MF DOOM‘s widow and estate have sued the rapper’s former A&R, seeking to retrieve the late rap icon’s personal notebooks.
Jasmine Dumile Thompson, the widow of the rapper, along with Gas Drawls – the LLC that controls the late rapper’s intellectual property – have sued Eothen “Egon” Alapatt, MF DOOM’s former A&R for copyright infringement, fraud, intentional misrepresentation and unjust enrichment.
Thompson claimed in the lawsuit that Alapatt stole 31 of the rapper’s notebooks which were used to write down his famous songs that were featured on 1999’s ‘Operation Doomsday’, 2004’s ‘Madvillainy’ and ‘MM…FOOD’. The notebooks also included unreleased songs ideas, musings and “other creative ideations.” (Per Billboard)
Per The Fader, the lawsuit also names 50 unidentified “Does”, who Thompson believes were working alongside Alapatt. According to the complaint Alapatt has admitted to possessing the notebooks but refuses to return them.
Instead of returning the notebooks, Alapatt is allegedly demanding that they be “donated to a university or government archive” or a “museum or other institution of [Alapatt’s] choosing,” which is contrary to his estate’s wishes. According to the lawsuit, “[The notebooks] were intended by DOOM to be secret and confidential.”
The issues with the rapper’s property began back in 2010 when MF DOOM travelled to the UK and was not able to re-enter the US due to immigration issues (he was born in Hounslow). According to the lawsuit, the 31 notebooks were left behind at his studio in Los Angeles and Alapatt “took unlawful possession” of the books about six years later.
“Alapatt never consulted with DOOM about his acquisition of the notebooks and took advantage of DOOM’s being out the country to obtain them,” read the lawsuit. Allegedly, Alapatt lied about having the notebooks in his possession before later claiming that he had taken them as a payment for a $12,500 debt that was owed to him by DOOM for rent on the studio.
Months before the rapper’s death in 2020, Alapatt allegedly offered to send photocopies of the notebooks to DOOM. The rapper’s estate said that in October of that same year, Alapatt sent a hard drive with hi-res scans of the notebooks’ contents.
The lawsuit has claimed that the scans prove that the exec was infringing on the estate’s intellectual property by copying and distributing DOOM’s intellectual property. The suit also alleged that Alpatt was in talks with archivists and collectors in order to sell the notebooks or copies of the content within them.
“Although Alapatt has professed that he ‘does not intend to publish’ the unauthorized digital copies he made, he does not have to ‘publish’ the copies of his infringing copies to be liable. Regardless, [DOOM’s estate] alleges that Alapatt actually shared the copies of the notebook he made with others,” read the suit.
Alapatt’s lawyer, Kenneth Freundlich said in a statement to Billboard: “Mr. Alapatt looks forward to his day in court to dismiss these frivolous and untrue allegations. Mr. Alapatt rescued these books from DOOM’s unpaid landlord who had taken possession of all of his belongings.”
He continued: “With DOOM’s blessing, Mr. Alapatt intended to donate the books to either the Smithsonian or the Cornell University Hip Hop Archive, where they could be considered and studied by scholars, in the same way that manuscripts by great poets or sheet music by great composers are. Mr. Alapatt will do everything he can to ensure that these historically significant books are archived and protected.”
In other MF DOOM news, back in July, Leeds Hospital apologised to the rapper’s family after being questioned about the quality of his care prior to his death.
DOOM’s wife claimed that it was negligence by the staff at the Leeds hospital that led to his eventual passing, and alleged that those working at St James’ Hospital at the time failed to check on her husband frequently. She also claimed that the medical staff were two hours late when it came to administering medication for him.
In the time since his death, various figures from across the music industry have come together to keep the rapper’s legacy alive. This includes a posthumous feature on ‘Cheat Codes’ – an album made by Danger Mouse and Black Thought – and plans for a biography, called The Chronicles of DOOM: Unraveling Rap’s Masked Iconoclast, written by veteran music journalist S. H. Fernando Jr.
Thom Yorke also shared a remix of MF DOOM‘s ‘Gazzillion Ear’ in tribute to the late musician, and a street block in Long Beach, New York was officially renamed in his memory.
The honour was granted to the rapper after extensive lobbying from Dr. Patrick C. Graham, a professor, public and social sector leader and former schoolmate of DOOM.
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