Industry News

AML Industry News: Ray J’s Tribute to Kim K “I Hit it First,” Kanye West SUED for Being a “Gold Digger,” Eko Music Festival, LL & Paisley’s “Accidental Racist” Song and More!


I Hit it first by Ray J Kim Kardashian Tribute Ray- J Proclaims, “I Hit It First”!
William Ray Norwood Jr. (yes, I’m using his full government name), is this what it has come to? You have to resort to high school tactics in order to “advance” your career and proclaim that you supposedly hit it first? Ha. It’s no secret that Kim Kardashian’s successful career began with the infamous sex tape that she filmed with Ray J years ago. And when I say years, I don’t just mean a couple. This tape was filmed 10 years ago in 2003 and it was released in February 2007. In those 10 years, a lot has happened career wise for Kim and her Kardashian clan. They pretty much took over the E! Network and they’re one of the biggest celebrity brands on the market with their multiple ventures. And as for Ray J? Not so much. Ray J decided to remind the world about Kim’s claim to fame last weekend when he released the track, “I Hit It First.” Although Ray J has been back-peddling in the media saying that the song isn’t about Kim (“It’s a song, it’s not about that.”), the lyrics clearly say it all:

“She might move on to rappers and ballplayers/But we all know I hit it first” and “If you were to come back to me, girl/We’ll make another movie” and ”I had her head going north and her a– goin’ south/But now baby chose to go west.”

You’re not fooling anyone. Not to mention, the pixelated cover art of KIM on the single. Bottom-line, no one cares anymore. And even when the world did care, you didn’t capitalize on it. Further, is this even something to be happy and proud to boast about? Honestly, I was hesitant to write about this partly because I didn’t want to give the song an outlet and because I’m over the Kardashian overload, but I think this could serve as a lesson for artists. Sure, Ray J has over a million views on the video and he’s making his rounds on the media circuit because of it, but will airing out his dirty laundry again really do anything significant for him? No. The song may be catchy but it’s not even at the sub-par level. Wouldn’t it be better to be known for producing great music instead of just riding the waves of publicity stunts? Do better; and Brandy, get your brother please!

EKO music festivalSave the Date: EKO Music Festival in Lagos!
It’s official! The 1st Annual Eko Music Festival, which will take place in Lagos, was green lighted this past week. It has been scheduled to run from April 26-April 28. The Lagos State Ministry of Tourism and Inter-Governmental Relations released the approval letter signed by Senior Special Assistant to the Governor, Morounranti Aleniosu, which stated it part: “In line with the ministry’s set vision of making Lagos State the preferred tourist destination in Nigeria, and indeed Africa, we are pleased to be associated with your vision and drive in showcasing the musical excellence and peculiarity of the Nigerian people. Kindly accept our congratulations on behalf of Lagos State Government.” This letter came after several YEARS of planning and a series of meetings with event stakeholders. This is sure to be a great event. Only live performances will be featured in the musical and cultural celebration as the festival’s purpose is to uplift the Nigerian music industry. The festival will be streamed live on the internet and also syndicated to media agencies abroad.
(Source: The Daily Post)

Loose Lips: Keyshia Cole Gets Blackballed
In case you missed Ms. Ollachi Holman’s articles describing Keyshia Cole’s penchant for taking The Dream Will No Longer Work with Keyshiashots at fellow celebrities, including “King Bey” aka Beyoncé, you can refresh your memories here and here. Ms. Cole is clearly not known for being tight-lipped, even though it would behoove her to be just that. Welp, you mess with bees and you will get stung. A certified member of the “Beyhive”, mega producer The-Dream, stung Cole last week by saying he would avoid working with her in the future due to the remarks she made about Beyoncé.

“Right now because of what happened I can’t and I think she would respect why I can’t. That’s [Beyonce] my family. You’re talking about my family and you can’t do that.”

In response, Cole tweeted: “Dream not writing any songs for me is fine . . . Im on my 6th album. .  .He’s only wrote 1song for me on one 1 of my albums, which I did love, God bless. ”

Cole doesn’t seem too fazed by the remarks, but maybe she should be. The-Dream was vocal about his alliance to Beyoncé, but who knows, there may be other producers out there harboring the same feelings. He’s just one producer, but no one can deny that The-Dream has a great track record when it comes to producing hits. She may have lost out on a hot track or two. Sometimes, it is just best to remember the old adage, “Loose lips sink ships.”

“Accidental Racist”: Yay or Nay?
Typically, country music artists and hip-hop artists get attention simply for the fact that they are collaborating together. These two genres can lead to some interesting hybrids, but you must proceed with caution. Tim McGraw and Nelly made it work and so did Ludacris and Jason Aldean. As for Brad Paisely and LL Cool J, the verdict is still out and most signs are pointing toward –ehh, you shouldn’t have done this collabo. Here, it isn’t the mixing of the genres that is generating the buzz, but the controversial lyrics to Paisley’s single, Accidental Racist ,off of his new album titled “Wheelhouse”. In it, Paisley expresses that he’s “just a white man” who’s trying to understand what it’s like not to be. He also goes on to say that our generation didn’t start this nation, and LL Cool J chimes in saying that they can be pardoned if ‘they’ won’t judge him for his durag. *Sigh*. You can read the lyrics in full here.

