Did Macklemore And Ryan Lewis Really Steal ‘Thrift Shop’ From A New Orleans Jazz Musician?

Stacey Cole - Author

Feb. 6 2018, Updated 2:01 p.m. ET

It looks like Macklemore and Ryan Lewis are not only getting someone else’s clothes at a thrift shop, but also going to other artists to steal their beat and horn melodies.

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This is exactly what jazz musician Paul Batiste is accusing Macklemore and Ryan Lewis of. The New Orleans-based jazz artist filed a lawsuit accusing the hip hop duo of “borrowing” his original beat and horn melodies for their 2012 hit track “Thrift Shop,” according to TMZ.

“Thrift Shop” is reportedly not the only song by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis that has come under the legal attack of Batiste. In the lawsuit, the jazz musician accuses Macklemore and Ryan Lewis of stealing his beat and horn melodies from his two songs – “Hip Jazz” and “World of Blues” – and using them in their hit song “Thrift Shop,” which in 2014 won two Grammy Awards for Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song.

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Batiste is also reportedly suing over Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ “Neon Cathedral,” which, like “Thrift Shop,” also appears on the duo’s 2012’s album The Heist, accusing the hip hop duo of borrowing heavily from his other three songs, according to Entertainment Tonight Canada.

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While it’s up for the court to rule whether or not Macklemore and Ryan Lewis really stole the beat and horn melodies from Batiste’s two songs, the jazz musician says he wants to get his cut from sales of “Thrift Shop,” which has sold more than 7 million copies in the U.S. alone.

Take a listen and judge for yourself whether or not Macklemore and Ryan Lewis stole the beat and horn melodies from Batiste’s “Hip Jazz” and “World of Blues,” which were released in 1997 and 2000 respectively.

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Winning numerous music awards and selling millions of copies around the world are not the only successes Macklemore and Ryan Lewis have achieved with “Thrift Shop,” as the music video for the hit song boasts a whopping more than 1 billion views on YouTube.

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Interestingly, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis are not the only victims of Batiste’s lawsuits, as the jazz musician has previously filed similar suits against T-Pain, Rick Ross, DJ Khaled, and even several record labels.

Even if the jazz musician won the lawsuit against Macklemore and Ryan Lewis – and the hip hop duo had to share the profits from both “Thrift Shop” and “Neon Cathedral” with him – it wouldn’t be much of a financial catastrophe for the collaborators.

While Macklemore’s net worth alone is estimated at about $18 million, the sales from the October 2012 release of The Heist, the album by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis that features the two songs that the jazz musician is suing over, have brought the hip hop duo a whopping $1.5 million in profits, according to the Gazette Review.

Even if the two split the profits, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis would have easily earned $750,000 each – the amount that normally takes long decades for U.S. individuals to earn.

But sales of album copies are not the only sources of earnings for Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, who in February 2016 released their second album This Unruly Mess I’ve Made that has sold nearly 700,000 copies worldwide, as the duo have also signed numerous endorsement deals in recent years.

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Macklemore alone has signed major endorsement deals with such big brands as Dr. Pepper, Miller Brewing Company, Cracker Jack Bose, and IF & Co. But the list of their earning sources is far from over.

Macklemore and Ryan Lewis also have their official store where they sell a variety of merchandise, many of which is inspired by “Thrift Shop” lyrics and the theme of the hit 2012 song.

[Featured Image by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images]


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