Funny little story for you. First time I visited the Rotten Apple last year, I was invited by my boy Chaze from GRIM Team to go and pay rap legend Lord Finesse a visit at his crib in the Bronx. Chaze had just done a record for Will Vill that the Funkyman had also contributed a beat for, and was going to drop him off a copy of the 12”. At some point in the afternoon, Finesse mentions that some white kid from outta state had made a name for himself using by using his ‘Hip 2 Da Game’ beat in a video that blew the fuck up on YouTube. So he throws the ‘Kool Aid and Frozen Pizza’ (scroll through the gallery to watch) clip on, and I proceed to clown this Teen Wolf lookin’ chump’s rudimentary rapping abilities and his shirtless buddy. Turns out that no one asked permission to use the beat, but now that it had gotten so big, Miller’s people had apparently promised to buy some production from Finesse for Mac’s forthcoming album as a gesture of ‘good will’.
Based on the fact that Lord Finesse just sued them for 10 (Extra) Large, that clearly never happened. Turns out that these crabs actually thought he should be grateful for having his shit stolen: “When I reached out to these people, their attitude was I should be grateful Mac was using my music to sell out concerts because it keeps me relevant”. Fuckouttahere. You really think the Finesse is gonna stand for this nonsense after that whole Fatboy Slim fuckery?
Some might say that asking for $10 Million is a cash grab from a washed-up rapper who has nothing better to do with time than sue white kids. Others could argue that rappers use popular beats on mixtapes all the time and no one complains. But this isn’t yet another freestyle over the ‘A Millie’ beat – this Miller character made a proper video for the song, which in the internets era is basically the same as releasing it a commercial single, especially when said video gets over 23 million views. This shit was nothing short of Hip-Hop Karaoke, which is all fine and dandy if you’re at a BBQ with your pals but when it’s part of providing that buzz to get to that next level? You’ve got to compensate the producer, like it or not.
There’s no way in hell Miller’s team could lace up a track with that mid-90’s feel as effectively, so they went straight to the source for that Summertime flow. When the song blew-up, they should have broken Finesse off some stacks or just stuck to their word and bought some new beats from him and this would have all been resolved. Instead, they acted like spoilt, entitled brats who were doing some old dude a favour by using his beat, and in turn Finesse responded the only way that was appropriate: Fuck you, pay me!
No Country For Old (Rap) Men is a new weekly column from Robbie Ettelson. Check back here for updates.