Katy Perry’s ‘Dark Horse’ Ripped Off This Christian Hip-Hop Song, Jury Says

Katy Perry’s ‘Dark Horse’ Ripped Off This Christian Hip-Hop Song, Jury Says

Juicy J, Max Martin and Dr. Luke will also have to pay up.

Published July 30, 2019

Written by Danielle Ransom

Katy Perry’s five-year legal battle over the underlying beat used in her 2013 Grammy-nominated hit single, “Dark Horse,” finally concluded with quite the spin nobody was expecting.

  1. On Tuesday (July 30), a federal court in California sided with Christian rapper Marcus Gray, who asserted that Katy’s 2013 Juicy J-featuring "Dark Horse" single, which earned a Grammy nod, copied his 2009 gospel hip-hop song "Joyful Noise." Gray, who released the song under the stage name Flame, launched a lawsuit against Katy back in 2014 alongside his two co-writers. 

    In a head-turning twist of events, everyone involved with the distribution and production of the song will have to pay up some hefty legal fees, including Capitol Records and Juicy J (who only contributed his rap to the song), as well as Dr. Luke, Max Martin and Cirkut, who co-produced the beat for “Dark Horse.”

    Katy Perry will be back in court on Thursday where a judge will decide how much she and her co-defendants will have to pay back in damages.


  2. Last week, Katy told the judge that she came up with the lyrics for the song in four hours after Dr. Luke played the beat for her while they were hanging out and drinking wine together, according to TMZ.

    Her legal team followed up with an argument that the beat in question is so simple it should be available to all artists and played “Mary Had a Little Lamb” to get their point across.

    “They’re trying to own basic building blocks of music, the alphabet of music that should be available to everyone,” Perry’s lawyer Christine Lepera said.


  3. Katy also testified during the seven-day trial that none of the song’s creators had heard the song nor did they listen to Christian music. She also claimed she had never heard of Gray before the lawsuit. Gray’s attorney pointed out that Katy started out as a gospel singer before she transitioned to pop. 

    Ultimately, the jury unanimously sided with Gray after listening to the two tracks side by side and hearing testimonies from music experts. 

    The whole scenario has the internet drawing up comparisons, sheet notes included, between the two songs and has kicked off a battle over whether or not Katy actually copied Gray’s beats. Take a listen to them both below and compare for yourself.


(Photo from L-R: Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic and Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images)


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