Vanilla Ice, MC Hammer and The Verve all fell victim to sampling others’ work without legal permission. If early listens to The Weeknd’s new single “Belong to the World” are anything to go by, it seems the Canadian R&B star may have just joined that list. Premiering on MTV, The Weeknd, aka Abel Tesfaye, may have incorporated a sample from Portishead’s “Machine Gun” on the new track taken from forthcoming album Kiss Land, sans legal clearance from the Bristol based band.
Portishead’s mastermind Geoff Barrow was quick to take to Twitter to voice his concerns: “I think it’s a load of bollox (sic). When someone asks to sample you and you refuse they should have the respect as a fellow artist not to use it.” Barrow noted that it had nothing to do with money, but that the song does not indeed “belong to the world” and is one the band refused to give clearance for upon the Weeknd’s request. Barrow continued: “We usually give sample clearance to tunes we like…As most of them hiphop artists are skint.” It seems as though “Belong to the World” and its artist met neither criteria. The Weeknd camp are yet to comment, though the R&B star may have difficulty convincing listeners that it is not the ripp off that Barrow alleges.
Judge for yourselves below.