Lord Finesse

Hip-Hop Icon Lord Finesse Suing Mac Miller, Rostrum Records and DatPiff For $10 Million


(AllHipHop News) Hip-Hop icon, producer and founder of the D.I.T.C. rap crew Lord Finesse is suing Mac Miller for $10 million for reportedly using the beat to his 1995 song “Hip 2 the Game,” which the producer claims essentially launched the 20-year old Pittsburgh native’s career.

According to reports, the $10 million suit, which alleges “copyright infringement, unfair competition, unjust enrichment, interference, deceptive trade practices, and a number of related state law claims, was filed in a New York federal court on Monday (July 9) against Mac Miller, Rostrum Records, and Datpiff.com.

The rapper has seen immense success since the release of his first mixtape, K.I.D.S., hit the internet in 2010.

The suit states that the case is “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.”

Finesses’ “Hip 2 the Game” was the same beat used on Mac’s “Kool Aid & Frozen Pizza” from K.I.D.S. which was the song that’s mostly credited as initially getting Mac attention as an artist when he first hit the scene.

Robert “Lord Finesse” Hall has also sued DatPiff.com, the website which initially made the mixtape available for download upon its release as well as the independent label of Rostrum Records which signed Mac Miller in 2010.

As of the time the suit was filed, the music video for Mac’s “Kool Aid & Frozen Pizza” had been viewed over 24 million times on YouTube while his K.I.D.S. mixtape has been downloaded over half a million times since its release.

Finesse is stating that Mac, whose real name is Malcolm McCormick, has “profited from the unauthorized use of the song.” The recently filed lawsuit cites a New York Times article from November of 2011 where Mac explained how the alleged infringement is “part of a strategy to build a fan base.”

According to the Times article, “A new generation of rappers is actively trying to build a new business model in which releasing oodles of free material online builds a fan base that paves the way for revenue streams: touring, merchandise, even something as old-fashioned as a record deal.

Finesse, who is being represented by Brian Levenson and Matthew Schwartz of Schwartz & Ponterio, has publicly stated that he filed the lawsuit against Mac, DatPiff.com and Rostrum Records after all three parties “refused to respond to a cease and desist letter that was issued earlier this month.

More information will be released as the story develops.

  • Bitch Mode shit by Finesse, It’s like he was waiting for Mac or something…like he ain’t know that shit 3 years ago…hell, like he ain’t record a demo over a breakbeat and shit. Sucka

    • Lord Finesse could never be in bitch mode and this is business he may have been filed for a case and it just came up or he did wait to see how good Miller would do.Either way.mac is wrong you can’t take somebody else’s music and not pay

      • Eli Pinilla

         yall are crazy man. it was a mixtape cut that came out 3 years ago. he just sent them a ceased and desist a month ago. shits been out and he been herd that shit. if u gonna get at mac for using a old ngga beat, then u need to get at jadakiss, joe budden, lupe, 50, and everybody else that done did the same shit to boost theyre career. hes gonna lose the case cuz mac never put it out for retail or profit. u can do shows with mixtape cuts, its legal!! im a hug fan of finesse, but he just b’in a old man with this shit

      • I think this case will change things.Your right though he didn’t release it as a retail project but, he did make money from the use of his beat.if nothing else he should be getting at least 25 to 50% of the publishing.

      • Eli Pinilla

         but how do u do that if you never released the song itself for profit?? does mac get into a “360 deal” with finesse?!?! does finesse get money from the shows and merchandise cuz he used the song?!?! i just dont see how finesse can point to this song as the reason that mac blew up and that thats the reason hes making the money.

      • EL_BARK

        Mis read you post

    • $27375470

      if somebody stole your sh*t and made money of it.. and you came to get your sh*t back would you see it as being b*tch made ?? stop it

    • churchboy2

      Can you explain why Mac didn’t hire Lord Finesse to make him a beat and pay him about $10K instead?

      Mac knew what he was doing.

      I have no problems with Finesse getting paid for his work. (He won’t get $10M, but he will, and should, get paid.)

