ISH KNOWS…as if Hip Hop wasn’t already hurting, now one of the Old School cats Lord Finesse (L.F.) is suing a young star in Mac Miller and showing just how out of touch he is with the current times.
First, from a legal perspective, L.F. does NOT have much precedent going in his favor. Mac released the mixtape ‘K.I.D.S.' for free. He made absolutely no money off this mixtape directly. This case is akin to Don Henley suing Frank Ocean over the use of a “Hotel California” sample on Ocean's single “American Wedding.” The resolution to that case was that Ocean had to proactively assist in taking down the track from most online distributors and channels like Datpiff.com. Ocean also can no longer legally perform the track live. Essentially, the most I see Finesse getting from this case is a cease and desist against Mac Miller for this one particular track.
Secondly, L.F.’s suit is so hypocritical and so against the very heart of Hip Hop. This genre was rooted in the very foundation of sampling. As Mac noted, Finesse had “never cleared the Oscar Peterson sample on the original record.” Finesse argues that grabbing various samples from other genres to make an original work is completely different than grabbing a beat and using it as is, verbatim. It’s the same argument that Pete Rock made against Lupe Fiasco using the “T.R.O.Y.” beat for “Around my Way” (which was paid for and cleared; thus no suit). That’s completely bogus. The mixtape scene, especially of late, has seen numerous artists from Lil Wayne to Wiz Khalifa to Kanye West jump over firmly established instrumentals. If L.F. is to win this case, he’d single-handedly create a terrible precedent that would hurt the the heart and soul of Hip Hop and completely undermine the very existence of the mixtape scene.
Hip Hop was created out of the fact that inner city youth had no real access to formal music education. As such, they took influences from other genres (notably reggae) along with other samples to create what we have today. They made it happen without fear of legal repercussions because the system could care less about them. So, Finesse wants to argue that sampling jazz or blues is different than just ripping a track as is…that’s BS. Mac Miller created a completely different track with a new concept and theme. Also, Mac’s gone on the record stating he was paying homage to an old school legend in order to educate the younger generation. This screams real hip hop homie!
Unfortunately, the real issue at hand is the almighty dollar. Mac Miller is finally successful and has a notable buzz going for himself. As such, Finesse’s thirsty ass sees an opportunity to make money off this kid’s back. How ironic that this is exactly what those in power at labels and publishers did to Blacks in the late to early 90s. No one gave a shit about the fact that Hip Hop was illegally sampling. But, the minute folks saw that there was money to be made off this genre, people started suing rappers. Similarly, ‘K.I.D.S.' came out in 2010. Yet, Finesse decides to sue Mac Miller in 2012, right after Mac's debut album goes #1, and, the kid is starting to make money.
Also, he’s sending the wrong message by going after Datpiff.com. Datpiff has done an amazing job helping launch various acts. Mixtapes are arguably the bread and butter launch pad for young up-and-coming acts. Finesse claims this is about Hip Hop yet is suing an integral tool for young rappers to rise. Go figure.
The hypocrisy cracks me up. If Finesse was to be honest, he’d just admit he’s a money hungry opportunist instead of claiming he’s doing this for the integrity of Hip Hop and saying “This case is about the overall picture.. If you’re just looking at “one” point.. It’s about so much more #look deeper..” The act of pointing out that YouTube made money on the ads for the video is further evidence that Finesse is more concerned about money and his own selfish well-being than the future of this genre I grew to love and adore in the 90’s.