Kendrick Lamar is being sued for his Rihanna-assisted hit, “Loyalty,” for copyright infringement.
When you think of a hit song, you most likely immediately associate it with the artist who recorded it. However, there are often many hands that a track must pass through before becoming a finished product. Writers and producers all play a part in crafting a hit record, and everyone shares the responsibility of following certain legal and ethical standards when creating new work.
According to a lawsuit recently filed against Kendrick Lamar’s label, Top Dawg Entertainment, those standards were not met when it comes to the song “Loyalty” featuring Rihanna from his 2017 album DAMN. Producers Terrace Martin and Josef Leimberg are also named as defendants in the case.
According to Music Business Worldwide, court documents filed by musician Terrance Hayes claim that the Lamar song used a recording of a Hayes track, also titled “Loyalty”. According to the suit, Terrace Martin allegedly had access to the track through his former collaborator, Josef Leimberg. Leimberg is not listed as a contributor in the credits of Kendrick’s “Loyalty”, but he does have a history of working with Martin and on K. Dot tracks. According to Hayes, his 2011 recording of his original version of “Loyalty” was stored on Leimberg’s computer and accessed without his permission to build the instrumentation for Kendrick’s song.
The suit alleges, “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.” Hayes and his legal team are pursuing compensation for this alleged property theft, including all profits from Kendrick Lamar’s “Loyalty,” as well as “any other monetary advantage gained by the Defendants through their infringement.” A specific amount has not been stated so far, and Kendrick and his team have yet to comment on the accusations.