Nuevo Culture

Bad Bunny’s Team Responds to Mr Eazi’s Afrobeats Copyright Claim

Bad Bunny is in hot water for allegedly sampling a song by Joeboy in one of his tracks without crediting the Nigerian artist. Last night (Feb. 9), the Puerto Rican superstar’s label responded to the copyright infringement claim and denied any wrongdoing. 

Mr Eazi, the founder of emPawa Africa, claimed that Bad Bunny used Joeboy’s song “Empty My Pocket” in “Enséñame a Bailar” without permission. Benito’s song was included in his blockbuster album Un Verano Sin Ti, which was released last year. “Empty My Pocket” was written by Dëra, and Joeboy’s voice from the song can be heard in the coda of “Enséñame a Bailar.” Mr. Eazi, who was born Oluwatosin Ajibade, alleged that “Enséñame a Bailar” was released on the album without credit to Joeboy or clearance from emPawa Africa.

“The team at emPawa Africa have attempted to sort this issue amicably since May of last year with our mutual legal teams,” Mr Eazi said in a statement. “But the intent of Rimas Music [Bad Bunny’s record label] is clearly to blatantly appropriate young African creators’ work for their gain without attribution.”

Mr Eazi claimed that Bad Bunny was capitalizing off the Afrobeats genre without giving credit to Joeboy or the writer of “Empty My Pocket,” Dëra. Ikenna Nwagboso, the co-founder emPawa Africa, reiterated what they hope to achieve with the copyright infringement claim. “Give Joeboy his credit, publishing and royalties on the song, and give Dëra a producer credit alongside those already given to Bad Bunny’s producers,” Nwagboso added.

Bad Bunny’s label Rimas Music responded in a statement sent to Billboard. His team claims that they purchased the master track of “Empty My Pocket” to use in “Enséñame a Bailar.” “We want to make it clear that at all times, Rimas Entertainment has acted properly and has followed standard industry protocols,” the statement read.

The twist in this story is that Rimas Entertainment claimed to purchase the master of Joeboy’s song from record producer Lakizo Entertainment, who is “listed as the track’s creator and owner in numerous public sources.” The label added that they’ve been responsive to the copyright claim from emPawa Africa, but they are waiting for Mr Eazi’s group to prove ownership of “Empty My Pocket.” 

“Regarding the song’s composition, emPawa has also failed to forward documents to prove that they are authorized to act on the writer’s behalf,” they said. “We look forward to resolving this matter cordially and are waiting for emPawa to provide us with the necessary documents that validate their claims.”

Thanks to the success of the Un Verano Sin Ti album, Bad Bunny was the most-streamed artist globally in 2022. He won a Grammy Award for the LP on Sunday for Best Música Urbana Album. Bad Bunny previously collaborated with Mr Eazi in 2019 on “Como Un Bebé” from his Oasis album with J Balvin.