Will.i.am's new album #willpower isn't out until April 23, but it's already swirling in controversy. On Tuesday, the Black Eyed Pea uploaded a new track from his upcoming album called “Let’s Go.”
Will's song features Chris Brown, but many fans of electronic dance music (or EDM) say that it also features stolen music. The track in question, “Rebound”, is from two EDM DJs — London’s Mat Zo and Russian DJ Arty.
While complaints of sampling are nothing new in hip hop, this accusation is a bit different in that will.i.am didn’t sample anything. He seems to have just used the entire track without permission.
In a statement from Mat Zo posted on his Facebook page, he explains, “We knew Will I Am [sic] was interested in this track, but we declined working with him at the time.”
Referring to their record label, Arty tweeted, “They never cleared rights through Anjunabeats, who's only one label, who ownes [sic] the rights for ‘Rebound’.”
Anjunabeats’ founder Jonathan "Jono" Grant seems to back up that statement, tweeting, ““Poor form by Will I am nicking @mat_zo and @arty_music ‘s track “Rebound” without asking the artist or label @anjunabeats ! #dotherightthing.”
So far, will.i.am has been silent on the matter, but that didn’t stop Chris Brown from tweeting (and deleting) a comment. “I don’t even know who mat zo Or arty is? I ain’t got s*** to do wit if ur mad or not. Someone asked for a feature on a record and I did it."
I think he’s saying that it’s all on will and he's innocent. No comment.
Mad is an understatement. EDM fans have been bombarding both will.i.am and Brown’s social media with some not very nice things to say.
Zo tried to quell the backlash in his Facebook post by chastising those who have unleashed their wrath on social media.
“I really and truely [sic] appreciate all the support you are giving me and Arty in response to Will I Am's copyright infringement. However, this doesnt excuse the horrific abuse youre sending the way of Will I Am and Chris Brown, and it especially doesnt excuse being racist."
Look, EDM is not my favorite type of music, but the similarity is uncanny. In fact, I tried playing both of the tracks at the same time in different windows. I literally couldn’t tell the difference between the two. But don’t take my word for it. Try it out yourself. Both tracks are below (but beware, there are some NSFW lyrics).
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