Most Americans associate Robert Downey Jr. with Iron Man, but not rap fans. For as long as Ghostface Killah has been a member of the Wu-Tang Clan, the rapper has operated under the alias "Tony Starks," or the man under the red-and-yellow mask. Many of the urban tales and grim character studies in Ghostface's music center around this superhero pseudonym, and his association with the Marvel star even resulted in a cameo in Iron Man 2. However, Ghostface's love for the metallic hero might cost him -- the composer who wrote the "Iron Man Theme" is suing Ghost for illegally sampling the track, the Hollywood Reporter writes.
Jack Urbont, or Jacques Urbont as IMDb calls him, created the "Iron Man Theme" in 1966 for the cartoon The Marvel Superheroes and its standalone Iron Man show. And make no mistake about it, Ghostface does sample Urbont's composition. In fact, he samples it twice. The Ghostface songs in question came out over a decade ago on Ghostface's excellent Supreme Clientele, so unless Urbont is down with the Wu, it's unlikely this old composer would be listening to the album.
However, even if Urbont never heard Supreme Clientele, the "illegal sample" was hiding in plain sight: The offending song that uses the entire "Iron Man Theme" is the very first on the LP. The album's opener, "Intro," starts up with the Urbont theme. But that's not all: Supreme also closes on the "Iron Man Theme" on a track called, get this, "Iron's Theme - Conclusion." Ghostface named the song after the song he was illegally sampling, that's gangsta. Ghostdini could've called the track "Jack Urbont Song I Illegally Sampled" and it still would've taken 10 years for Urbont to find out about it.
Here's the song as Urbont envisioned it:
And here's "Iron Man Theme," followed by a probably illegally sampled snippet from an actual Iron Man episode, as the Supreme Clientele "Intro":
That's an open-and-shut copyright infringement case if we've ever heard one. We don't know if there's a statute of limitations on suing for illegal sampling, but just in case, Urbont had one additional complaint to draw some cash from Ghost's bulletproof wallet. "Defendant Ghostface is also known for the nickname, 'Tony Starks,' which is a take-off of the name 'Tony Stark,' Iron Man's real name and true identity. In this way, Defendants' use of Urbont's 'Iron Man Theme' gives them a substantial commercial advantage by linking Ghostface to Iron Man without paying for it," Urbont's lawsuit claims. If this ends in Ghostface losing his Tony Starks alias, Urbont might face the wrath of Wu Nation.
[Photo: JSN Photography/WireImage.com]
- Ghostface Killah
- Supreme Clientele