An Ohio singer responsible for the 1971 song “Bound” has filed a lawsuit against Kanye West for sampling his original without permission.
The song in question, “Bound 2,” appears as the final track on West’s latest album, Yeezus, and was released as the album’s second single this past August. The song received a popular set of accompanying visuals featuring the rapper and his wife Kim Kardashian which was spoofed by comedians James Franco and Seth Rogen and separately on the adult animated sitcom South Park. “Bound 2” peaked at #12 on Billboard’s Top 100 and at #3 on the company’s list of Hot R&B/Hip Hop songs earlier this year.
As per a report from the New York Daily News, Ricky Spicer, the Ohio man whose voice, as a part of the group Ponderosa Twins Plus One, is sampled on “Bound 2,” has filed an official lawsuit against Kanye West and his label for the unauthorized sample. The original song, which can be streamed via Youtube below, was recorded when Spicer was twelve years old.
As per the Daily News’ article, “Spicer is demanding that West compensate him or cease and desist from using his voice. Besides West, the suit names recording labels Roc-A-Fella Records, Island Def-Jam Music, Rhino Entertainment and Universal Music Group as defendants.”
The Daily News’ article also cites the suit’s reference to the sample’s recognizability on Kanye West’s “Bound 2.” “Mr. Spicer’s voice is sampled exactly as he recorded it and his voice…is heard several times,” the suit, which was reportedly filed Monday (December 23) in a Manhattan Supreme Court, says. The vocal portion in question—in which Spicer sings “fallin’ in love” throughout the song’s refrain—appears repeatedly in West’s song. Some sources, including TVGuide.com, have speculated that the Chicago producer was unaware of the sample’s illegal use on his latest hit.
West, whose early legacy was built on his prominent sampling of Soul music like Spicer’s “Bound,” has faced legal backlash in the form of copyright infringement suits for samples on his previous material as well. Late last year, TufAmerica, a separate record label, reportedly brought a suit against the rapper for an uncleared sample pulled from New Orleans singer Eddie Bo’s 1969 song “Hook and Sling, Part 1,” which appeared on two songs from My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.