Jay Z is being sued for copyright infringement for allegedly sampling late R&B singer Eddie Bo’s 1969 single “Hook & Sling Part 1” without permission.
New York-based record label TufAmerica claims Jay Z sampled “Hook & Sling Part 1” in his 2009 Grammy-winning hit “Run This Town,” featuring Rihanna and Kanye West. Jay Z released “Run This Town” as the second single from his eleventh studio album, The Blueprint 3. The song reached number two on the US Billboard Hot 100.
According to Complex, West — who produced the single — sampled “Someday in Athens” by Greek band The 4 Levels of Existence in “Run This Town.” There is no mention of “Hook & Sling Part 1.”
According to Rolling Stone, TufAmerica sued Kanye West for sampling the same song on his 2010 Grammy-winning album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. The label claims that West sampled “Hook & Sling Part 1” on the songs “Lost in the World” and “Who Will Survive in America,” as well as the clip for “Runaway.”
At the time, TufAmerica claimed that West’s labels paid a licensing fee but “failed and refused to enter into written license agreements that accounted for their multiple other uses of [‘Hook and Sling’].”
Justin Timberlake also sampled “Hook & Sling Part 1” on “SexyBack,” and LL Cool J sampled the song on “Mama Said Knock You Out.”
TufAmerica also filed a lawsuit against the Beastie Boys, claiming that the group used a Trouble Funk sample on their albums Licensedto Ill and Paul’s Boutique. The record label filed their claim one day before the death of Adam Yauch, also known as MCA. Yauch died on May 4, 2012, after a three-year battle with salivary gland cancer. He was 47.
Jay Z recently came under fire over his Barney’s partnership after the luxury retailer was accused of racial profiling. Two young black customers were stopped by police after making purchases at the store. Trayon Christian, 19, was stopped after buying a $349 Ferragamo belt, and 21-year-old Kayla Phillips was stopped after buying a $2,500 Celine handbag.
Jay Z, who didn’t comment on the situation right away, wrote on his website that he wanted to have the full facts before making a decision.
“Why am I being demonized, denounced and thrown on the cover of a newspaper for not speaking immediately,” the 43-year-old rapper wrote. “The negligent, erroneous reports and attacks on my character, intentions, and the spirit of this collaboration have forced me into a statement I didn’t want to make without the full facts.”