Brooklyn-based experimental rock band, Yeasayer, has come forward with a lawsuit against Kendrick Lamar and The Weeknd – as well as Top Dawg Entertainment – for their collaboration on The Black Panther soundtrack, entitled “Pray For Me”. The song allegedly samples Yeasayer’s “Sunrise”, which appears on the band’s 2007 debut album.
According to TMZ, the legal documents state that “Pray For Me” modified the material lifted from “Sunrise” with “intent to conceal the infringement.” The portion in question is described in the lawsuit as a “distinctive choral performance… comprised of male voices singing in their highest registers, with animated, pulsing vibrato.” It apparently appears in the Black Panther track up to eight different times. The band claims that the sample is “immediately recognizable,” and if you listen to the two songs below, it seems hard to dispute that. While the echoing high-pitched howl could have initially been thought to stem from The Weeknd, the one that appears in “Sunrise” sounds super similar. However, that’s for the court to decide. Pray for Kendrick and The Weeknd.
The delay in the filing of the lawsuit could be possibly explained by the fact that Yeasayer broke up at the end of 2019. The legal docs don’t specify how much the band is seeking in compensation. TMZ reached out to Kendrick and The Weeknd’s teams for comment but received no response.