In February, the South Korean eyewear brand Gentle Monster reportedly teamed up with Kanye West and G.O.O.D Music associate Malik Yusef to co-write and co-produce the song "13 MUSIC" for their then-upcoming product release "Collection 13."
After the track was released, Kim Kardashian took to social media to confirm that Kanye did not produce the project, as he had been credited with doing so, (Yusef was also credited as a songwriter). Shortly thereafter, the company took down the track "13 MUSIC."
According to the Hollywood Reporter, Gentle Monster has filed a lawsuit against Malik and others in Los Angeles Superior Court. According to the court documents, the company is alleging that "Yusef used his seemingly close relationship with Kanye West to deceive Gentle Monster into believing that he could bring some of the world’s most talented artists together to produce a series of videos designed to increase Gentle Monster’s global brand recognition."
The documentation also states that Yusef did arrange a meeting between West and Gentle Monster CEO Won Lee in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Lee was under the impression that he would meet Kanye again in the future, and thus felt no urgency to discuss specifics regarding the Collection 13 release. However, that was the final meeting Lee had with the Life of Pablo rapper.
Following the meeting, Yusef allegedly gave the company a notarized Universal Music Publishing Group agreement authorizing the release of a song entitled “New Angels” as well as a copy of Kanye's driver's license. The paperwork exchanged reportedly had Kanye's signature on it, which Gentle Monster is claiming was fabricated by Yusef. The company allegedly sent Kanye's associate $2.5 million to secure the talent for their release.
According to Susan Leader, one of the lawyers for Gentle Monster, Yusef's fraudulent activity didn't stop there. "Defendants’ deception was both flagrant and brazen," she writes in the complaint. "Specifically, they forged Kanye’s signature, created a shell entity named after Kanye’s deceased mother, issued fraudulent invoices made to appear as though they had been issued by legitimate talent agencies, lied about their contacts and work with artists, and, in the end, pocketed more than $2.5 million from Gentle Monster."
The company reportedly sent $500,000 of the $2.5 million to Donda Social Agency, Inc., which they believed to be Ye's charity. However, in June of last year, the organization changed its name to Art of Culture, Inc.
Gentle Monster is reportedly suing Yusef for fraud and breach of contract among other claims.