      • S

        Was thinking same thing and truth be told “Art Y-Rap West” would have done the same thing too while he talking all that sucka sh!t. Playboy this is a BUSINESS move not personal. Mac didn’t handle his business the right way and he has to pay up. Period!

      •  that would be fine, but it’s not even finesse’s own work!  He didn’t clear the beat himself when he used it almost 20 GOD DAMN YEARS AGO, Mac even talked to him when he was gonna use it!

    • S

      Yeah! He probably did record over breakbeats but I bet he got clearence for using it. Plain and simple Mac didn’t handle his business and that was the right way to handle that situation. You don’t sue when the record first come out you let the record go platinum if possible THEN you break out them lawyers to make them break you off something. So it’s good he waited 3 years. MORE MONEY!

  • $27375470

    This is BUSINESS ! how is Mac Miller going to use somebody else’s music,make money off it and not even shout out the originator or break bread ??? that is messed up. Mac shudda made his OWN music and got on. too many new cats are playing the hell outta these legends as if they are dead

  • churchboy2

    Its the Return of the Funky Man!

    • escoe

       was hoping some was gunna say it!

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  • NYReppin716to718

    Same Bat time-Same Bat channel……Lord Finesse sued AT&T back in the 90’s for using the SAME song for the commercial with Bill Bellamy in it. He won a few milli behind the same situation using the same song….How crazy is that lmao. AT&T took that instrumental and went ham… The Whole DITC is the truth except fat joe.

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  • lovedagame299

    HAAEEELL YEEEE NEEQQQQAS

    I JUST GOT MYSELF SOME NEW WHEELS – A NEW CAMA RRO!! GOT APPROVED FOR 26K. IVE BEEN IN DA GUTTA FOR 5YRS – COUDN’T BUY NOTHIN’. ALL THAT ISHH IS DONE WITH THOUGH.

    IF YOU STRUGGLING WITH THAT CRE DIT HISTORY ISSHHH, GET RID OF ALL DAT TODAY – CALL THESE PEEPS AT EIGHT 77 864-1527 .  .  THEY DO AMAZING WORK AND THEY ARE CHEAP AS FUuQQ.  GOT RID OF ALL MY SHYYT IN NO TIME.

    My homeboy was in terrible shape too, and he clean! Gettin a condo. 

    HIT EM UP – THEY WILL HELP U!!

  • Lord Finesse should put Mac’s career in the grave. How do you not respond to a cease and desist letter? I would go in for 25 mil. Lord Finesse is a backbone of Hip-Hop. Don’t eff with DITC  PERIOD!

    • Insufficient Fare

      Make doesn’t even HAVE 25 mill, let alone 10 -________________-

    • DjLarryLuv

      i guess somebody is from the east coast lol. I respect DITC for what they did, but sayin 25 mil is a bit much

  • Insufficient Fare

    Wait, so Mac actually made money off of it? Because the mixtape was free. Unless he performed the song at paid shows. I know for a fact that you can’t get sued if you don’t make money off of it.

    •  nah, this is the same thing that got Frank Ocean fucked. For one, he HAS been performing it at paid shows, which automatically gets him in trouble. Next, he has “profited” from the song by gaining publicity from it.

      I know how the mixtape game works, but what many people don’t realize, including many of these rappers themselves, is that simply putting out the music on a free mix-tape doesn’t necessarily clear you of copyright infringement. If you put on paid performances where you perform mix-tape songs, or you can be proven to have generated you buzz and have made monetary profit because of such song, you can be in just as much trouble as someone who completely copies a song and puts it on a studio album.

      • Insufficient Fare

        Oh, see I didn’t know he was performing them at paid shows. I don’t care about him, so I don’t follow him. But I doubt someone can sue for “publicity profit”, if there’s no money from it. “Oh, I’m going to sue you, even though you didn’t make money off of my beat, I’m still suing since you garnered fans”. Really?

        I know you can’t make profit off of it, though. Unless it’s been cleared or whatever.

      • Dustin James

        should just make another beat that kind of sounds like it… and preform the remix? haha. that’s what I’d do!

      • Eli Pinilla

        frank ocean still performs the song though..u can do paid shows off of mixtape cuts, u just cant put the song out for sale.

