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House Musician Marshall Jefferson Sues Ye Over ‘Donda 2’ Sample

Photo Credit: Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images

Chicago house and deep house musician Marshall Johnson is suing Ye for an unauthorized sampling of 1986 hit “Move Your Body.”

House legend Marshall Johnson is going after Ye. From the rapper-mogul’s latest album Donda 2, track “Flowers” samples Johnson’s 1986 song “Move Your Body,” which Johnson claims the sample was unauthorized.

On Wednesday (June 29), a complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court in New York against Ye over his sampling of “Move Your Body” (a.k.a. “The House Music Anthem”). The suit was filed on behalf of Marshall’s publisher Ultra International Music Publishing (UIMP) who claims that the artist formerly known as Kanye West “continue[s] to willfully infringe in blatant disregard of UIMP’s rights of ownership.”

“I’ve been sampled thousands of times. There is a right way and a wrong way to go about it,” Jefferson told BBC Radio 1’s Newsbeat. “Getting done by another artist, a Black artist, a fellow Chicagoan without acknowledgment is disappointing.”

The lawsuit also names Alex Klein, co-creator of the Stem Player, the minimal $200 device where fans can listen to Donda 2 exclusively. UIMP is also seeking profits from Klein’s company Kano Computing Limited, along with damages, cease in distribution and a jury trial.

Released earlier this year, Ye claimed that fans had purchased 11,000 Stem Players within one day of Donda 2‘s release, amounting to $2.2 million in sales. The handheld device allows users to customize how they listen to music, from isolating various elements to giving listeners a range of mixing possibilities. Donda 2 is still unavailable on music streaming platforms like Apple Music, Spotify and Tidal.

“Today artists get just 12% of the money the industry makes,” Ye said at the time. “It’s time to free music from the oppressive system. It’s time to take control and build our own.”

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