The Weeknd’s huge 2016 hit “Starboy,” produced by French electronic robot rock duo Daft Punk is allegedly plagiarized, according to a lawsuit filed by the Somali-American singer, songwriter, and poet named Yasminah, the author of the original 2009 song called “Hooyo.”
In the lawsuit obtained by TMZ, Yasminah states the similarities are “obvious”, and that both songs feature the “same hook, same key, and similar tempo.” She further claims both songs feature a “prominent clap” on beats 2 and 4.
The TMZ report notes that the legal documents refer to several blog posts that acknowledge the resemblance, as well as several thousand comments that agree with Yasminah. She stated in the suit that believes The Weeknd knew about her song because of it making the rounds in the East African community. The Weeknd was born in Canada but his parents are Ethiopian immigrants.
Yasminah’s music producers reportedly warned The Weeknd and Daft Punk that they would file a lawsuit over “Starboy” shortly after it was released two years ago, but the case never went to the courts because the producers opted for an out-of-court settlement instead. But now, Yasminah claims that she never got her portion of the money paid and is, therefore, suing the trio for “at least $5 million.” Republic Records is also named.
Here is Yasminah’s “Hooyo” below, followed by The Weeknd’s “Starboy.”
This is just the latest dispute in a long history of music plagiarism lawsuits. It’s not uncommon for an obscure artist to sue a more prominent star for allegedly stealing their beats.
The Weeknd, whose real name is Abel Makkonen Tesfaye, is a popular singer, songwriter, and record producer who started a buzz about himself when anonymously uploaded several songs to YouTube under the name “The Weeknd” in 2010 and released the critically acclaimed mixtapes House of Balloons, Thursday, and Echoes of Silence in 2011.
Helmet-clad retro-futurists Daft Punk is a French electronic music duo formed in Paris in 1993 by Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter. Their recent hits include “Get Lucky” and “Doin’ It Right” featuring Panda Bear.
In addition to writing music, Yasminah is a poet who releases her writings through Amazon Kindle.
Here is an excerpt from her book, The Sword of Love: “While in school, I fancied books and sugarless coffee while my friends sought love in the dark hours of the night. Dorm rooms were filled with weeping souls, begging to be consumed by love. To me, love was a great pitch to sell books and movie tickets. Before Nasiib, I hated love.”
There have been no statements released regarding the lawsuit from any of the parties involved as of yet.