Prominent Christian hip-hop artists have come together to wage a lawsuit against pop star Katy Perry, her record label and others over the claim that the music for her hit "Dark Horse" was ripped off from "Joyful Noise," a popular Christian rap song released back in 2008.
But in addition to the claim that Perry and her co-writers "infringed the copyright," Flame (Marcus Gray), Chike Ojukwu, Emanuel Lambert and Lecrae Moore, are charging that their song has been "irreparably tarnished by its association with the witchcraft, paganism, black magic, and Illuminati imagery evoked by the same music in 'Dark Horse,'" according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Katy Perry performs "Dark Horse" at the 56th annual Grammy Awards at Staples Center on Sunday, Jan. 26, 2014, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP)
They argue in a lawsuit filed in federal court Tuesday that "Joyful Noise," a song that was nominated as best rap/hip-hop tune at the 2008 Gospel Music Association's Dove Awards, was exploited and used for profit by Perry, Capitol Records and additional parties.
While "Joyful Noise" is a rap song focused on praising God and driving listeners to Jesus Christ, Perry's "Dark Horse" focuses on "witchy" and "spelly" themes pertaining to love.
Listen to "Joyful Noise" here:
And compare it to Perry's "Dark Horse":
What do you think? Are the beats similar? The rappers waging the legal battle against one of pop music's most popular acts certainly think so.
According to Courthouse News Service, the relevant portion of the their complaint reads:
"By any measure, the 'Dark Horse' song also constitutes an infringement of plaintiffs' copyright in their Christian gospel song 'Joyful Noise,' released five years before 'Dark Horse.
Specifically, defendants' unauthorized reproduction, distribution, and public performance of plaintiffs' musical composition constitute infringement of plaintiffs' exclusive rights in their copyright.
And by any measure, the devoutly religious message of 'Joyful Noise' has been irreparably tarnished by its association with the witchcraft, paganism, black magic, and Illuminati imagery evoked by the same music in 'Dark Horse."
As for claims that Perry's tune damages the Christian song by relying on themes pertaining to the occult, consider how the singer once described "Dark Horse."
"The lyrics are kind of witchy and dark — and its as if I was a witch warning this man not to fall in love with me and if you do, just know that I'm going to be your last," Perry told MTV last year of the themes embedded in "Dark Hose."
Watch her describe the song below:
Gray, Ojukwu, Lambert and Moore are seeking "an injunction, damages and the defendants' profits gained from the unauthorized use of 'Joyful Noise,'" according to Courthouse News Service.
Radio and TV host Glenn Beck called out the "witchcraft and demonic glorification" in Perry's performance of the song at the Grammy Awards in January.
And as TheBlaze previously reported, the music video for "Dark Horse" angered Muslims around the same time, leading to the removal of footage featuring an Arabic pendant. Muslim critics had launched a petition calling the imagery blasphemous.
Perry was previously a Christian singer before abandoning faith-based music to enter the secular market.
This isn't the first time she's been accused of stealing a melody either, though the previous scenario didn't result in a legal battle and the singer at the center of it — Sara Bareillas — dismissed claims that Perry's previous hit "Roar" was too similar "Brave," her 2013 hit.
Read the rappers' complaint below: