Kanye West sued over lyrics to hit ‘Stronger’

By Becky Yerak
Posted June 28, 2010 at 10:18 a.m.

Kanye West’s Grammy-winning song “Stronger” copies certain lyrics from a 2006 song by a Virginia rapper known as Vince P., according to a copyright infringement case filed in a U.S. District Court in Illinois.

Vincent Peters, of Leesburg, Va., said in the complaint filed Friday that in 2006 he wrote and recorded a song called “Stronger.” West had access to the song through West’s long-time friend and business manager John Monopoly, who had heard and received a copy of Peters’ “Stronger,” the lawsuit said. Peters had wanted to work with Monopoly.
Seven months after Peters, professionally known as Vince P., gave “Stronger” to Monopoly, West released his version,  the lawsuit said.

West’s version “copies significant and important parts of Peters’ lyrics identically or almost identically,” the suit says.

Peters said his song included “What don’t kill me make me stronger,” while West’s says “That don’t kill me can only make me stronger,” the suit said. Another example, Peters alleges, is “couldn’t wait no longer,” while West says, “I can’t wait much longer.”

Both songs refer to supermodel Kate Moss –  “a highly unusual and incongruous reference in a hip-hop song,” the lawsuit said.  Both songs also use the word “wronger.”

In early 2008 the Grammy for best rap solo performance went to West’s “Stronger.” When Rolling Stone magazine unveiled its “100 Best Songs of 2007,” West’s “Stronger” fell just shy of the Top 10.

And in August 2008, West’s “Stronger” became the first hip-hop song played while the Chicago Cubs took the field at Wrigley Field, “their first incursion into the genre,” the Tribune reported at the time.

The lawsuit asks that the defendants be stopped from reproducing, selling, distributing and publicly performing the song.  It asks the court to order West, as well as other defendants Roc-A-Fella Records LLC and UMG Recordings Inc., to destroy all copies of the record.

It also asks that the defendants give up all profits from the record. Damages sought weren’t specified.

The lawsuit was filed on Peters’ behalf by Chicago law firm Davis McGrath LLC, which specializes in intellectual property law. A lawyer for West, a Chicago native, couldn’t be reached for immediate comment.

Read the lawsuit.

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  1. djmoog1 June 28, 2010 at 10:54 a.m.

    But isn’t the entire song a rip off of Daft Punk? In addition, Daft Punk ripped it off from Edwin Birdsong “Cola Bottle Baby”

  2. James June 28, 2010 at 11:31 a.m.

    Too Bad – This was the best Plagiarism OF ALL TIME !!! Kanye =- you are a sad sack. Please just go away you talentless freak.

  3. katz June 28, 2010 at 12:09 pm

    He’s a first class jerk with an ego not supported by facts so why not a thief?

  4. Eric June 28, 2010 at 12:37 pm

    How about the fact that the song is completely based on the same song created by Daft Punk’s “Harder, better, faster, stronger”? That’s the real crime. Presuming he got permission to use the sample. However, young kids probably think he is genious and never heard the song. Total rip off. How about some originality.

  5. Carl June 28, 2010 at 1:32 pm

    both songs were also written by a guy named Wonger.

  6. Kate June 28, 2010 at 1:38 pm

    Oh please. The song is highly derivative of a song by Daft Punk, and there are only so many rhymes in English. And, why is this guy only coming forward now?

  7. Joe June 28, 2010 at 1:49 pm

    Late breaking business news? Pathetic!

  8. Griff June 28, 2010 at 2:22 pm

    Hey that’s what happens when you give no talent bums free careers in music. There’s no creativity, there’s no real musical proficiency, just a slick marketing plan, and a whole lot of stolen material. Besides, everybody knows that Kanye is a gayfish.

  9. The Hedgehog June 28, 2010 at 4:07 pm

    Does this mean that Friedrich Nietzsche’s descendants can sue them both for plagiarism?

  10. LibGirl04 June 28, 2010 at 4:11 pm

    Peters: HEY! You stoled my song what butchers the English language!
    West: Yeah, but I changed it into even badder English, now it’s betterer.

    What the world do without geniuses like these two?

  11. NYRapper June 28, 2010 at 4:40 pm

    Who is Kanye West?

  12. Larry June 28, 2010 at 4:58 pm

    He is an idiot anyway! Hey Kanye, “Obama hates white people!” You idiot!

  13. Catherine C. Baumannv June 28, 2010 at 5:19 pm

    Both parties have borrowed this phrase. It is a quote from the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche.

  14. beth June 28, 2010 at 5:28 pm

    i think he is very arrogant , Really, so much more, since his mama died!!!!!!!! He need’s to grow up!!!!! Also what he did to Taylor Swift, a 19 year old teenager, after winning an award was awful!!!!!!!!!!

  15. chris June 29, 2010 at 2:19 a.m.

