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RZA sues over Dark Fantasy sample allegations

By | Published on Monday 4 March 2013


Wu Tang man RZA, real name Robert Diggs, has launched legal proceedings against a company called JVC Kenwood Holdings in relation to allegations made against the Kanye West track ‘Dark Fantasy’, which Diggs produced.

It seems that a JVC Kenwood-owned company called Teichiku Entertainment has accused West and RZA of sampling without permission a track it owns called ‘Gincyo Watadori’, performed by Japanese actress and singer Meiko Kaji, and is in the process of suing West’s label Island Def Jam for damages. While that litigation is pending, Universal’s IDJ is seemingly withholding $50,000 in royalties from RZA, so to cover itself for any future payout to Teichiku Entertainment.

The producer, who denies the illegal sampling claim, is not impressed by that fact at all. So much so, he is now taking Teichiku to court himself in a bid to have the allegations dismissed, so that IDJ can pay him his unpaid royalties.

One of RZA’s legal reps, Howard King, told The Hollywood Reporter: “We see dozens of baseless copyright infringement claims against our clients every year. Rather than engaging in costly and fruitless dialogue trying to convince claimants and their contingency lawyers that our clients do not succumb to extortion and settle ridiculous claims, we have decided to commence declaratory relief actions to squash some of these claims and, perhaps, recover our costs of defending same. The RZA complaint is the second one of these we have filed this month, with more to come”.

On the specifics of this dispute, he continued: “RZA did not use Teichiku’s piano run [as it claims], and it sounds different from the one in ‘Dark Fantasy’. In fact, it would have been technologically impossible to sample the piano run without the rest of the music in ‘Gincyo Watadori’ and the piano run in ‘Gincyo’ is so simple that the least talented person in the studio could have replayed it had anyone wished to do so”.