Chance the Rapper is the subject of a new lawsuit from jazz musician Abdul Wali Muhammad, who claims a song from Chance's 10 Day mixtape was used without his permission.
According to the Chicago Tribune, the song in question is "Windows," which samples a song from Lonnie Liston Smith, "Bridge Through Time." The lawsuit suggests that Muhammad's lawyer reached out to Chance's legal team this past May to talk about copyright infringement. Chance's response was reportedly less than adequate.
"Chance failed and refused to take any action to halt access to the infringing song," reads the lawsuit.
When you listen to "Bridge Through Time," you can hear "Windows" samples Smith's song, which has become a fairly popular song to flip for producers. The song has been sampled by UGK ("Candy"), Tha Dogg Pound ("Big Pimpin"), Big K.R.I.T. ("Down and Out"), Jay Z ("Understand Me"), and a brief list of other hip-hop songs throughout the last few decades.
The question facing Chance and Muhammad will be whether there's a legal leg to stand on to pursue action. Since 10 Day was released as a free project—initially handed out to friends and passersby on the streets of Chicago—Chance has never sought to profit off the mixtape, and has even actively avoided doing so in the past. When the project was mistakenly put on Apple Music early this year, Chance spoke out against the move and highlighted what he framed as the spirit of the project.
10day was fraudulently put on iTunes and applemusic. It'll be down shortly. 10day and acid rap will always be inclusive, elusive and free— Lil Chano From 79th (@chancetherapper) January 8, 2017
The lawsuit coming five years after the project's initial release shares something in common with the dispute between Lord Finesse and Mac Miller, the former of whom sued the latter for unauthorized use of his song, "Hip 2 Da Game," years after it appeared on Miller's Kool Aid & Frozen Pizza mixtape. Like Chance, Miller never attempted to profit off the tape, but it turns out that didn't matter: he ended up settling with Finesse out of court for an undisclosed amount of money.
Chance has yet to comment on the situation.