The upcoming Kendrick Lamar and J. Cole collaboration album, possibly entitled Out The Sky, may not be making an appearance this year due to Kendrick’s current legal battles. However, Kendrick previously hinted the release will remain a surprise, similar to Beyoncé’s self-titled 2013 album: “We gon’ drop that out the sky. I ain’t gonna give no dates, no nothing. I’m just gonna let it fall.”
The Grammy-winning rapper is being sued for the unauthorized sampling of Bill Withers’ 1975 single “Don’t You Want To Stay” on his track “I Do This” from his self-titled 2013 EP. The suit, filed by Mattie Music Group, claims the Compton lyricist copied the existing musical composition of “Don’t You Want To Stay,” with the only difference being his bars over the top. The lawsuit also alleges Kendrick openly admitted to plagiarizing the song and didn’t take the claims very seriously.
There’s also a second copyright infringement case hanging over King Kendrick’s head. Poet Sameerah Satterthwaite apparently wants $200m in compensation for the themes of her poem “Revolutionary Women” being used on Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly album. Sameerah claims that she recited the poem for him in November 2014 in Philadelphia and the pair then had a lengthy discussion about making a track. During this discussion Kendrick allegedly told Sameerah that he would “look out for me if I made him rich,” which she took to be a binding verbal agreement.
Her statement goes on to reference the emotionally-charged track “Alright” from #TPAB, where he uses her surname—“Satterthwaite turn that s**t up”—and then spits, “R.I.P., my diligence is to only write your eulogy” in the extended video version of the song. She wants him to “cease and desist all profit earned” or compensate her for “slandering her with the ‘R.I.P.’ line.” The angered poet also has her eye on one of the five Grammy awards he received for the project. Yikes.
These two cases aren’t the first instances of Lamar being taken to court for the unauthorized use of material, previous legal squabbles involved a freelance photographer and Eric Woolfson. For his part, J Cole is excited about the forthcoming album: “It’s coming. We already got too many songs. Even if you just get an EP, you gonna get something, but we got sh*t that we holding in the stash.” He’s not the only one. Hopefully these disagreements get squashed soon so that we can FINALLY hear what these two conscious wordsmiths have up their sleeves. Stay tuned.