Black Eyed Peas alumnus, producer, and rapper will.i.am has issued an apology following allegations of plagiarism.
After NYC DJ Megan Ryte was accused of plagiarism within her latest release, “Culture” (feat. will.i.am and A$AP Ferg), will.i.am stepped forward to admit that he was at fault. Using a sample of the main body of South African gqom pionner DJ Lag‘s popular hit “Ice Drop,” will.i.am’s production of “Culture” is an arguable rehashing.
DJ Lag spoke out against Ryte in a quote tweet to one of Ryte’s tweets that has since been deleted.
“In our tradition respect comes first.”
— DJ LAG (@RealDJLag) November 25, 2020
“In our tradition respect comes first,” reads the tweet. “Ice Drop is our culture.” A South African flag emoji followed the statement, which emphasized the irony of the opening frames of the music video for “Culture,” which display a definition of the term “culture vulture.” The term is defined as “a person or an organization making profit using honorable practices from a culture they do not care for.”
Shortly thereafter, DJ Lag’s management agency, Black Major, simply tweeted, “We are handling it…”
Since being called out, will.i.am admitted fault and apologized — to Megan Ryte, mainly. He also incorrectly referred to DJ Lag’s track as “Drop Ice” within the apology video, and many have criticized the apology as coming across insincere.
will.i.am wrote that the issue was over crediting information that he failed to submit to Megan Ryte in time. Black Major have confirmed that permission to use the track was never granted, however, and never requested in the first place.
DJ Lag has refused to acknowledge will.i.am’s apology, as he felt that it was not directed at him.
“The apology is not directed at me so I don’t have a comment on that,” said Lag in a statement. “But I can confirm I was not approached by will.i.am or Megan for the use of my track before our Twitter brought it to trial.”
This isn’t the first time will.i.am has been under scrutiny for copyright disputes involving other artists. In 2013, the producer allegedly sampled Arty and Mat Zo‘s famous Anjunabeats release, “Rebound,” on his collaborative release with Chris Brown titled “Let’s Go” without permission.