As Pitchfork reports, the lawsuit was brought by Don Lee and Glen Keith DeMeritt III, who claim ‘Rodeo’ is “substantially similar” to a recording they made titled ‘gwenXdonlee4-142’. Nas X and his collaborators “did not receive permission from Plaintiffs to interpolate, sample, use, or copy the Work”, the lawsuit reads, and “created an unauthorized copy and/or derivative work from Plaintiffs’ original material.”
According to the lawsuit, ‘gwenXdonlee4-142’ was incorporated into the 2017 song ‘Broad Day’ by PuertoReefa and Sakrite Duexe. That song was “performed, published, and distributed widely, including without limitation in and around the Atlanta hip-hop scene”, the producers say. Watch the video for ‘Broad Day’ below:
Both ‘Rodeo’ and ‘Broad Day’, Lee and DeMeritt argue, use similar instruments and drumbeats, and are “structured with a 4-measure phrase outlining the chord progression E, F, G, F, E”, Pitchfork reports.
Nas X has not responded to the lawsuit, though yesterday he did post a humorous meme hinting that ‘Rodeo’ was going to be the next single from his ‘7’ EP, following the monster hit ‘Old Town Road’ and ‘Panini’:
— nope (@LilNasX) October 6, 2019
The ‘Rodeo’ lawsuit comes after Fiona Apple semi-jokingly called Nas X out for sampling her song ‘Every Single Night’ on the song ‘Kim Jong’ from his ‘Nasarati’ mixtape without her permission. The ‘dispute’ was amicably resolved after Nas X said he and Apple should collaborate – an offer that the singer-songwriter accepted.
Nas X hasn’t been the only high-profile artist recently hit by allegations of copyright infringement. In August, Katy Perry and her collaborators on the song ‘Dark Horse’ were ordered to pay more than £2million in damages after they were ruled to have copied the underlying beat of an older rap song – a verdict they called a “travesty of justice”. In September, a copyright case centering on Led Zeppelin’s classic ‘Stairway To Heaven’ returned to the courts.