Last week, almost exactly a year from its original release, “Drunk In Love,” a collaborative track by power couple Beyoncé and Jay-Z, is receiving some negative attention. A Hungarian folk singer by the name of Mitsou is claiming that the single, which debuted on December 17, 2013 as a precursor to Beyoncé’s self-titled surprise album release, actually uses samples of the folk singer’s voice throughout it.
Monika Miczura Juhasz, artistically known as Mitsou, states that she recorded the Roma folk song “Bajba, Bajba Pelem” in 1995 and that her vocals from that recording were stolen and drastically manipulated by Beyoncé, husband Jay-Z, and Timbaland, who co-produced the track. While the song at the core of the lawsuit is seemingly invisible online, there is a version of “Bajba, Bajba” by the band Ando Drum, which credits Mitsou as the lead vocalist. There is much debate as to whether or not the song in question is in fact replicated and distorted for use on the popular single of “Drunk In Love,” most of which stems from loyalty or lack of for the dynamic duo. The sampling of the vocals, yet to be identified as Mitsou, continues from the beginning of the track into the first verse and develops again when HOV makes his appearance.
The suit filed on December 12th, 2014 states that the vocals are used to “evoke foreign eroticism alongside the sexually intense lyrics” and describes Mitsou as “a Hungarian singer with considerable international acclaim.” She expresses that a third of the song demonstrates her 1995 vocals, and that she found out about this wrongful usage from friends who recognized the sample and began bringing it to her attention. If these samplings do in fact belong to Mitsou, she is requesting “special damages.” These include court costs, attorney’s fees, and compensatory damages for past plays. In addition to these monetary compensations, she is requesting an order from the judge forbidding any future plays of “Drunk In Love.”
While it is rare for civil lawsuits to go to trial, it seems that Mitsou is adamant on her claims, settling for nothing less than what the suit is requesting. While the outcome is expected to take some time, Bey and Jay are staying quiet for now.