Lord Finesse's Lawsuit Against Mac Miller & Its Possible Repercussions

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There once was a kid sitting at home drinking Kool-Aid & eating frozen pizza, who decided to tell a pretty strong strand of weed that somehow turns him into Simba’s enemy. Little did this 18-year-old know that this song he gave out for free could cost him up to 10 million dollars two years later.

What might take such a hit to Mac’s pockets is the beat he chose to use — the same beat Lord Finesse used in his 1995 release Hip 2 Da Game. Although Mac didn’t make any money directly from the song — it was released as part of a free mixtape — Lord Finesse is suing on the ground thats Mac is guilty of “copying the music from a song written, produced and performed by Lord Finesse, a hip hop legend, changing the title and then distributing it under his own name in order to launch his music career,” according to the lawsuit.

Mac shed some light on the situation through a series of tweets, saying, “I’m supposed to be on hush but lemme speak on this real quick. 1. I made that record and video as nothing more than an 18 year old kid who wanted to rhyme and pay homage, no other intentions. 2. Finesse and I spoke on the phone for an hour after he heard the record and cleared the air. We even planned to work on music together. 3. All I wanted to do is shed light on a generation that inspired me. 5. Finesse never cleared the Oscar Peterson sample on the original record. I did nothing wrong. We spoke on the phone had a good conversation, he was cool with the record. It’s all love tho. I ain’t even mad at dude. He still a legend. 4. When I heard there was a problem, I reached out to him to try and solve it. No response. Lord Finesse, thank you for what u did for hip hop. Thank you for bringing my favorite rapper into the game.”

Mac does seem to be reacting pretty maturely to the lawsuit, and he seems to be in the right to me. Basically every artist has released content for free rapping over copyrighted beats. Very successful artists such as Kendrick Lamar & Tyga got their starts from mixtapes consisting mostly of remixed songs over copyrighted beats, and others such as Lupe Fiasco & Lil Wayne both have similar recent releases. This seems to be a pretty honest way to music, no? Using free beats to release free music. Seems pretty fair to me. However, Lord Finesse obviously disagrees.

What that means is that if this lawsuit successfully forces Mac Miller to forfeit any amount of money — even if it’s not the full (ridiculous) amount of $10 million — it may set a precedent in the music industry. Other producers & copyright holders would begin to target other artists who have gained buzz off mixtapes, and this could potentially kill the mixtape rap world: if artists can no longer release content with beats they obtained for free, they would no longer release music for free, needing to turn a profit somehow. Yes, all that free content we get; gone. And for all rappers, their main way to garner buzz in the Internet generation; gone, too.

For those reasons, I’m cheering for the oft-hated young MC defendant to win the lawsuit over the legendary DJ & producer. For the sake of rap.

RapGenius Moderator Screv6