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Shortly after the release of her debut album, Alpha, Shenseea was hit with a $10 million lawsuit.

The reggae star and her label, Interscope Records, are being sued over her single “Lick,” which features Megan Thee Stallion, according to Dancehall Mag. According to the lawsuit, Shenseea ripped off elements of Denise Belfon’s song “Work” without clearing the sample first. The one taking Shenseea, Atal Music Limited, Alexandre Escolier to court is Anastas Hackett, known as Nas-T, who wrote, produced and recorded the song with Belfon. The lawsuit states that in September 2021, a request was submitted for the use parts of “Work,” but the request was denied due to “the inadequate terms offered.”

The nature of the use of the original song is two-fold: (1) an isolated 8-second vocal sample of the phrase “put your back in it”, which is found in the intro @0:00-0:08 and in the outro @ 2:23-2:31 of the new work; and (2) a 14-second re-sing of the same phrase (“put your back in it”), which is heard 6x in each chorus @ 0:23-0:37, 1:07-1:21, and 1:53-2:07. In effect, the use of the phrase “put your back in it” is integral to the overall rhythmic feel of the new work and is a continual reminder of its relationship to the original song.

Even though the request was denied, Shenseea and her team went ahead and sampled the song anyway “without authority or consent” and “used significant parts
of plaintiffs’ music ‘work’ without providing proper credit to the plaintiffs, released the song ‘Lick’ on or about January 21, 2022, in violation of the United States Copyright Act.”

The lawsuit said that  “the defendants were placed on notice that they were using Plaintiffs’ work without authorization and that they are infringing Plaintiffs’ copyright, however, defendants have failed to correct their actions.”

Shenseea denied stealing the song during an Instagram Live back in January.

“Why would we risk being sued?,” she said. “And it’s not something that is bothering me; it’s because I know that people will run with this narrative… It’s really just ignorance for real.”

Romeich Major told Dancehall Mag that he wasn’t aware of any lawsuit filed and denied that the sample wasn’t cleared because Interscope Records wouldn’t let that happen.

Hackett begged to differ and said that he is taking them to court.

“It is an administrative issue, they told Dancehall Mag. “It is a live issue in the courts right now and I have legal counsel so I can’t say much.”

This lawsuit comes after Hackett confirmed that the sample was authorized when discussing how they felt about Shenseea using the song.

“I think it’s a wonderful thing, especially when they seek clearances to be used in songs instead of taking it willy-nilly,” Hackett told Jamaica STAR.

Belfon had sent her well wishes to Shenseea and Megan Thee Stallion after “Lick” was released.

“I would like to send love and congrats to Shenseea, Megan Thee Stallion and their recording labels Interscope, 300 entertainment, Warner Music Group and their management teams, Mr. Romeich and Wassim Salxo ‘Sal’  and the producers ‘Murder on the Beat’ for considering and using my song ‘work / put your back in it’ on their mega hit Lick,” according to Carribean outlet Ebuzzt.

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