Who’s To Blame When Rappers Jack Beats?

Who’s To Blame When Rappers Jack Beats?

In case you didn’t hear about it last night or this morning, Azealia Banks once again found herself in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons. This time, she wasn’t beefing with, say, Nicki Minaj or Jim Jones—two of the Harlem native’s previous “enemies.” Nope, Banks done pissed off the wrong person in her latest feud, as she attempted to release a new single, Fantasea‘s “Esta Noche”, without the producer’s permission. The man behind the track is none other than the Netherlands’ Munchi, a stalwart in many producer/DJ circles.

When dude found out the track would be dropping without his blessing—meaning Banks likely just jacked the beat for her tape—he sounded off on his Twitter. Now, before I let y’all see just what he said, let me make one thing clear. I don’t think a social network is the best place to lash out about business. But in this case? Yeah, Banks deserved to get her just due here, even if I think it’s a two-wrongs-don’t-make-a-right situation given the fact she has repeatedly started “beefs” on Twitter.

But anyway, he’s a brief look at Munchi’s rant.

Munchi goes on to say he was offered $25,000 for the beat, which was met with a spirited tweet in “GTFO with this bitchshit.” Banks, of course, responded and said that “Esta Noche” would no longer be dropping as a single. But wait! She’s shooting a video for it, which means she can in fact still make money off it considering her latest video, “1991”, has more than 1 million views. That will make for a decent YouTube advertising check that, in all fairness, should lead to an equally decent check for Munchi. But will it? Probably not, unless he takes her to court like that whole Lord Finesse vs. Mac Miller mess.

But wait, is it really a mess? Yes and no, in my opinion. On one hand, jacking beats for mixtapes has long been the standard way for artists to build their free projects. Now, that’s not always the case, as more often than not these days rappers are basically putting out full-length albums on the house (no Slaughterhouse). But it does get really, really messy when these MCs are in turn shooting videos that in turn gets millions of views and some scrilla in advertising revenue. And never mind the fact that these tracks are often performed live, though figuring out how much a producer should receive per live performance seems, well, really fucking difficult.

Many times, issues like this, if nothing else, result in the producer getting their just due. And that often arrives by way of a nice lil’ settlement and plenty of publicity. Case in point: The Stuyvesants getting ripped the hell off by Will Smith’s son, Jaden Smith, which we wrote about here. Did you know of the Brooklyn team before this whole thing happened? I would hope so, but mostly likely you hadn’t. And that’s fine, of course, though I hope you’re checking for them now.

But I digress. Click page 2 below to keep reading.

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  1. Andrew Martin
    Sep 26, 2012 @ 14:21:00

    truth truth

  2. Andrew Martin
    Sep 26, 2012 @ 14:21:00

    damn, good points!

  3. ohyeahpaulchin
    Sep 26, 2012 @ 13:26:00

    To the best of my knowledge, and I am in no way a licensed practising lawyer (as much as I am a creative freelancer with a functional knowledge of intellectual property law and rights management), if Munchi got his samples from the Montell Jordan record, that’s the one he’s responsible for clearing.

    Because Montell’s camp would have likely sorted things with Barry (who would have, in turn, had an agreement with Evers and Korduletsch), any money Munchi would have shelled out, which would have ended up with Montell, that money would further trickle down the line to anyone who still retained any rights to any of the sample material (lyrics, music, recordings, performances, et al). Munchi wouldn’t personally have to get clearances from EVERYONE involved.

    This is how Lupe managed to make ‘Around My Way’; when he couldn’t clear the Tom Scott sample himself, he cleared a recording of the Pete Rock sample, which would have already secured rights to the Scott sample.

  4. Andrew Martin
    Sep 26, 2012 @ 13:05:00

    While that’s all true, like Quandary said below, it’s a slippery slope. Where does it end and even in some cases, where does it start?

  5. ohyeahpaulchin
    Sep 26, 2012 @ 13:02:00

    There ARE laws in place for this kind of thing. Certainly, registering with PROs alleviates the strain of having to deal with this kind of thing on this scale, but at the end of a day, any court of law would side with Munchi… before getting on his case about sample clearances, if he hasn’t taken the appropriate measures.

    Regarding performances, if Banks performs this, Munchi technically has the right to demand any royalties he wants, considering they didn’t have a contractual agreement stipulating any publishing or performance rights, and how they’re divvied up.

  6. Andrew Martin
    Sep 26, 2012 @ 12:19:00

    Totally agree!

  7. Dr. Quandary
    Sep 26, 2012 @ 11:01:00

    Still not sure exactly how I feel about this whole debacle. As a producer, I totally respect Munchi’s plight, but he acted pretty childish, and while Banks was definitely 100% in the wrong, at least she owned that and tried to make it right by offering dude compensation and a public apology. In all of the fallout that ensued, I think they both made themselves look pretty bad.

    You brought up one of the most important issues though: what about Montell Jordan? What about Claudja Barry, who did “Love For the Sake of Love,” the song Jordan sampled for “Get it On Tonite?” What about Jörg Evers and Jürgen Korduletsch, who actually wrote that song in the first place? Who really deserves the credit and compensation here? Slippery slopes abound yo.

  8. Michael Gibson
    Sep 26, 2012 @ 10:46:00

    (that’s referencing the live performance aspect of this piece)

  9. Michael Gibson
    Sep 26, 2012 @ 10:42:00

    If they registered their songs with PROs then this wouldn’t be near the problem it has been. You can’t stay underground and only give your stuff away online without expecting to be taken advantage of when your stuff actually starts getting passed around.

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