Beyoncé Sued For ‘Break My Soul’ Sample Copyright

HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA – APRIL 01: Beyoncé accepts the Innovator Award onstage during the 2024 iHeartRadio Music Awards at Dolby Theatre on April 01, 2024 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images)

Beyoncé faces legal action for alleged copyright infringement over her hit song “Break My Soul.” The New Orleans bounce music group Da Showstoppaz claims the song infringes on their 2002 track “Release a Wiggle.” They assert that “Break My Soul” samples “Explode” by Big Freedia, which they believe unlawfully incorporates elements from their original song.

The lawsuit names Beyoncé, Big Freedia, Jay-Z, and Sony Music as defendants. Da Showstoppaz members Tessa Avie, Keva Bourgeois, Henri Braggs, and Brian Clark seek credit and future royalties for both tracks. “Defendants used plaintiffs’ words, melody, and musical arrangement from their copyrighted works. Any reasonable person listening to ‘Release a Wiggle’ and ‘Explode’ would conclude that the songs are substantially similar,” states the lawsuit.

“Break My Soul” was released in June 2022 as the lead single from Beyoncé’s RENAISSANCE album. The song reached No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart and earned platinum status by December 2022. It also won Best Dance/Electronic Recording at the 65th annual GRAMMY Awards and was nominated for Record of the Year and Song of the Year. The album won Best Dance/Electronic Music Album, marking the first time a Black woman won in this category.

Da Showstoppaz’s Claims

Da Showstoppaz allege that Big Freedia’s 2014 song “Explode” uses their unique phrases such as “release yo wiggle,” which they coined in their original track. “The infringing phrase ‘release yo wiggle’ and several other substantially similar phrases are featured prominently in the song and evenly spread out across ‘Explode’s’ runtime,” their lawyers argue. They emphasize that these phrases have become synonymous with Big Freedia, contributing to her fame without crediting Da Showstoppaz.

The group claims they only became aware of the alleged infringement after hearing “Break My Soul.” They notified Beyoncé and other defendants last month, but say she has refused to take a license.

Big Freedia publicly thanked Beyoncé for the opportunity to be part of “Break My Soul,” but did not acknowledge the source of the sampled phrases. Representatives for Beyoncé and Sony Music have not commented on the allegations.