Dua Lipa is headed to court over “Levitating,” again.
The “New Rules” singer and Warner Music Group are facing another copyright lawsuit over the mega-hit, this latest one from Bosko Kante, a music producer and musician who alleges he never agreed the star could use his “talk box” recording in remixed versions of the song.
In a lawsuit filed July 31, Kante alleges that he created a “talk box” track for use in Lipa’s original version of “Levitating” but that he didn’t give permission for it to be used in three subsequent remixes of the song — including the version featuring American rapper DaBaby that has more than 1.8 billion plays on Spotify.
“Talk box” recordings can be created in various ways, but Kante uses a tubeless mobile talk box, which is worn around the neck as the user produces sounds similar to a synthesizer or guitar through their mouth.
“Plaintiff made numerous attempts to resolve this matter short of litigation, but such efforts were unsuccessful, due to Defendants’ unwillingness to cooperate or accept responsibility for this blatant infringement of Plaintiff’s copyrights,” Kante’s lawyers wrote.
Kante founded and created the mobile talk box company ElectroSpit in 2014 and considers himself one of the best talk performers in the music industry. He’s also contributed talk box performances to works by Kanye West and Big Boi.
Kante alleges the “Levitating” agreement didn’t apply to remixes and that was made clear when he’d signed on to contribute to the track, meaning Lipa and Warner Music were in breach of the verbal contract.
“All three remixes sampled and incorporated a greater amount of plaintiff’s work than that used in the original version,” Kante’s lawyers wrote. “Defendants did not seek or receive any authorization or permission to use the composition or sound recording of plaintiff’s work from plaintiff.”
The lawsuit alleges that music producer Stephen Kozmeniuk approached the ElectroSpit founder in 2014 about creating a talk box performance that could be incorporated into “Levitating.” Kante created the track, and says that — although no written contract exists — they reached an oral agreement that Kante’s work would only be used in the original recording.
The lawsuit says Kante is entitled to more than $20 million.
This is the third lawsuit targeting the Grammy-winning artist over the 2020 hit, which spent 77 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 charts. In June, a court dismissed a copyright infringement lawsuit brought by Florida reggae band Artikal Sound System, which claimed the British pop star and her Warner Records songwriting team plagiarized the band’s 2017 song “Live Your Life.”
Representatives for Dua Lipa did not immediately respond to The Times’ request for comment.
Emily St. Martin is an entertainment reporter on the Fast Break Desk. Before joining the Los Angeles Times, she contributed to the New York Times, InStyle, Cosmopolitan, NBC, Vice, Los Angeles Magazine and the Southern California News Group. She also previously worked at the Hollywood Reporter. In 2022, she won third place for best news feature with the L.A. Press Club. St. Martin has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of La Verne and a master’s in creative nonfiction from UC Riverside.