The song ‘Thrift Shop’ was released in the year 2012 as the fifth single from the album The Heist. Backed up by the beats of Ryan Lewis, artist and performer Macklemore poked fun at the money-oriented content of today’s rap music. The duo’s ode to thrifty shopping, looking for “your Grandpa’s style” quickly gained popularity and was the first top 100 hit for Macklemore and Ryan Lewis.
According to Paul Batiste, a jazz musician from New Orleans, ‘Thrift Shop’ wasn’t an original composition. TMZ reported Batiste has recently filed a lawsuit against Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, looking to get his cut of the profits. Batiste claims the song’s composition “borrows heavily from 2 of his songs.”
Paul Batiste claims to be the founder of The Batiste Brothers Band and describes himself as a “major influence” in the world of jazz music, as well as a consistent player in the jazz scene. The lawsuit claims that Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ horn melodies and track beats were taken from songs previously recorded by Paul Batiste in 1997 and 2000, “Hip Jazz” and “World of Blues.”
In addition to “Thrift Shop,” Batiste added the song “Neon Cathedral” to his complaint. In an interview with XXL, Macklemore described the song “Neon Cathedral,” designating the melody as a bluesy, but southern, church feeling.
During the same interview, Macklemore decoded “Neon Cathedral,” and explained that everything about the track, including the music, conveys a deeper meaning. He implied that the music was specifically written for his own, original, intended message.
“I kind of played on religion and alcohol and how we use alcohol in our society. We have this fate, this trust, and this commitment to drinking. And that’s something that I struggled with. A lot in the past. I haven’t drank alcohol in almost five years but it’s fascinating to me to go back and look at the hold it had on me.”
The court case filed against Macklemore and Ryan Lewis claims that the duo lifted the music composition from 3 other songs composed by Paul Batiste. Batiste is looking for his “share of the profits” from both tunes.
You can compare The Batiste Brother’s song in question, “World of Blues” to Macklemore’s “Thrift Shop” below. Please be advised that the lyrics for “Thrift Shop” may not be suitable for all ages.
Macklemore and Ryan Lewis are not the first to be prosecuted by Paul Batiste. In fact, he has filed several other similar lawsuits against musicians in the past. In one such case, filed in August of 2013, The Batiste Brothers sued T-Pain, Rick Ross, Pitbull and Cash Money Records, as a collective group, with an accusation of copyright infringement. The lawsuit claimed damages totaling $100 million.
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According to All Hip Hop, the 118-page lawsuit filed by Paul Batiste accused producers, rappers, and record labels of incorporating the Batiste family’s music into their own “without permission or compensation.”
“Rick Ross and others have blatantly poached beats, lyrics, melodies and chords from The Batiste Brothers back catalog. Many of the songs which have the stolen elements in them have been released many times as different versions and each release constitutes an independent act of copyright infringement.”
In both court cases, Paul Batiste claimed the artist, or artists, accused had “uncleared sampling” and the “lifting of elements” from songs that were previously recorded by The Batiste Brothers Band. The question isn’t whether or not you have heard of The Batiste Brothers Band; it’s whether or not Macklemore and Ryan Lewis “borrowed” musical elements for their own tracks.
What do you think about Macklemore and Ryan Lewis being sued over “Thrift Shop” and “Neon Cathedral” beats? Let us know in the comment section below.
[Featured Image By John Salangsang/AP Images]