Marvel's Black Panther was more than a movie, it was a bonafide cultural phenomenon, and it wasn't just because of the movie. The Black Panther soundtrack was a chart-topping smash hit, led in large part by the song "Pray for Me" by Kendrick Lamar and The Weeknd. However, the two hip-hop stars are now in a bit of trouble, as lawsuit has been filed against "Pray for Me" for an alleged eight counts of illegal sampling in the track, with "intent to conceal the infringement." The lawsuit seeks to reap profits and damages from the song, along with an injunction to block further sales and airplay.
The band filing the lawsuit is Yeasayer, which claims that "Pray for Me" samples their 2007 track "Sunrise", TMZ reports. The band claims that "Sunrise" uses a "distinctive choral performance" that incorporates the band's own voices. As the lawsuit hilariously phrases things, the band's vocals are, "comprised of male voices singing in their highest registers, with animated, pulsing vibrato."
It's being said that "Pray for Me" modifies the "Sunrise" vocals slightly and uses them up to 8 times in the song. If you want to do some investigative listening of your own, you can check out the "Pray for Me" video above, and the track "Sunrise" by Yeasayer, below.
The vibrato chords for "Pray for Me" were a distinctive echo of Black Panther's fictional culture of Wakanda, which was rooted in very real African cultural practices and history. With an untrained ear, it's not readily discernible if "Pray for Me" truly uses any part of "Sunrise", so we'll leave it up to the experts.
Black Panther's billion-dollar success and cultural icon status has set some lofty goals for the upcoming sequel to meet. So far, Black Panther 2 has confirmed that director Ryan Coogler will return, as will stars Chadwick Boseman, Danai Gurira and Letitia Wright, as T'Challa/Black Panther, Okoye, and Shuri (respectively). Many of the other original cast members are expected to return, as well. Marvel fans also have pretty high hopes for what could happen in the sequel, with theories ranging from a war with Waknda vs. Namor and Atlantis, to T'Challa being dethroned and banished from his homeland, following the events of Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame.
Upcoming Marvel Studios projects include Black Widow on May 1st, The Falcon and The Winter Soldier August 20th, The Eternals on November 6th, WandaVision on December 20th, Loki in Spring 2021, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness on May 7, 2021, Spider-Man 3 on July 16, 2021, What If…? in Summer 2021, Hawkeye in Fall 2021, Thor: Love and Thunder on November 5, 2021, and Black Panther 2 on May 6, 2022. Marvel Studios Disney+ series without release dates include Ms. Marvel, Moon Knight, and She-Hulk.