Kanye West Champion Analysis

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Transformative Sampling: Fair Use in Kanye West’s “Champion” Transformative qualities are an essential aspect of deciding the applicability of fair use when borrowing from copyrighted works. Transformative equates to works that step beyond the replication of a copyrighted work. This can be accomplished by changing the purpose and adding artistic value to the new creation. Through the incorporation of a new purpose and character, consideration of the minimal portion used of the copyrighted work, and inspection of the lack of effect on the market of the original work, it is conclusive that Kanye West’s “Champion” falls under the protection of fair use when taking into account its incorporation of Steely Dan’s “Kid Charlemagne.” West uses a…show more content…
Another aspect that is also contributory to the first part of the fair use four-factor test, is the contrast of the use of the copyrighted line that West borrows from Dan’s work. West’s work incorporates the line from Steely Dan’s song that expresses “Did you realize / That you were a champion in their eyes?” (8-9). The character of these lyrics is distinctly different in West’s song. For West, this phrase defines the idolized image he sees when he reflects on his feelings about his father. Although his father was not a present figure in his life, West notes that his father’s efforts to provide for West’s living needs made his father a “champion” in his eyes. Meanwhile, Dan’s song utilizes the phrase as a means of reflection on the talents of the town’s drug manufacturer. Dan characterizes the manufacturer as being almost God-like. The manufacturer is a “champion” in the eyes of the consumers of his products. The purpose for the line incorporated in West’s song is completely different from that of Dan’s making his use of the copyrighted work a transformative one. Similarly, another aspect to consider in terms of the transformative qualities of West’s work is the structural musical composition in comparison to Dan’s song. Dan’s song consists of verses with the inclusions of two choruses. West’s work incorporates an interchange of the Steely Dan refrain, verses, hook, and bridge. When listening to “Kid Charlemagne,” the beats consist

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