      • phillip martin

        And he’s been served a cease and decease for performing American Wedding during paid shows. That’s the first step before he get sued.

    • bigdoe6

      The MIXTAPE allowed him to do shows, which allowed him to sell merch at shows so with that being said, YES he made money. So what the MIXTAPE was free, that MIXTAPE created a lane for him to go out and make him some money. Nothing personal it’s just business fam.

      • Insufficient Fare

        So if the mixtape/song creates a buzz and oppurtunity for someone, then the originator of the production can sue?

      • phillip martin

        Yep

    • YaheardSyndicate

      thats not true. I cant rent a stadium, re broadcast the superbowl, and let everyone in for free. Nfl will still sue me whether i made money or not

    • phillip martin

      That’s so wrong. You still need clearance from the original copyright holder before you can give someone else music away for free. You can be sued if you play the songs during a paid show as well. That’s whats fucked Frank Ocean

  • johnblacksad

    Mac can have Mom & Dad pay that off in no time… lucky kid!

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  • TruthSerum

    If he wins this lawsuit, imagine how many other lawsuits this will lead too

    Rakim suing Nas for rapping over the “Paid In Full” beat for the “Stillmatic Freestyle”

    Missy Elliot Suing 50 Cent for the “Work It Remix”

    Those 2 just came to mind real quick, there are 10’s of thousands more examples of Rappers, both legendary & irrelevant, who have freestyled over other peoples beats.

    This is Petty, I cant stand Mac Miller but If Finesse wins this kiss the mixtape scene goodbye

    • NYReppin716to718

      Nas didn’t go around doing shows and touring using that stillmatic freestyle. He only performed ‘either’ at his shows.

      50 was acutally in the real video for the work it remix-That was approved by Missy and released as a real remix and put out by the label.

      There isn’t a mixtape game now-it’s a lot of talk tapes going around.

  • Eli Pinilla

    mac just put out a statement sayin he talked to finesse about the beat 3 years ago and that finesse didnt even clear the beat himself!!! so if mac were to use it for profit, finesse wouldnt even be the one getting paid. how u gonna get mad at someone for using your beat without permission and you didnt even clear the sample off of the beat your complaining about?!?!?! hypocrisy from one of our legends, damn shame!!

  • DjLarryLuv

    this is bullshit.  Lord Finesse just wanted a quick payday.  How u gonna sue for not gettin clearence on a beat with an uncleared sample

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  • rep87

    If you feel someone has robbed you take them to court happens all the the time in the music game

  • johnblacksad

    Can’t blame Finesse for tryin… plus he gets a pass just for having been part of D.I.T.C.!

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  • Guillaume Pilon

    lord finesse need to shut his old ass up

    its was a mixtape track  so forget bout that money old man

    • Tony G.

      Yall kill me with that shit…wtf does his age have to do with anything…if the song was stolen it was stolen..idgaf if he’s 100 yrs old…and he’s prolly nicer than ur bum ass favorite rapper..if Mac and handle his business correctly he needs to pay..fuckouttaherwiththatdumbshit

    • YaheardSyndicate

      what does age have to do with it. Jay Z is probably older the Lord Finesse

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  • bigdoe6

    Welcome to the music business. Touring, Digital Sales, Politics, Lawsuits, you get the drift. If Mac put money in his pocket off this mans music then yea he should be paid too. A lot of these new rappers are getting mad shows booked, they are making mad money off merch too. If i was Mac i would’ve just bought some beats from dude. You got to be careful how you move. Can’t take anything personal it’s just business.

  • Tony G.

    Lot of youngins on here need to respect what Finesse and DITC means to HIPHOP..and alot of people obviously dont know the business

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  • scullyson

    Lord Finesse could spit like very few artist. Munf***s aint really wanna battle with Finesse on the mic…Nah..

  • In order to have “copy right infringement” one would actually have to sell and gain revenue off of the mix tape with the copy written material. This case will be thrown out. Mac didn’t do anything wrong, he made his mixtapes public for people to download not purchase. How many artists stole beats from other artists in the past. Some of the greats, seems like this guy is washed up and out of money.

