A Korean artist says Lil Uzi Vert plagiarized his work for the cover art of the rapper’s newest single “That Way.”
The song, which interpolates a melody and some lyrics from the Backstreet Boys’ hit of the same name, was released on March 1. Lil Uzi’s new album, “Eternal Atake,” dropped on March 6.
The Korean illustrator, Tae Tae, on Friday tweeted side-by-sides of the cover art with his own work. “Lil Uzi Vert’s latest album artwork and my paintings six years ago,” Tae Tae wrote. “I’ve seen this, so I can’t sleep tonight.”
The Philadelphia rapper responded to the claims on Instagram.
“Hey, I’m not a mean person or a thief,” Lil Uzi wrote. “I get inspired a lot if you want money I will have my team contact you and give you money signed…. Baby Pluto p.s. You’re a great artist.”
He continued, “Just because I’m famous doesn’t mean imma ignore the problem or shove money I wanna help in all areas I love art it’s the only thing that keeps me okay and leveled.”
The animator behind Lil Uzi’s cover art, Artxstic, told South Korean news website Chosun.com that “it was what Uzi asked for” and that Uzi told him to “recreate that art as him with no face tats and orange hair and make the heart orange.” Artxstic did not immediately respond to the Daily Dot’s request for comment.
Tae Tae, whose full name is Tae Yeon Lee, allows for the artwork to be used for non-commercial use but not for anything else. “We are currently talking to Lil Uzi’s management and there is no conclusion on compensation,” Tae Tae told the Daily Dot. “I will take legal action if the communication is not good.”
Tae Tae says that Artxstic has apologized but Uzi has not. But Tae Tae is still in good spirits—if exasperated. “I’m not in a bad mood. I don’t hate Lil Uzi,” he said. “But I had to insist on my rights to the work this way and I’m a little tired of it.”