Kendrick Lamar and The Weeknd have been hit with a copyright lawsuit filed by recently disbanded rock outfit Yeasayer and their label We Are Free. The duo have been accused of lifting elements of 2018’s “Pray for Me” from the band’s 2007 song, “Sunrise.”
The band claim that a “choral performance” from the 2007 track was illegally “extracted” and “slightly” modified for use in “Pray for Me,” according to legal documents obtained by Billboard.
“This material was specifically created for use in ‘Sunrise’ and is unique, comprised of male voices singing in their highest registers, with animated, pulsing vibrato and developed via distinctive audio post-processing,” the complaint added.
The suit also alleges that Lamar and The Weeknd altered the sample on purpose in order to hide their copyright infringement. Moreover, the plaintiffs also claim that Content Management Information (CMI) attached to “Sunrise” was also concealed to hide the sampling.
Yeasayer, which disbanded last December, and their record label We Are Free are seeking profits from the track as well as damages. Other defendants in the suit include “Pray for Me” songwriters Doc McKinney and Adam King Feeney, as well as labels Top Dawg Entertainment and Universal Music Group.
“Pray for Me” peaked at number seven on the Billboard Hot 100 back in 2018. The Black Panther soundtrack also included contributions from SZA, Schoolboy Q, Khalid, Jorja Smith, Future, Travis Scott and more.
Neither The Weeknd nor Lamar have responded publicly to the suit.