The parents of the little girl whose voice was used in one of Kanye West’s songs say in a new lawsuit that the rapper didn’t seek proper permission for the audio and they never received any payment.
In the beginning of “Ultralight Beam,” a song from Kanye West’s 2016 album The Life of Pablo, a little girl can be heard saying “We don’t want no devils in this house, we want the Lord.”
The audio clip originated in an Instagram video, which the lawsuit describes as then-toddler Natalie Green “praying over” one of the defendants in the case.
N.G., as the child is referred to in the suit, and Samoria Green’s responses can be heard in the final version of the song.
The Instagram video went viral in early 2016, and according to the lawsuit, one of West’s representatives sought permission to use the audio in February 2016, seemingly days before West played the song at a Madison Square Garden listening party and announced Life of Pablo was available for streaming while performing “Ultralight Beam” on Saturday Night Live’s February 13 episode
However, the suit, which was first reported by TMZ, says the child’s legal parents adopted Natalie in 2012, six years before the song’s 2016 debut. In seeking permission for the clip, Kanye’s representatives sought permission from the child’s birth mother Alice Johnson, who was not the child’s legal guardian.
The suit also says that though Johnson was not legally able to grant permission, she never received a written license agreement or any money for the sample from West’s team.
The Greens are seeking part of the song’s profits and other damages.
This is the latest legal trouble for West, who last month landed in hot water with a supplier that claims he didn’t pay for over $600,000 of fabric he ordered for his fashion label Yeezy.