Kendrick Lamar is facing a lawsuit over his Rihanna collaboration “Loyalty” from 2017’s DAMN. album. According to documents obtained by Music Business Worldwide, a musician named Terrance Hayes claims K. Dot’s song heavily lifted elements from a Hayes recording also called “Loyalty.”
The suit accuses producer Terrace Martin of having access to Hayes’ version of “Loyalty” through Josef Leimberg. Although Leimburg isn’t credited as one of the artists behind Lamar’s “Loyalty,” he is a collaborator of Martin and has contributed to K. Dot’s music before. Martin, Leimberg and Top Dawg Entertainment are listed as defendants in the suit.
Hayes says he created his song “Loyalty” with Leimberg at Ironworx Creative Recordings studio and registered it with the United States Copyright Office in 2011. But he notes his recordings were stored on Leimberg’s computer, which is how he’s accused Martin of stealing from his work.
“Plaintiff believes and herein alleges that Martin had access to the Subject Track through Leimberg, who was his close music collaborator,” the suit reads. “Subsequently Martin and Doe Defendants copied the entire composition, including title, melody, harmony and rhythm from the Subject Track into the Infringing Song, and slowed it down through a synthesizer and combined it with another sample to disguise the copying.”
Despite the alleged use of several portions of Hayes’ “Loyalty,” he contends no one sought to obtain his permission or offer him compensation. He is seeking all profits from Lamar’s “Loyalty,” whatever amount of losses he incurred and “any other monetary advantage gained by the Defendants through their infringement.”
Hayes hasn’t specified the exact number in terms of compensation, but he aims to prove the sum at a trial. View the entire lawsuit via Music Business Worldwide here.
Revisit K. Dot and Rihanna’s “Loyalty” music video below.