    • ^ I cosign the comment about “copy right infringement” – $hit how many artists do mixtapes like these? how many would be guilty if this were the case? Nothings going to happen. I respect Lord F’s music but be happy someone wants to use it. It might shed light on you from a new school/younger kid who doesnt know who Lord Finesse is.

      • Finesse never cleared the Oscar Peterson sample on the original record. So it’s ok for him to “STEAL” but what about when someone “STEALS” from him???

    • YaheardSyndicate

      did you read the lawsuit? this man is getting paid big money to do shows, and perform a song he that he stole. They are going to settle for sure

    • That’s actually not true. Currently “fair use” is a hotly contested topic in litigation. The issue is not about someone directly profiting from a composition, or image etc. But if you can prove those items lead to or are instrumental in the process of creating revenue then you have a very serious argument; and in this situation Lord Finesse has a serious argument. It’s kind of funny that you think that a producer who’s worked on tons of influential records (including the chronic 2001) is washed up because he doesn’t want someone building a million dollar empire off of his work. 

      Section 107 contains a list of the various purposes for which the reproduction of a particular work may be considered fair, such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Section 107 also sets out four factors to be considered in determining whether or not a particular use is fair.The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes
      The nature of the copyrighted work
      The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole
      The effect of the use upon the potential market for, or value of, the copyrighted work

  • Q.

    That’s right, shake ’em down…pat them pockets!

    Enough of these runt-breed cornpuff rappers put out horse dung for music, while eating off the pioneers’ backs, flows, beats. It’s disgusting. The kid went from Lord Finesse to Justin Bieber–what’s wrong with that sentence? The legends gave you, correction…you jacked styles to run with and water down–the least you can do is give the titans a taste, throw ’em a few points. SMH

    Yeah, some of these new jacks got a lil’ flow, a few bars here and there, but they lack uniqueness, HEART, and depth. Therefore, you WACK. Tattoos, trickin’, and weed habits don’t make you a GREAT EMCEE. Get that through your heads.

    Quick. Somebody name me the 2 dopest rhymes by Wac…I mean Mac Miller.

  • water_ur_seeds

    The heads on here need to cop Finesse’s Funky Man – The Prequel on Slice of Spice records… Was dope shit

  • Pierre Elliott

    YEP. GET YOUR OWN BEATS. YOUR OWN STYLE. AND BUILD YOUR OWN LIFE.
    LIKE I SAID BEFORE AND IL SAY IT AGAIN…..

    1983—1998 THAT IS TRUE HIP-HOP NOT RAP……

    YEAH, INDUSTRY TRIED TO HATE ON OUR GEN BUT OUR GEN IS STILL YOUNG STILL KILLING IT, BUT I SEE WE ALL GONNA HAVE TO COME BACK…..
    CAUSE YOU NEW GEN DUDES ARE ASS, NO HEART. NO RESPECT. NO ORIGINALITY..

    YEAH WE STARTED SAMPLING BUT WE MADE ORIGINAL MUSIC OUTTA THOSE SAMPLES…CHOPPING CUTTING IT UP…WOW 

    NOW YOUR SO CALLED” RAP” IS CONTROLLED BY FAGS AND WHITE PEOPLE…..

    WAKE UP**************************************NEGROES!!!

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  • HOTMALTA39

    HAAELL YEEEE NIQQQQAS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~““
    I JUST GOT MYSELF SOME NEW WHEELS – A NEW CAMA RRO!! GOT APPROVED FOR 26K. IVE BEEN IN DA GUTTER FOR 5YRS – COUDN’T BUY NOTHIN’. ALL THAT ISH IS DONE WITH THOUGH.