    I don’t like kanye as much as the next person but what in the world took the guy so long to even file a lawsuit in the first place.

  16. jacob June 29, 2010 at 2:48 a.m.

    Isn’t “What don’t kill me makes me stronger” or something very similar to it a well known quote in the first place?

  17. Manny June 29, 2010 at 3:14 a.m.

    Whats the big deal…he presented that piece of **** song in much better way than these others have presented…quit hating on kanye peepz..hes 100 times better rapper than most of these other rappers.

  18. Flawless June 29, 2010 at 3:22 a.m.

    lol @ saying he ripped this song off of Daft Punk,yeah im sure they were in his video and performed the song with him because he ‘ripped them off’

  19. tim June 29, 2010 at 3:59 a.m.

    I think, we the public should take away that bums power,stop buying his records.It would work look at chris brown!ha!ha!ha! we the people have the power. hmmmm!

  20. Cy June 29, 2010 at 5:29 a.m.

    I love how people like you guys run off and say this and that. How he is a talentless freak and so on. First of all, hip hop has always sampled music. From motown to whatever it is. I love daft punk and think Kanye used the sample perfectly. Maybe if you appreciated music overall, than you would appreciate Kanye. Go listen to his 4 albums and then judge. But when you only see the way he acts on awards show, you can’t judge off that and say he is garbage. He is a musical genius. Go ahead and watch all his live performances from the glow in the dark tour with an orchestra and everything. And it’s time for people to shut up about the Taylor Swift thing. She didn’t deserve that. But come on! it’s been a year. She is 19. She can handle herself. It only made her bigger as an artist. So keep judging hip hop in general. It’s good stuff. And try listening to whole albums before you judge

  21. Jack Mc June 29, 2010 at 2:31 pm

    Yo Kanye, Ima let you finish, but Vince P just owned your ***.

  22. Dave June 29, 2010 at 2:33 pm

    He ripped off everyone on this song, even the video was almost a frame by frame rip off of a scene from Akira.

  23. Mark June 29, 2010 at 2:38 pm

    Kayne West sampled Daft Punk’s record with their permission. Declaring that Kayne West ripped them is absolutely nonsense because he has to either pay them upfront or agree to part ways with the revenue made from the song stronger. The local rapper that is suing Kayne West can only be compensated for any of the grievances if his record was published. The flaw within that lawsuit is that the song was probably on a mix tape and those are technically illegal. I am baffled how you all are still angry about the Taylor Swift incident; I wish you all would end this irrelevant tirade.

  24. James June 29, 2010 at 2:40 pm

    Hey Cy – Here is a hip hop tune for you. PPfft, PPfft, jicky, jicky, Hey Yo All! Say Heeyyyy, Say Heeyyyy. Awight check it out now !! B’dizzle, frankn’snizzle my wizzle, pizzle. Get me a shorty, buborty, florty, forty, minority !!! Yo All! Say Heeeyyyyy !!!

    See anyone can do it. All I need is someone wit a 90 IQ to read it while I play Sting in the backgroud and call is sampling.

    Kayne and hip hop are a group of no talent dirtbags that have nothing positive to contribute to music. Btw Country Music is just a bad.

  25. Carly June 29, 2010 at 3:27 pm

    It’s just another retarded *** ***** who can’t get famous so they are doing it by suing Kanye West. The world is ****

  26. Mr Strahovski June 29, 2010 at 5:26 pm

    Kanye may be a douche, but I still enjoy his music even if it isn’t completely original. This case is ridiculous. The guy is suing over generalized terms that people use all the time. People say “if it doesn’t kill you, it only makes you stronger” all the time. And the whole “couldn’t wait much longer” complaint is laughable. This guy suing Kanye is a bigger douche than he is.

  27. kday June 29, 2010 at 8:48 pm

    What’s Vince P’s lawyer name?

  28. Jake June 30, 2010 at 4:07 pm

    All you guys who say he ripped off Daft Punk….pretty sure he also performed the song at the MTV Awards a couple years back with Daft Punk, so what are you even talking about calling it a rip off

  29. Jason July 1, 2010 at 1:51 a.m.

    Daft Punk and Kanye West did an interview with Spin Magazine about “Stronger.” Spin claimed it was there “song of the year.” Clearly Daft Punk is 100% cool with Kanye sampling there music. Also, the Taylor Swift thing… was the best freggin thing that ever happened to her! Her popularity sky rocketed as well as her record sales. People claiming that it was “awful” need to read a newspaper and see the real awful things that happen every day. A blond girl getting interrupted at an award ceremony… sorry… AN MTV AWARDS CEREMONY is hardly awful.

    And I don’t even necessarily like Kanye West.

  30. Keith July 1, 2010 at 11:56 a.m.

    Baseless lawsuit. Even if Kanye knowingly ripped these lyrics, they’re such common phrases that there’s no way you could establish copyright infringement.