In the summer of 2010, a burgeoning, yet hardly ubiquitous, rapper named Mac Miller released his fourth mixtape K.I.D.S., which included the track "Kool Aid and Frozen Pizza." Miller used the instrumental from "Hip 2 Da Game," a 1996 track from producer/rapper Lord Finesse, to soundtrack the breezy song, and all was the right with the world for two years.
Until last night. According to Courthouse News Service, Finesse filed a $10 million lawsuit against Miller, Miller's label Rostrum Records and popular mixtape site datpiff.com for unauthorized use of his track.
"This is a case about a teenage rapper—Mac Miller—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," the complaint states. K.I.D.S. has been downloaded via DatPiff more than 500,000 times and has been streamed more than 450,000 times, the lawsuit states.
Finesse claims to have sent Rostrum a cease-and-desist letter earlier this month, but that the label had yet to respond. According to Courthouse News, "the $10 million lawsuit alleges copyright infringement, unfair competition, unjust enrichment, interference, deceptive trade practices, and a number of related state law claims."
Miller responded to the lawsuit on his Twitter, saying, "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. All I wanted to do is shed light on a generation that inspired me. 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. When I heard there was a problem, I reached out to him to try and solve it. No response."
Finesse took to his own Twitter page to respond, claiming (via Hiphopdx) "1. I appreciate Mac’s kind words but his people did not handle his business correctly. 2. Basics – Mixtapes are one thing, but you can’t take someone’s else’s entire song, shoot a music video and call it your own. 3. Mac’s on the top of his game right now. I wish him the best in Europe and I hope to hear from him besides on Twitter."
Listen to Miller and Finesse's tracks below.