Texas pastor sues Kanye West for sampling part of his sermon on recent album

Kanye West performs onstage during his 'Jesus Is King' album and film experience at The Forum on October 23, 2019, in Inglewood, California.
Kanye West performs onstage during his "Jesus Is King" album and film experience at The Forum on October 23, 2019, in Inglewood, California. | Kevin Winter/Getty Images for ABA

A Texas pastor is suing Kanye West in federal court, claiming the entertainer used part of his sermon on his latest album without his permission.

Bishop David Paul Moten of the Joy of the Lord Worship Center in Victoria filed a lawsuit against West, G.O.O.D Music, Def Jam Recordings and UMG Recordings alleging that a portion of his sermon is featured in the song "Come to Life" from West's Grammy-nominated 2021 album Donda.

The lawsuit was filed last week in the U.S. District Court in Dallas. Moten claims West used his preaching for 70 seconds in the song "Come to Life" without his permission.

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"Come to Life," produced by West, Jeff Bhasker, Warryn Campbell, Mark Williams and Raul Cubina, highlights how West felt when married to Kardashian.

“My soul cries out hallelujah and I thank God for saving me,” the preacher is heard saying at the beginning of the track. At one point, he is heard praying for someone to be “loosed” of evil.

Moten's attorneys with the Smith & Smith Law Group argue that in the five-minute track, approximately one minute and 10 seconds of the minister's content is sampled in the song.

The sample of the sermon is played on a loop during the tune's pre-chorus and chorus, the complaint states.

The lawsuit contends that West has demonstrated a pattern of "willfully and egregiously sampling sound recordings of others without consent or permission."

West nor his management team have responded to the accusations. 

This is not the first time Donda has been the subject of controversy. 

In September 2021, singer Bri Babineaux, a popular gospel singer who had several videos go viral, says she didn't give West approval to use samples of her vocals featured on the Donda album either.

“Thank you to everyone who congratulated me on the #Donda album,” she wrote on Instagram following the surprise release. “However, I had no knowledge of this beforehand.”

Babineaux, who recently had her first child, said she received messages congratulating her for being included in the song, “Lord I need You.”

“Lord sometimes I feel like I can’t make it, Lord sometimes I just feel like I can’t go on. But Lord I need you to wrap your arms around me,” she sings. 

Donda, which is filled with messages of West’s Christian faith, topped several music charts, including Amazon and iTunes.

“It would’ve been nice to know before the album came out smh…” Babineaux added in her since-deleted post. “Who does that voice sound like to y’all? #Donda.”

However, the original composer of the gospel song “Make Me Over,” B. Slade, announced shortly after Babineaux's post that West contacted him for approval. B. Slade said that Babineaux never asked him if she could sing his song before releasing the viral version on social media. 

West has settled lawsuits for using samples on his music without permission in the past.

West has faced complaints about his use of a Hungarian singer's vocals on the 2013 song “New Slaves,” a prayer on the 2016 song “Ultralight Beam" and a theater performance in the 2018 song "Freeee (Ghost Town Pt. 2)."

The rapper and fashion mogul has been the center of controversy this year as his feud with his ex-wife, Kim Kardashian, and her new boyfriend, Pete Davidson, intensifies in the public eye. 

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