Statement From Empawa Africa On Bad Bunny + Rimas Music’s Unauthorized Use Of Joeboy’s “Empty My Pocket”

In a recent media statement, Rimas Music asserted that it has “acted properly and followed standard industry protocols” in regards to the sampling and interpolation of Joeboy’s “Empty My Pocket” on Bad Bunny’s Un Verano Sin Ti track “Enséñame a Bailar.” This is categorically untrue. emPawa Africa is deeply concerned by Rimas’ deflection from its failure to secure any publishing clearance from, and provide any songwriter credit to, the actual creators of “Empty My Pocket,” Joeboy and producer Dëra, whose respective vocals and composition are clearly heard on the song.

Statement From Empawa Africa On Bad Bunny + Rimas Music’s Unauthorized Use Of Joeboy’s “Empty My Pocket”

Standard industry protocol involves obtaining clearance on both the master and publishing side before releasing a record that samples and/or significantly interpolates another. No attempt was made at clearing this record on the publishing side prior to the release of “Enséñame a Bailar” on May 6, 2022 and since that date no clearance has been secured or agreed to.

Rimas Music states that it purchased the master recording from Lakizo Entertainment which, it also states, “is identified in numerous public sources as the track’s creator and owner.” This claim falsely implies that Lakizo Entertainment is the sole creator and owner of “Empty My Pocket.” Joeboy is the sole performer of “Empty My Pocket,” a song which he wrote on a beat composed by Dëra. Lakizo Entertainment’s role in the release of “Empty My Pocket” was as a licensed distributor; In assuming this role, Adesina Lekan (dba Lakizo Entertainment) negotiated the rights to a partial share in the writing and production credit, as well as a partial share in the master. In actuality, Lakizo Entertainment’s only creative contribution to the 2021 master recording of “Empty My Pocket” was adding its “It’s Lakizo, baby” tag at 0:07.

No one should confuse Rimas’ alleged payment to Lakizo Entertainment for the master with a publishing clearance. Nor should they confuse emPawa Africa’s request for composer credit, publishing and royalties for Joeboy and Dëra with a request for the sort of upfront payment Rimas Music states that it made to Lakizo Entertainment. 

emPawa Africa has made it clear that it has never asked for any cash compensation, only respect for Joeboy and Dëra’s intellectual property. 

Rimas’ statement argues “emPawa failed to forward documents to prove that they are authorized to act on the writer’s behalf.” Proof that emPawa Publishing, the publishing arm of emPawa Africa, represents Joeboy, as well as Dëra, is demonstrated in the same public sources (i.e. any performing rights database) through which Rimas apparently determined Lakizo Entertainment’s claim to master ownership. Furthermore, these same public sources also list Joeboy and Dëra as legal creators and owners of the song, alongside Lakizo. The inference by Rimas Music that emPawa Africa should provide Rimas with the entirety of its contracts with Joeboy or Dëra is absurd, and inconsistent with standard industry practices.

If Rimas was truly unaware of this relationship, it would not have contacted Kobalt, the administrator for emPawa Publishing, seeking to obtain publishing clearance after the song’s release. Instead of acknowledging our subsequent proposal, it opted recently to register its preferred publishing split without clearance or approval from emPawa. Since doing so, Rimas has not responded to further publishing conversations or queries. It was this action which prompted Kobalt, acting on behalf of emPawa Publishing, to place the publishing on “Enséñame a Bailar” in dispute.

We look forward to resolving this matter cordially with Rimas Music.

– Mr Eazi and the emPawa Africa Team (Feb. 16, 2023)