MMG Is Suing Kendrick Lamar For Bill Withers Sample

As previously reported on the Inquisitr, “Kendrick Lamar has had a fantastic last few years.” With two platinum records (Good Kid, m.A.A.d City and To Pimp A Butterfly), and a host of other accolades (“Best New Artist,” “Lyricist of the Year,” and many more), Lamar has seen an almost unprecedented amount of success in such a short amount of time. However, it seems the Compton native’s skyrocketing success is now under fire. Kendrick Lamar is being sued over a sample. Okay, it’s a little more complex than that.

TMZ states the Mattie Music Group is suing Kendrick Lamar for the unauthorized use of a Bill Withers’ track. MMG (Mattie Music Group, not Rick Ross’ Maybach Music Group) claims they own the rights to Bill Withers’ song “Don’t Want You To Stay.” In a new lawsuit filed by the company, they posit that Mr. Kendrick Lamar’s “I Do This” — featured on his 2009 self-titled EP, and remixed on his 2010 breakout mixtape, Overly Dedicated— “consists of nothing more than new rap and hip hop lyrics set to the existing music of ‘Don’t Want You To Stay.'”

Now, if we know how rap and hip-hop works, we understand that artists [almost] always sample tracks from existing songs to create either a) a new rendition of the song itself or b) construct a new beat from a loop of the track they are sampling. Sampling has been done before Yeezus entered the game, but ‘Ye, in a way, polarized sampling. His 2004 double platinum debut record, The College Dropout, solidified sampling as a means of revitalizing old school sounds for a new generation. After the acceptance of West’s LP, many artists began to follow suit in a variety of ways. Some artists sampled correctly, other artists sampled poorly. I suppose in the case of Kendrick Lamar, he sampled poorly. (And, apparently, without permission.) Though extremely similar, it’s difficult to discern whether Kendrick blatantly ripped off the Bill Withers track.

Give both a listen, and tell me if Lamar ripped Withers off at all.

Although no further information has been given at this time, MMG is suing for damages (not sure how much yet), and is demanding Kendrick Lamar to stop using the Withers track. Complex, Pitchfork, and TMZ have reached out to both parties for comment.

[Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images]