One of Hip Hop's most acclaimed producers is taking a Japanese pianist to court over claims of sample infringement.
Billboard reports that RZA is suing Japanese actress/musician Meiko Kaji and Teichiku Entertainment over claims that he illegally sampled Kaji's "Gincyo Watadori" on Kanye West's 2010 song "Dark Fantasy." The Wu-Tang Clan producer/emcee contends that he did not sample the song in question and has been denied payment by West's label Def Jam as a result.
The suit initially began when Def Jam withheld RZA's $50,000 royalty check for the song basis that, "it is entitled to indemnification from plaintiff against defendant's copyright infringement claim." RZA's legal representative Howard King explained that the plaintiff's claim is false, and that it would have been impossible to use the sample without including other elements Kaji's original song.
"RZA did not use Teichiku’s piano run, and it sounds different from the one in 'Dark Fantasy,' " explained King. "In fact, it would have been technologically impossible to sample the piano run without the rest of the music in 'Gincyo Watadori,' and the piano run in 'Gincyo' is so simple that the least talented person in the studio could have replayed it had anyone wished to do so."
In addition to this latest legal battle, RZA faces a lawsuit for unpaid royalties from Dutch singer Thea Van Siejaen. RZA's Wu-Tang partners Ghostface Killah and Raekwon were also recently sued for copyright infringement over songs featured on their respective albums, Supreme Clientele and Only Built 4 Cuban Linx…Pt. 2.