Mac Miller and Lord Finesse Reach A Settlement (Video Inside)

| January 19, 2013 | 0 Comments

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Recently Rostrum Records star, Mac Miller, and legendary producer, Lord Finesse, came to a settlement over the $10 Million dollar copyright infringement suit filed by Lord Finesse.

Mac Miller used a sample of the Lord Finesse 1995 song “Hip 2 Da Game” for his song  “Kool Aid and Frozen Pizza”. The track that Mac used was for his own free mixtape, K.I.D.S. Many felt that since the track was used for a free mixtape, then Lord Finesse really has nothing to sue about, but that’s not what a judge decided.

This isn’t the first or the most recognizable time that something like this has happened. Prior to the release of Lupe Fiaco’s Food & Liquor 2, Lupe found himself in a war of words with famed producer Pete Rock, over the use of Pete Rock & CL Smooth’s classic record “T.R.O.Y.”.  The two eventually settled their differences offline.

So what does this do for the mixtape scene? Should this make artists weary when it comes to grabbing an instrumental to use for a mixtape? Producer/Engineer d.C, who has provided music for everyone from Amalgam Digital artist, Chuuwee, to commercials for Mini Cooper and TV shows like Love & Hip Hop sees the announcement as a win and lose for both artists and producers.

“I think on one hand it’s a shame that Hip Hop has adopted music industry standards and started suing people for improper use for one’s music.  Hip-Hop is deeply rooted in lifting and “borrowing” other’s work to create something new and different from it.  Think about this, if Mac Miller ended up being a nobody, Lord Finesse probably wouldn’t have sued him.  It’s like all sample clearance lawsuits, they only go after the people they know they can make money on” said d.C

The settlement for d.C and other producers means that they will also get some of the shine that they truly deserve.”On the other hand, I think it’s a good step for producers.  A lot of producers are getting taken advantage of by artists especially when it comes to the business of mixtapes.  Artists are propelling their careers and producers see little to no benefit from helping them.” 

Hip-Hop is the only genre of music where major label/while known/established artists give albums away for free.  Just because an artist chooses to give their music away for free doesn’t mean the producer has to be forced to do so as well.  This case shows that lawsuits can be won even if no money was made on a song.  The value of a copyright is more than just a monetary value. I don’t think it will change how artists use beats because this is such a rare case.  If it empowers more producers to sue artists then we’ll see a shift in the way artists use beats for mixtapes” continued d.C.

If more producers make a fuss about this, then the people who will be hurt most will be the artists. Especially those still in the underground. Local Atlanta underground stand-out, Phene spoke openly when asked about the news of the settlement.

“I can understand Lord Finesse wanting to get his just due, but 10 million dollars was over the top,” said Phene. Phene has rocked the A3C stages this past year and is already booked to perform at SXSW in March, made his name off his many mixtapes. So when asked if this would alter his process or others when it comes to picking what track to use for a mixtape his answer went straight to the point. “I feel like if more producers did what he did, it would shut down a lot of rappers and up-coming producers. As far as for me, I just won’t use any Lord Finesse tracks”. 

With the way artists dig into digital crates everyday to pull out instrumentals for mixtape use, it’s going to be very interesting to see if suing for sampling becomes a trend.

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