I’m not offended by this song because I truly believe that it came from a good place and that it was just a good concept gone bad; the execution was just not there. I was more annoyed, particularly by the fact that the “Black Man” in the song had to be the stereotypical durag, gold chain, saggy pants wearing brotha. Come on. I know plenty of Black men that don’t fit that description and still face racism every day. But, I digress. There is much that can be said about this song, and it all can’t be said here. These two definitely started a dialogue though, I must say.

Watch Paisley and LL Defend Their Song:

Food For Thought: Are We Neglecting Our Artists?
After reading a recent opinion article by Olatoye Idowu, describing how Nigeria panders to American artists, I started to think about the truth toquestion mark the remarks. Idowu expressed that over the last five years, American celebrities have been able to go to Nigeria and make a year’s worth of income in just one weekend, or 45 minutes, for that matter (i.e. Kim Kardashian ). See Ms. Uduak’s articles on this matter here and here which truly hit the nail on the head, especially the latter. Also, let us not forget that last August, Rick Ross was paid $250,000 to perform at a music festival at the Eko Hotel. Really think about this. Why pay millions upon millions to these American celebrities when you have those same types of talents locally? Why not promote your own people first so that you put your country in a better position?
“In other words, it is not these American celebrities milking us. We are milking ourselves all in the name of bringing in anything foreign. We have to realize that just because it was made in America doesn’t make it better; it just means it was made in America. None of these foreign entertainers will turn down the money we offer and they sure won’t invest in our country by building homes or businesses here.”- Olatoye Idowu

I couldn’t have said it better myself. Charity begins at home and it’s about time that we started investing in ourselves. And not only in the music scene but on a much larger scale. As an example, you can check out this Forbes article on the topic of investing in Africa. Nothing good can come from neglect! Let’s start valuing ourselves; just imagine how far we could go.
(Source: All Africa, Forbes)

Kanye West Sued for Gold Digger MusicDeja vu: Kanye West Sued for Copyright Infringement
Kanye West is being sued AGAIN for copyright infringement. Remember this other suit against West with similar legal issues we shared with you all on AML? Recall that copyright infringement occurs when someone uses your song without your permission. In this new case, the children of David Pryor, who wrote and sang the song “Bumpin’ Bus Stop,” are claiming that 13 seconds into Kanye’s “Gold Digger” (his massive 2005 No. 1 hit) comes a sample of their father’s track. If you listen very carefully, you can hear what’s allegedly Pryor’s voice say “Get down” three times, echoing Kanye’s line, “Get down girl, get down, get down.” Mr. West is now being sued by the Pryor family for royalties from the song and they are requesting that the judge to stop the sale of “Gold Digger,” even though it’s been out for 8 years.

The lawsuit filed by Ms. Uduak’s law school (U.C. Hastings) mentor Attorney Courtney M. Coates also names Roc-a-Fella Records, Bad Boy Records, Stones Throw Records, Bomb Hip-Hop Records, Autumn Games, Activision, Caroline Distribution and The Island Def Jam Music Group. While West may defend himself under the “Fair Use” doctrine which you can read about in the previous hyperlink or the ‘De minimis” use i.e. the use is not that substantial to warrant a lawsuit much less collection on any damages, he along with all the other defendants sued may be able to get the case tossed out by bringing up the issue of statute of limitations. Eight (8) years later the Plaintiffs bring a lawsuit? The statute of limitations i.e. the absolute maximum time when you must bring a lawsuit for a copyright infringement claim is three years; three years from when the infringement is discovered. The question now becomes, when did the Plaintiffs discover the infringement; and does continuous playing of the song eight years later constitute a new claim of infringement?

The suit is also particularly interesting because of the RICO claim attached to it. RICO stands for Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. How do the Plaintiffs intend to show this?

“The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, commonly referred to as the RICO Act or simply RICO, is a United States federal law that provides for extended criminal penalties and a civil cause of action for acts performed as part of an ongoing criminal organization. The RICO Act focuses specifically on racketeering, and it allows the leaders of a syndicate to be tried for the crimes which they ordered others to do or assisted them, closing a perceived loophole that allowed someone who told a man to, for example, murder, to be exempt from the trial because he did not actually do it.

RICO was enacted by section 901(a) of the Organized Crime Control Act of 1970 (Pub.L. 91–452, 84 Stat. 922, enacted October 15, 1970). RICO is codified as Chapter 96 of Title 18 of the United States Code, 18 U.S.C. § 1961–1968. While its original use in the 1970s was to prosecute the Mafia as well as others who were actively engaged in organized crime, its later application has been more widespread.” -Wikipedia

We will see how this suit plays out in court. In the meantime, you can compare both tracks and see if you hear the alleged sampling:

Twitter: @UBUwan

Edited by Uduak Oduuok, Esq.
Twitter: @uduaklaw

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Udeme Uwan

Ms. Udeme Uwan is a licensed attorney in the State of California. A graduate of Howard Law School in Washington D.C., Ms. Uwan is an Africa Music Law intern whose editorial intern contributions are in the AML categories of "INDUSTRY NEWS" and "MUSIC". Look for her posts on AML on Tuesdays and Thursdays now until May 2013. Please give her your feedback and let her know how she is doing, what you like and don't like. Thanks!

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