“I don’t think they cleared the sample, and instead of Lou Reed saying, ‘You can’t use it,’ he said, ‘Y’all can use it, but I get all the money from that…to this day, we haven’t seen a dime from that song.”
Lou Reed, of the rock band The Velvet Underground has earned every cent of the royalties from A Tribe Called Quest’s song “Can I Kick It?” since it was released. The group has never held a grudge against the singer, who’s now deceased, but does place the blame on the record label, who could have been more proactive about clearing the sample.
“I’m grateful that [the song] kicked in the door, but to be honest, that was the label’s fault. They didn’t clear the sample,” he says. “And rightfully so. It’s his art; it’s his work. He could have easily said no. There could have easily been no ‘Can I Kick It?’ So you take the good with the bad. And the good is, we didn’t get sued. We just didn’t get nothing from it.”