Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Mac Miller Lord Finesse


By now you're probably aware that Lord Finesse is suing Mac Miller. If not, you can read some of the details here: Complex

This lawsuit has sparked much debate since the news broke. Predictably many have argued against Finesse on the basis of him being mad, old, and - this just in - practically homeless. This type of barbershop argument is commonplace on the Internet, so I won't waste much time commenting on lolz, but there is one point of contention in this mess that I find interesting, and that is the issue of clearing samples.

A lot of people (including Mac Miller) are under the belief that Finesse did not clear the sample(s) for this track. I don't know if this is true or not, but I initially failed to see (or ignored?) its relevance.

I knew it would be a matter of moments, and as expected, the relevance was soon made clear to me in a tweet by a Hip Hop producer (one of my favorites):


I believe the point being made here is that Lord Finesse is being somewhat hypocritical. Well, that really sounds like some unwritten rule shit to me. Do we not believe that Finesse is fully aware of the risk of legal action when using the work of other artists? If he was sued, do you think he would scream injustice, or resort to bitching? Shouldn't all artists (including new cats like Mac Miller) be aware of these same risks, regardless of what is being sampled (Jazz or Hip Hop), or how you intend to use the music? (Album or Mixtape)


Basically my position is this: whether or not a person cleared samples for their composition, it shouldn't absolve another person (and their management team) of not using due diligence when dealing with copyright laws. It's like a kid using the 'well he did it too!' argument. There was similar outrage when Chuck D. took issue with Bad Boy and DJ Premier sampling his voice for Ten Crack Commandments. "Hey Mr. Chuck...you've sampled in the past, why are you mad?"

Headz, understand this: The Four Elements, and 'back in my day' Hip Hop code of ethics do not hold up in a court of law. To throw another cliche out there, handle your business...properly.

I understand that Mac Miller has stated that he did have a conversation with Lord Finesse, and Lord Finesse says that his cease and desist letter was ignored. We don't know the full story, and we're all gonna have to wait for this to settle in or out of court.

Whether he has a case or not, can we please not act like Finesse doesn't the right to explore legal options, or that Mac Miller is under protection by some code.

This is the real world.

Hip Hop will not save you.

10 comments:

Richard Tre Mane said...

Although he has a ridiculously punchable face, I'm siding with Mac Miller. It's a song on a free internet mixtape and rapping over over people's songs on mixtapes has been standard practice since the 90s.

Finesse didn't mind when people like Papoose were rapping over his instrumentals on mixtapes, nor did he mind taking a cut of the profits from those Big L freestyle compilations DITC put out where L rapped over instrumentals by Sauce Money, Cool Breeze, Milkbone etc on mixtapes/the radio.

He also saw no problem jacking the beat and hook wholesale from a Clipse song a mere 3 years ago for a mixtape track of his own, or having a production credit on that recent Joey Bada$$ mixtape where Joey jacked DOOM and Dilla instrumentals, or profiting from that Diggin' On Blue mixtape he released of all Blue Note music where he even freestyled over other people's songs without permission.

Kinda hypocritical, no?

It just strikes me as an oppurtunistic move on a Mac Miller song that's nearly 2 years old anyway after the Pete & Lupe situation because he knows Mac Miller is getting $$$$$ and he sees him as an easy target since he's a pint-sized white kid.

done said...

If lawsuits had juries Mac's excessively reasonable twitter response would breeze him through/have every juror wanting to pinch his cheek,and not because of his Craig Mack adult acne either.

Boothe said...

I understand what you're saying about the mixtape thing, but again, that's more of an unwritten rule thing. Just because people (including Finesse, I assume) have been cool with it in the past, it doesn't take away from his right to choose not to be cool with it when he decides.

Everything else you listed, it seems to me the creators were cool, or didn't care enough about Finesse using their material. Again, it's their choice. If they come after Finesse, he (especially now) has little reason to complain about it.

He may have went after Mac for the reasons you listed. He may have to wear the Hip Hop Scarlet Letter for a few days (we'll all move on), but again, he had options. This is the path he chose.

Boothe said...

@Done

Yeah, he's been gracious.

fish said...

who's the producer that needs a lesson on contractions?

Boothe said...

Now now, Fish. No need to get all scholarly on us here. I think we all know what Mr. Siguenza wanted to communicate.

fish said...

i was just curious who said it. for what it's worth, i disagree w/ the comment. finesse has every right to go after someone if he feels like he was wronged, just as every jazz/soul/disco/rock artist has the right to go after a hip-hop producer who didn't clear a sample.

Boothe said...

*nods in agreement*

Mr Bozack said...

don't really care - finesse is a bina fide legend and i'd back him to the hilt over that little bitch made asswipe, regardless of any sort of facts.

kevin parker said...

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