MF Doom’s Widow and Estate Sue Rapper’s Former A&R, Seek Return of His Personal Notebooks

Jasmine Dumile Thompson, the widow of the late MF Doom, and Gas Drawls, the LLC that controls the rapper’s intellectual property, have sued Doom’s former A&R Eothen “Egon” Alapatt for copyright infringement, fraud, intentional misrepresentation and unjust enrichment. The plaintiffs claim they hold the rights to 31 of the late rapper’s notebooks currently in Alapatt’s possession. The notebooks contain rap lyrics, notes, rhymes from previously released and unreleased songs, drawings, and other ideas that the plaintiffs claim is Doom’s intellectual property. The complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, also names 50 Does, or individuals and/or entities whose names and capacities are currently not known, acting in concert with Alapatt.

Through the complaint, the plaintiffs are seeking an an injunction requiring the return of the notebooks, the destruction of any copies, and prevention of further reproduction or publication of the intellectual property contained in the notebooks. They claim Alapatt lied about how the notebooks came into his possession, and that the lie dissuaded from them pursuing legal action against him, constituting fraud. They allege that Alapatt’s possession and duplication of the notebooks has allowed him to reap “a substantial monetary benefit” and that they require compensation. They’re seeking a declaratory judgment from the court that the notebooks are their property and not Alapatt’s.

MF Doom met Alapatt while the latter was the general manager and A&R of Stones Throw Records. Alapatt is responsible for introducing Doom and Madlib, resulting in their monumental 2004 collaborative album, Madvillainy. In 2009, Doom officiated Alapatt’s wedding. The complaint alleges that Doom kept the collection of notebooks in his Los Angeles studio, and, by 2010, there were 31 of them. After traveling to the United Kingdom that year, he was unable to return due to immigration issues. The plaintiffs claim that, in 2016, while Doom was in the United Kingdom, Alapatt took possession of the notebooks. They claim that Alapatt told Doom that he paid the studio’s landlord “back rent” to prevent the notebooks from being destroyed, and that when Doom asked him to return the notebooks, he refused.

When reached by email, Alapatt’s attorney said:

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. 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.

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