West has to worry about: The Blast reported that last week, a man named Ronald Oslin Bobb-Semple sued West, Kid Cudi and Ty Dolla $ign over “Freeee (Ghost Town Pt 2),” from West and Cudi’s joint 2018 album, Kids See Ghosts.
Bobb-Semple claimed that his voice appears in the “introductory words” of the song without his permission, via an unauthorized sample of “The Spirit of Marcus Garvey,” a 2002 recording of his. He’s seeking damages, as well as an injunction against the musicians and their labels to stop them from profiting off his work.
But fans have pointed out that it seems to be an interview Garvey himself gave about his trial for mail fraud—a speech that Bobb-Semple appeared to have quoted from in his recording—that was sampled at the beginning of “Freeee (Ghost Town Pt 2).”