Old School legend Lord Finesse, member of super group D.I.T.C. is suing up-and-comer Mac Miller and DatPiff.com for a whopping 10 million dollars. Apparently, Mac used the instrumental from Finesse’s track “Hip 2 da Game” for his mix tape cut “Kool Aid and Pizza” – without permission.
According to the suit, Finesse sent a cease and desist letter about a month ago requesting the removal of the song. When he didn’t receive a response, he sued alleging that the use of “Hip 2 da Game” was responsible for propelling Mac Miller’s music career, and thus, he should be eligible for a cut of that.
To further complicate the issue, Mac Miller claims he actually spoke to Lord Finesse when he first made the song. During a conversation between the two artists, Lord Finesse gave the “go-ahead” to continue using the song and even spoke of future plans to collaborate.
Now for my 2 cents… where do I even begin on this one?
First – let me start off by saying I do understand where Lord Finesse is coming from – to an extent. Millions of streams and downloads of the Mac Miller song/video have helped his career in some way. Unfortunately, I’m willing to bet that probably 10% (or less) of those people know or care who Lord Finesse is. Instead of helping boost sales of his back catalouge, no direct reference to Finesse has left him unknown to that audience. So for that, he is owed something.
Second – mix tape culture has always been a safe haven for copyright infringment. Pre-internet/early internet mix tapes weren’t distributed as widely as they are today so it was never a big deal to record labels or content owners. But now we’re talking 1 million+ downloads, offering nothing in return for the original artist – especially someone not widely known in the current rap fan generation like Lord Finesse.
Third – 10 million dollars? Has Mac Miller even made that much profit in his career so far? Lord Finesse is part of a crew known for sampling, so this is so strange to me. I don’t understand why these types of lawsuits aren’t looked at logically. Let’s assume that if Mac Miller was granted proper permission to use the instrumental, that Lord Finesse owned 50% of the rights. If Mac sold the song for $1.00 on Itunes, he would probably receive $0.25 per song sold. Divide that number by 2 ($0.125) and multiply by the amount of times the song was downloaded/streamed. Even at a high estimate – 3,000,000 – that leaves Lord Finesse with $375,000. Yes – still a large sum of money, but ALOT less than $10,000,000.
Fourth – How will the original sample play into this? For those that don’t know, Finesse sampled Oscar Peterson’s “Dream of You“. Did Finesse clear the sample when he released the song? Will Oscar Peterson’s publishers sue Mac Miller and/or Lord Finesse?
Finally – everyone needs to cool it with this old/new school beef. You may disagree with Lord Finesse, but don’t go around throwing dirt on a legend’s name. A quick look at the trending Lord Finesse topic on Twitter will reveal tweets like “He’s washed up and broke” etc… The man is responsible for lots of classics so show respect. Mac Miller isn’t exactly the next Rakim or Nas so his fans need to chill.
I’m assuming the whole thing will be settled out of court for an undisclosed amount, but we’ll see how this pans out…