In their lawsuit, Andrew and Shirley Green, who adopted Natalie in 2012, claim they didn’t give permission for ‘Ye to use their daughter’s voice on the song, according to TMZ on Friday (Feb. 8). The Greens contend that Kanye asked Natalie’s birth mother, Alice Johnson, for permission to use Natalie’s voice but she doesn’t have to legal right to do so.
Furthermore, they alleged that the rapper-producer’s team promised to send Alice a written license agreement and payment but never did. The Greens are reportedly seeking a percentage of the profits from “Ultralight Beam” and other damages.
Natalie was only four years old when her voice was heard on the opening of “Ultralight Beam,” which also features Chance The Rapper, Kelly Price, Kirk Franklin and The-Dream. Her vocals came from a viral Instagram clip, which features the then-toddler’s voice invoking a fiery church sermon. “We don’t want no devils in the house, God!” proclaims Natalie. “We want the Lord, and that’s it!”
Since its January 2016 posting, the clip has garnered over 43,000 views and 7,000 likes. There’s no word on how Kanye discovered the video in the first place. “Ultralight Beam” is one of the most popular songs from the album and garnered Kanye two Grammy Award nominations for Best Rap/Sung Performance and Best Rap Song in 2017.
XXL has reached out to Kanye West’s team for comment.
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