(AllHipHop Features) In June news broke that Chicago rapper MarVo was suing Disturbing Tha Peace co-founder Ludacris over the song "Sex Room" claiming he is one of the original writers of the tune. The track featured Trey Songz and appeared on Luda’s 2010 album Battle of the Sexes. MarVo had remained silent on the lawsuit publicly, but he spoke exclusively with AllHipHop to give his version of events and to reinforce his claim that he deserves credit and compensation for “Sex Room.”
“I want my side of the story to be shared. I never wanted any bad blood,” says MarVo. “I am not looking to prove to you what I did. I’m telling you what I did, and somebody’s being dishonest. Not me per se. Not Luda per se, but somebody is being dishonest.”
According to MarVo, he worked with a DTP producer on the track back in 2009, and he wrote the hook that was eventually used for “Sex Room” for a song he was working on. He contends the producer, who according to reports is named Kajun, then gave the track with MarVo's hook to Ludacris without his permission or knowledge. MarVo says the song was then re-worked with Luda writing his own verses and Songz added to sing his chorus.
MarVo also contends that him seeking compensation for his contribution has been ongoing for years. Apparently, conversations about receiving a financial percentage for his part in the creation of “Sex Room” took place before the song was released, but the issue was never resolved. That same year MarVo says his mother passed away, and as a result his attention turned away from the dispute over "Sex Room." Supposedly, MarVo was not fully aware a lawsuit was ultimately filed in his name.
"It hit the surface back in 2009 before the record even came out. Things were silent, because I’m a dope emcee, and I don’t want people to feel like I trying to use Ludacris’ name to gain me some fame," says MarVo. "Getting information [about the lawsuit] was almost like a shocker to me. I knew what was going on, but it wasn’t even something that I had actually initiated. It was a call made to me like, 'we did this and this is going into motion'."
MarVo made it a point to clarify that he has no ill feelings towards Ludacris or associates at Disturbing Tha Peace. For him, it is about business and fairness.
"I don’t have no beef with anybody, but Ludacris even said, 'sometimes people write hooks.' He’s in the industry. Everybody who’s in this industry really understands how it goes. Sometimes a person will write a song. He’ll say, 'Hey I love that song. Let me buy this song,' and what’s suppose to happen is everyone who is involved in the process of making that song is supposed to get compensated," says MarVo.
"I don’t condone anyone to get out here and say Luda is a snake, because I don’t personally know Ludacris. I have never met Ludacris in my life. It just happens that I was in communication with people around Luda, so it’s not impossible for him to hear a record composed by myself. However, the person letting him hear that record might not be telling him there’s a kid in Chicago who actually wrote the hook to this record and we gotta take care of him."
There has been backlash in the press against MarVo. Some media outlets have suggested he is just an unproven local rapper looking for a come-up off the success of an established artist. MarVo insists that is not the case and maintains that he has proof in the form of video footage from 2009 of his participation in the making of "Sex Room." The video is currently being held as evidence in the case.
"I do have proof. There’s a video where you can see that MarVo did write the record. We were in the studio filming while we were recording this record, me and the producer," says MarVo. "This video is going to be the crippling blow. The video puts the situation in my favor, because you have on the video me singing the lyrics to another person."
Marvo claims that being left out of gaining publishing rights to a top five R&B/Hip Hop song like "Sex Room" could have cost him anywhere between $500,000 to $1 million in potential revenue. MarVo has been working in the entertainment business for years making a majority of his money from corporations who license his music for television shows and commercials. His track "Attitude" was recently featured on the “I’m Not Kelly Pitts” episode of BET’s The Game.
MarVo also works as a "professional ghostwriter" helping other emcees craft their songs, and he releases his own music like the DJ Head Debiase & Don Cannon hosted Change mixtape, 2011's "Derrick Rose" with Yung Berg, and the single “This Ain't New To Me” featuring Future.
After making important connections in the industry that last few years, MarVo feels at this point getting what he calls his proper credit for "Sex Room" is mainly about being properly recognized for his work.
"I saw his interview on The Breakfast Club where Luda was like, 'I’m straight. I'm good.' Even knowing that this man is good, and he makes all these millions of dollars, from the jump I would have been willingly to sell for a very small amount," admits MarVo. "At the end of the day this is Ludacris, DTP. They are successful, so Luda having this record and being successful with it would not be detrimental to my career."
No matter how the situation turns out, in MarVo's eyes he played an important role in a single that was performed by a platinum selling rapper and one of the leading voices in R&B music today.
"If I wasn’t born that song may never have been in existence, so if you can make a statement like that it’s like me being able to really look in the mirror and be comfortable looking at myself and say, 'Yeah, I’m the cause of this hit record'."