Kanye West Used the Same Loophole as Margot Robbie’s Barbie Did to Use Backstreet Boys Song for Vultures After Being Denied Permission

Kanye West found a way to use Backstreet Boys' song in his new album.

Kanye West Used the Same Loophole as Margot Robbie’s Barbie Did to Use Backstreet Boys Song for Vultures After Being Denied Permission


  • Kanye West allegedly used a song from Backstreet Boys in his album Vultures.
  • Margot Robbie's Barbie could not use Aqua's Barbie Girl song due to legal issues.
  • West and the Barbie team found a loophole to incorporate these hits into their songs.
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Kanye West is facing a lot of accusations for sampling music from artists without permission. Now, the rapper allegedly used a Backstreet Boys song in his latest album Vultures, though he is not being sued for it just yet.

kanye west 3
Kanye West (Michael Wyke/Associated Press, 2019)

This is one of the many complicated aspects of the music industry. In fact, Greta Gerwig’s Barbie had no permission to use the famous song from Aqua, though Nicki Minaj and Ice Spice managed to incorporate it in their latest song. How is this all possible?

Kanye West Allegedly Used A Backstreet Boys Song In Vultures

Kanye West’s first song in his Vultures album, Everybody, featured an interpolated chorus from Charlie Wilson with West, Ty Dolla $ign, and Lil Baby. Using a sample would require permission from both the publisher and the record label, but since they only incorporated an interpolation, they only had to seek the approval of the publisher.


The famous boy group Backstreet Boys did not write the 1997 hit Everybody (Backstreet’s Back). Swedish songwriter Max Martin and Denniz Pop did so only either of the two has the capability to sue Kanye West.

This is somewhat of a similar case to Margot Robbie’s Barbie. Remember that Barbie Girl song by Aqua? It’s quite a dismay that the billion-dollar movie was not able to use it as the main theme song since there are a lot of legal issues behind the scenes.

Ryan Gosling and Margot Robbie in Barbie
Ryan Gosling and Margot Robbie in Barbie

Barbie’s parent company, Mattel, sued the Aqua group for trademark infringement in 1997. One of their major complaints was how the wholesome brand of Barbie could be tarnished because of their music video featuring Ken dismembering Barbie by pulling off her arm. A Mattel spokesperson said via Variety:


Even if we found the lyrics acceptable, we would be filing this suit because the song was published and distributed without our permission and certainly without our notification.”

As they could not legally use the song in the movie, Gerwig’s team worked with Nicki Minaj and Ice Spice to bring the song Barbie World. In the background of the rap lyrics, fans will be able to hear Aqua’s song. Lene Nystrøm of Aqua told The Guardian:

We totally understood that they wanted something fresh and new. And then, just two months ago, we were asked to do the [Nicki Minaj and Ice Spice] collab. It happened really quickly.”

It seems like Mattel already buried the hatchet after they allowed this collaboration to happen.

Music Copyright Issues Are Every Artist’s Nightmare

Margot Robbie Barbie
Margot Robbie in Barbie

After the success of Barbie, Aqua found a new set of fans as they began to make waves again. Their one-hit wonder inspired other artists to create their own versions of the song. One of the most popular would be Ava Max’s 2018 single Not Your Barbie Girl and a Tiësto remix.


Same with the Backstreet Boys’ timeless classic hit, many of these old favorites get reimagined using modern beats. It’s just that copyright issues are very tricky, and it’s always a mess when a musician gets tangled in such kind of legal battles.


Written by Ariane Cruz

Articles Published: 2021

Ariane Cruz, Senior Content Writer. She has been contributing articles for FandomWire since 2021, mostly covering stories about geek pop culture. With a degree in Communication Arts, she has an in-depth knowledge of print and broadcast journalism. Her other works can also be seen on Screen Rant and CBR.