Two facts that make Lord Finesse’s Mac Miller lawsuit interesting
Last week news broke that 90’s New York hip-hop fixture Lord Finesse was suing Mac Miller for using one of his beats on a mixtape. The vibed-out backbone of Miller’s “Kool-Aid and Frozen Pizza” originally came from Finesse’s 1995 single “Hip 2 Da Game.” Finesse wants $10 million for this violation. Watching Mac and Finesse go back and forth on Twitter has been weird. It’s cool to see Mac giving his respect (and, honestly, for using a classic track from an era that doesn’t get much shine these days). It sucks they apparently spoke and didn’t work anything out. Just in-case you’ve been living under a rock or are completely unfamiliar with the song, here is a stream of it to add some context and spark your interest a little more in the situation.
If you’re like me, your response to this was probably something like “smdh you can’t sue over a mixtape that was never for sale, especially over a track based on an Oscar Peterson sample he probably didn’t clear in the first place (because nobody did that back then)?” And you also might have been like “dude is not Hip 2 Da Game lolol.” But actually it turns out Finesse might have a case. I’m not a lawyer and I don’t really know shit, but I’ve had a few back and forths with shit-knowers and lawyers. Peep this wild speculation.
The idea that anything goes on a mixtape because it’s not for sale is totally wrong. If you can prove someone made gains on something you own without your permission, you can sue them. But if Jadakiss murdered your beat on one of the two-hundred mixtapes he was on in 2003, you’re going to have a tough time convincing a judge that that freestyle was worth anywhere near the cost of taking him to court. In Lord Finesses’s case, “Kool-Aid and Frozen Pizza” was kind of the undeclared single for the K.I.D.S. mixtape and huge track for Mac. It’s still hard to prove the direct connection between the song and Mac selling out shows, but the case is way less petty than the usual mixtape-related legal shot.
Lord Finesse might also be after that YouTube money and that last.fm money and that Spotify money – that streaming music money. Ideally every time you stream a song it tells the Illuminati and the Illuminati makes sure everyone who has points on the record gets their tiny little fraction of a penny. If “Kool-Aid and Frozen Pizza” is showing up on all the streaming sites as a Mac Miller song, not as a Lord Finesse track, that’s money out of Finesse’s pocket. When Mac is clocking seven-figure YouTube plays, that’s way more than a tiny fraction of a penny.
(By the way, this holds up whether or not Finesse ever cleared the sample; even if he didn’t, if his publishing is all filed right, he still owns the beat. It would be up to Oscar Peterson’s people to then sue for whatever money Finesse would get if he won the case.)
So this lawsuit might not be as dumb as everyone thought. Another question remainz though: if Finesse gave the green light to use the track like Mac says he did, why is he still suing? Did Finesse totally underestimate Mac’s potential? I only bring that up to say to everyone out there rapping, hustling, grindin, trappin or whatever if it all involves using other people’s shit, do your damn paperwork and get things in writing. Otherwise you might go from “this is so cool one of my favorite rappers is letting me use this beat” to “smdh one of my favorite rappers is suing me.”