Last week, will.i.am responded to accusations that he had stolen a song from producers Arty and Mat Zo, telling the Associated Press that believed he had received permission to use their track “Rebound” on his #willpower album.
After hearing “Rebound,” Will.i.am said he contacted Arty — real name Artem Stoliarov — via email, and the producer responded that he’d be interested in collaborating. Believing he had gotten the okay, will recorded a new version of the song to use on the #Willpower track “Let’s Go,” and pointed out that Stoliarov received a writing credit on the track. He also added that he was unaware that “Rebound” was actually the product of Arty and Mat Zo until fans began accusing him of ripping the producers off.
“You can’t steal if you credited somebody,” he told the AP. “He and I communicated. … It’s not my fault he didn’t tell me about the other guy. So who is to blame? I didn’t know.
“It’s kind of wack the way this situation has turned out because it’s undermined in a way — not really, it hasn’t — but it’s undermined my contributions to that world and my respect to that world,” will continued. “Because the way they’re painting it is not the way it is.”
Of course, that’s not the way Arty and Mat Zo’s label, Anjunabeats, sees things. In a statement issued Thursday, they said own the master recording rights to “Rebound,” and that they never gave will.i.am permission to use the song.
“A large section of ‘Rebound’ was sampled on will.i.am’s track ‘Let’s Go,’ and this took place without the permission of Anjunabeats or Arty and Mat Zo,” the statement read in part. “Although Arty (but not Mat Zo) was credited in the sleeve notes, this is not the same as obtaining permission. To present someone else’s work as your own, you need to seek permission, agree terms and file paperwork, which has not happened in this case.”
The Anjunabeats statement did not reveal whether the label was considering taking legal action against will.i.am, though last month, Arty posted on his Facebook page that “the matter is under review by our legal teams.” Will.i.am told the AP that his legal team was also looking into the matter.