A new song from Ye aka Kanye West covering a hit from the Backstreet Boys might get him in trouble as he reportedly didn’t get permission from them.
According to reports, Kanye West is set to release his latest album, Vultures, this week. As artwork for the album has been released, the song “Everybody” stands out. It’s a new interpretation of the 1997 smash hit song by the Backstreet Boys’ “Everybody (Backstreet’s Back).” However, sources close to the group claim he never got official approval to use the song.
Kanye West samples “Everybody” by The Backstreet Boys in new snippet pic.twitter.com/DKruc7MH36
— Ovrnundr (@Undrnovr) December 9, 2023
West previewed the album during a private live listening session held in Miami, Florida, Monday (Dec. 11). In his song, the original sung by the Backstreet Boys members can be heard along with the chorus until Ty Dolla $ign takes over to sing. The song also features Charlie Wilson and Lil Baby. In technical terms, the new chorus is an interpolation. If West used the sample of the original song, he would need permission from the label and the publisher. Doing an interpolation means that he would only need permission from whoever holds the publishing rights.
It gets trickier from there, as the Backstreet Boys don’t own the publishing rights to that song. It belongs to Swedish producer Max Martin and his mentor, the late Denniz Pop. It appears, so far, that neither Pop’s estate nor Martin granted their permission for Kanye to use the song. Martin’s publisher, Kobalt, stated in response to press inquiries: “We do not comment on legal matters.” Representatives for the Backstreet Boys and Martin also declined to comment.
The situation is another oddity for West, who showed up at the listening event wearing a black Ku Klux Klan hood as well as Nazi imagery being featured. There’s no word on how Vultures will be released to the public as the rapper is no longer with Def Jam and Sony Music Publishing, reportedly splitting with them both in 2021 quietly. It wasn’t until his deluge of antisemitic remarks made late last year when that news resurfaced.
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