    IF YOU STRUGGLING WITH THAT CRE DIT HISTORY ISSHHH, GET RID OF ALL DAT TODAY – CALL THESE PEEPS AT EIGHT77 864-1527 .   THEY DO INCREDIBLE WORK AND THEY ARE CHEAP AS FUQQ.  GOT RID OF ALL MY SHYYT IN NO TIME.
    __________________________________________________________________
    My homeboy was in terrible shape too, and he cleaner than me now!!!!!!! Gettin a condo.
    :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
    HIT EM UP – THEY WILL HELP U!!
    |||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||
    “””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””
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  • jsj23

    Finesse is a day late and a dollar short.  There is a sad side and a happy side to this story.   The sad side is that many of the old school cats never fully learned and understood the business, didn’t get it right then and are not going to get it right now.  The good side is that they are showing courage and standing up.  This will only teach the newer generation (if they are paying attention) not to make the same mistakes the older generation did – cover all your assets and do so lawfully.  Unfortunately this is the case for many old Black musicians. Not sure Finesse has a strong legal case here. Still worth the fight nonetheless!

    • YaheardSyndicate

      youre never a day late, when someone steals something you created. Thats how steely dan shut down, Peter Guns and Lord  Tariq. You just wait until everything bubbles undeniably and then sue.

  • NYReppin716to718

    I think some people need to actually LEARN about the business they want to be in. To all the people talking about, mac didn’t steal this and he didn’t do that & finesse didn’t clear it….Listen up…There’s a BIG difference between sample clearance & owning the rights to a composition. Lord Finesse owns the composition and miller has been performing that song steady on tours, and there’s youtube footage to prove it. He didn’t ‘sample Lord Finesse’s song, he just rapped over the instrumental and went out there performing. You just can’t do that. There’s ways around sample clearance for those talking about what Finesse did, it’s called interpolation, where they have studio musicians come in a replay the sample notes. Check dr. dre credits they say ” song contains an interpolation of ” (whatever song). Big difference between Finesse and mac. LF was already successful in suing AT&T for the same situation.

    • Pierre Elliott

      Talk it brother…You gotta know the biz

  • daze23

    close your quotes

  • I hope this leads to rappers not using beats that were already released anymore… That sh!t is whack already… All they doing is riding that artists coat tails… Get your own beat and write about your owen concept. Half these so called artists will disappear over night! 

  • WAVY BLASTOISE

    RETURN OF THE FUNKYMAN#WHEREWASYOUAT?

  • Dustin James

     It’s very likely Mac Miller is going down on this one. It’s going to change the mixtape game completely, if he in fact does. Since mixtapes are now being pushed as if they were albums, they say the mixtape is “NON-PROFIT” so they can use everyone else’s beats…. then in turn they actually DO PROFIT from playing the same songs at shows etc. etc. It’s a crazy situation, but it’s needed. Producers or people that spent so much time crafting those beats see NOTHING from the use of them. If they own the rights to the instrumental, they should see a profit. Mixtape promotion is a loop hole in copyright infringement. That’s why no one can make money anymore, musicians can’t profit off of album sales. The Producers get lost in the background, they for the most part will never see a pay out from beats on a mixtape. It’s a dick move by Finesse, but someone was eventually going to do it. 

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  • wayne bennett

    I think some of you need to check your facts…copyright infringement can happen whether or not the “new” composition is for sale. Mixtapes are illegal and have been from the outset. However before the internet most mixtapes went unnoticed. Even copying songs from a cd into serato is a copyright infringment. Read the small print found on every commercial cd, dvd, record etc…it says “any unauthorised copying, lending or public performance is prohibited”

    Also need to bear in mind that when sampling or in this case stealing there are 2 copyrights being breached…that of the intelectual property (the song) and the recording itself.

    The question is did Lord Finesse clear the original sample? Even If he didnt he’s well within his rights to sue as there is no disputing it was his recording that was used.

    funny thing is you can’t copyright an idea so if the new guy had remade the beat using the same sample there would be no case to answer from finesse, although maybe from the writer of the original sample and owner of the orginal recording it was sampled from.

    as for the “its a mixtape” defense…nonsense…shit aint even on a tape or mixed so wtf…nowadays “mixtape” is just another way of saying “half arsed album”

    And come on in 2012 how hard is it really to make a beat??????
    I remember when samplers cost same as brand new car but now you can get hold software for free….but then theres the next thing…will fruity loops or reason’s makers sue a rapper for making beats with a cracked version one day???

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