It Pays to Be Friends

Kayne West and Kid Cudi

Actor Jamie Foxx sang the sample of “I’ve Got a Woman” on Kanye West’s “Gold Digger,” but he wasn’t West’s first choice.

Foxx was hired when Ray Charles’ estate refused to license his performance of “I’ve Got a Woman.” Foxx, having recently played Charles in a film biopic, was the obvious replacement. (Music nerds should download a copy of Jamie Boyle’s The Public Domain for a chapter-length history of this song.)

West has now sampled actor Ronald Oslin Bobb-Semple performing as political activist Marcus Garvey on his new song with Kid Cudi, “Freeee (Ghost Town, Pt. 2)”.

Yet, unlike Foxx’s Charles imitation, Bobb-Semple’s Garvey imitation was an unpaid inclusion. Now Bobb-Semple is suing. West and Cudi are claiming fair use.

Fair use? Maybe. Inconsistent behavior? Definitely.

COPYRIGHT MORAL: It literally pays to be friends with Kanye West.

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