Why do people do that? Or could it be a weird coincidence? Actually it looks like it, since the lawsuit was filled on May 3 and Adam Yauch died the following day! In any case, Hip Hop label Tuf America filled a lawsuit against the Beastie Boys over four tracks off their ‘Licensed to Ill’ and ‘Paul’s Boutique’ albums.
The label claims that the three boys sampled two of Trouble Funk’s tracks ‘Say What’ and ‘Drop The Bomb’ on their classics ‘Hold it now Hit it’ and ‘The New Style’ on ‘Licensed to Ill’, then used Trouble Funk’s drums on ‘Drop The Bomb’ on their song ‘Car Thief’ off ‘Paul’s Boutique’, and also Trouble Funk’s ‘Say What’ for their song ‘Shadrach’ also off ‘Paul’s Boutique’.
The label said they did a ‘thorough sound analysis’ to reach their conclusion.
I don’t know if you have followed, it is hard to figure out all that stuff, and I don’t really understand since rap seems to always sample pre-existing tracks anyway. Do they always ask the permission? Do they always pay the label they sample from? And why a lawsuit now, years and years after the release of these albums? 'Licensed to Ill’ and 'Paul’s Boutique’ were respectively released in 1986 and 1989, and I suppose it takes far less than 20 years to compare some drumming and five-second samplings.
However, Slate Magazine pointed out something really important in this story: laws regarding sampling issues weren’t the same in the 80s, and since that time, new laws, which made the heavy sampling impossible, have passed:
‘The sampling gave Paul’s Boutique a sound that remains almost as distinctive today as it was when it was released in 1989. Perhaps the main reason—and certainly the saddest reason—that it still sounds distinctive is that a rapidly shifting legal and economic landscape made it essentially impossible to repeat.’
The Beastie Boys have not responded to the lawsuit yet, probably because they are dealing with a much sadder news right now.