Coming only days after the passing of Adam ‘MCA’ Yauch, the Beastie Boys have been hit with a lawsuit over four tracks from their first two landmark records, Licensed To Ill and Paul’s Boutique.
The plaintiff, Tuf America, filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court claiming that the Beastie’s illegally sampled rapper Trouble Funk’s track, “Say What” for their songs “Hold It Now Hit It,” and “The New Style” from the Beastie Boys’ 1986 debut as well as on their hit, “Shadrach” for Paul’s Boutique. Tuf America also claimed that drum samples from “Drop The Bomb” were used without permission on “Car Thief” on the same album.
Bosses at Tuf America are seeking a trial to determine the amount of damages owed, claiming that the Beastie Boys and their label, Capitol Records – who recently re-issued the albums – are not paying the royalties owed to Trouble Funk, claiming they have “never received royalties or payment for any of the songs … ever.”
The fees supposedly due to Tuf America are immense considering that Licensed to Ill became the biggest selling rap album of the decade and earned the honour of being the first rap album to reach #1 on the charts in the United States.
However, it has to be the most ill-timed lawsuit in music history, the papers filed only the day before Yauch passed away overnight at the age of 47, after losing a three-year long battle with cancer.
Although diagnosed in 2009, Yauch remained positive saying that it was “very treatable”, but the group were soon forced to cancel a number of shows, as well the release of their 2011 album Hot Sauce Committee, Pt. 2 . Rumours circulated that his battle with cancer had taken a turn for the worse were heightened when he was unable to attend the Beastie Boys’ recent induction to the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame just weeks ago.
The Beastie Boys have yet to make an official statement on Tuf America’s claims, supposedly as they’re still grieving over their loss.