Beyonce is being sued by the estate of murdered New Orleans rapper and comedian Messy Mya for sampling his videos in her hit song, Formation, without permission.
According to TMZ, a lawsuit filed in the US District Court in Louisiana claims the singer used samples from the YouTube star’s popular videos in her 2016 single without providing remuneration or credit.
Before his death in 2010, Messy Mya (real name Anthony Barré) was well known in New Orleans for his bright, purple hair and scathing but humorous social commentary, which he regularly showcased on his YouTube channel.
One particular line used in Formation comes from Barré’s 2010 video A 27-Piece Huh? in which he talks to a woman about her hairstyle.
“Oh yeah baby … oh yes, I like that,” Barré says in the clip, which has received 176,708 views on YouTube.
Watch Messy Mya’s clip (warning: explicit language)
Beyonce used the line mid-way through Formation, which shot to the top of music charts around the world upon its release and has since been nominated for three Grammys.
In another video titled Booking the Hoes from New Wildin, Barré says the line, “What happened in the New Orleans?”, which was also used in Formation‘s opening.
The filing states the samples from the Messy Mya videos were “the defining introduction of the song Formation and the seed from which the entire song grows”.
It also states that Beyonce and her team have “received many accolades and substantial profits” from the song.
The estate’s attempts to contact the star allegedly went unanswered and it is now seeking $US20 million ($A26 million) in damages.
Listen to Beyonce’s Formation below (Messy Mya’s quotes appear at the 0:02 and the 1:00 mark)
Barré’s death on November 14, 2010 captivated US media and prompted an outpouring of grief on social media.
He was only 22 years of age when he was gunned down leaving a baby shower for his unborn son.
A 24-year-old man suffering from bipolar disorder was originally charged with Barré’s death and spent three years in prison.
However, the charges were dropped and he was released when evidence emerged placing him far away from the crime scene and another man, who remains unidentified, confessed to the murder.
This isn’t the first time Beyonce has faced legal action over her music.
In 2016, she was sued by clothing designer Dwayne Walker for using a logo for his brand, Roc-A-Fella, in her 2013 video Drunk in Love. The case was dismissed.
Also dismissed was a 2016 lawsuit brought by filmmaker Matthew Fulks, who alleged the singer had copied one of his short films for her visual album, Lemonade.
Beyonce is yet to comment on the lawsuit.