Kanye West Testifies In Copyright Infringement Case
Those opening lines — as well as the beat — were West's contribution to the song, which was completed and released by rapper Ludacris. West and Ludacris are being sued by New Jersey group I.O.F., who accuse the pair of stealing lyrics and the beat of Ludacris' song from their "Straight Like That."
West reluctantly rapped the verse, which was so laden with profanity that the judge blushed and said with a chuckle, "I think I'm going to withdraw my question."
During questioning, West testified that it was quite common for rap songs to have many of the same lyrics because they're predominantly taken from street slang. "There's a lot of rap songs that say, 'Like that, yo, what's up?' or 'Throw your hands high,' he explained.
"Whatever people say in the 'hood, it ends up on records. That's what hip-hop does."
Ludacris had earlier stated under oath that he hadn't heard the I.O.F. song before the lawsuit. He claimed to have used the term "like that" in a 1999 song, while "Straight Like That" wasn't released until 2001 to a few college radio stations.
If West and Ludacris (real name Chris Bridges) are found liable, a second trial will commence to determine the damages.