The now-defunct Brooklyn band Yeasayer has filed a lawsuit against the Weeknd, Kendrick Lamar and others claiming their 2018 Black Panther soundtrack collaboration “Pray for Me” infringes on the band’s 2007 track, “Sunrise,” Pitchfork reports.
In the suit, Yeasayer — which broke up last December — said that “Pray for Me” contains an uncredited sample of “Sunrise” that’s described as “a distinctive choral performance… comprised of male voices singing in their highest registers, with animated, pulsing vibrato, and developed via distinctive audio post-processing.” The band alleges that the Weeknd, Lamar and the rest of the creative team behind “Pray for Me” took this snippet of “Sunrise,” manipulated it and made it a “material and substantial portion” of “Pray for Me.”
Along with Lamar and the Weekend, Yeasayer’s suit names “Pray for Me” producers Doc McKinney and Frank Dukes as defendants. In the suit, Yeasayer alleged that the “Pray for Me” creative team “created an unauthorized derivative work” from “Sunrise” by “keeping the same number of voices in the same configuration, brightening the material, and temporarily condensing the copied portion while generally retaining the original’s pulsing vibrato.” It states that this snippet appears at least eight times in “Pray for Me,” and the suit describes the alleged sample as “the primary feature of two complete verses, including the final verse.”
The suit also claims that “despite the processing,” the snippet is still “recognizable” as coming from “Sunrise,” and that the creative team behind “Pray for Me” “modified the portion they copied from ‘Sunrise’ with the intent to conceal the infringement.” Yeasayer are seeking undisclosed amount in damages and profits from “Pay for Me,” as well as an injunction to stop sales and licensing of the song. Representatives for the Weeknd, Yeasayer and Lamar did not immediately return requests for comment.
The Weeknd, Kendrick Lamar — “Pray for Me”
Yeasayer — “Sunrise”