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Kanye West Being Sued for Sampling Pastor’s Sermon in ‘Come to Live’ Without Permission

Ye
Peter Hutchins from DC, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Bishop David P. Moten is suing Kanye West, who is now legally named Ye, for sampling portions of a sermon Moten delivered at Joy of the Lord Worship Center in Victoria, Texas, as reported by Billboard.

Moten is arguing that portions of his sermon comprise roughly 20% of the track “Come to Live,” which appeared on Ye’s 2021 album “Donda.” 

Moten’s words, “My soul cries out ‘Hallelujah,’ and I thank God for saving me,” can be heard at the beginning of the track, with samples of other portions of the worship service, including the congregation’s response, throughout the song. Of the roughly five-minute song, Moten argues that the track utilizes the recording from his church for roughly one minute. 

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Throughout his musical career as a producer and rapper, Ye has often utilized samples of human voices in his tracks, creating unique combinations of sounds to rap over. His creativity has earned him 22 Grammys to date. 

However, Moten criticized Ye and and G.O.O.D. Music (the studio behind “Donda”) for “willfully and egregiously sampling sound recordings of others without consent or permission.”

“​​Defendants willfully and without the permission or consent of Plaintiff extensively sampled portions of the Sermon,” the lawsuit says, referring to Ye’s tendency to do so as an “alarming pattern and practice.”

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Moten is demanding a judgment against Ye “for disgorgement of profits, compensatory, consequential, incidental, and punitive damages in an amount to be determined by the trier of fact in this case, plus statutory fines, costs, interest and expenses.”

Ye has recently been the center of controversy on a number of occasions where his faith has intersected with his public persona. In October 2021, Ye featured singer Marilyn Manson at one of his Sunday Service events.

Manson, who named himself after Marilyn Monroe and Charles Manson, has long been outspokenly anti-Christian, is an honorary minister of the Church of Satan, and has also been the center of multiple sexual abuse allegations.

More recently, in March of this year, Ye came under sharp criticism for using a public prayer on Instagram to air his grievances with his former wife Kim Kardashian, discussing custody disputes, a confrontation with comedian Pete Davidson, whom Kardashian is currently dating, and even taking shots at Hillary Clinton and “Leftists” for being the ones who put “Black people in prison.”

“You know where to find me, they cannot define me, so they crucify me,” Ye sings in “Come to Life.”