Lord Finesse – ‘Isn’t he somethin’…


What’s when you’re only into rap to get paid?
What’s when your career is numbered by days?

The word contradiction springs to mind Bobby.

He is undoubtedly one of the greatest lyricists to EVER bless a microphone, casual, funny, terrifying, he followed a beat perfectly with such a distinctive tone and tore opponents new buttholes with the battle rhymes, but…

As someone that grew up with the piano based tinklings of Oscar Peterson around the house, I for one cant help thinking that if he paid his per to the Peterson estate he’ll be fine, but if he didnt clear the rights, the bop of ‘Dream of You’ might just come and bite him on the arse, money.

For years now, it has been reasonably simple to circumnavigate creative licensing, publishing and sample clearance by using four of our favourite words ‘For Promotional use only’. Its that straight forward. If there is no profit of it, you can make what you want with whomevers music you want. If Hip-Hop is our language, jackin for beats is our dialect. Fundamentally, what Finesse has done is single-handedly highlight his personal dissatisfaction with one single artist boostin’ his material, and it may be a game-changer within the industry. Essentially it narrows down the possibilities for everyone, without question, regardless of whether Mac Miller is a pop artist or a Rapper [nb. Rap is pop in 2012 within the main-scream]. Regardless of what the outcome of this case is, a problem has been highlighted, and sadly the legislative vultures will jump on it, cos there’s a penny to me made.

Finesse is claiming the infringement is “part of a strategy to build a fan base.” These are the specific words that could change the way the music industry had up until now, turned a blind eye to the freedom of distributing mixtapes and free music.

If a new MC comes along now, because they make great music that utilises elements of older Rap, even though overall it has a new sound that features an exciting and progressive form of rhyming, even if it is free, the consumer wont be able to listen to it. Artists will not be able to promote their music gratis any longer, unfortunately, thats the nail that Finesse and his teams are hammering home whether anyone likes it not. The problem is that even though its free, according to his vultures, it allegedly “builds a fan base that paves the way for revenue streams: touring, merchandise, even record deals”, fair enough, I hear that. To me its less about the paradox, because there is a wider picture, it buoys and sustains and even reintroduces the careers of those either forgotten or unknown to millions of punters [like the P.U.T.S. situation]. I for one would NOT be happy if I was unaware of artists like Bob James/ Steely Dan and an indescribable plethora of musicians that have been sampled by Hip-Hop producers because artists from my era ‘utilised elements’ of someone elses music.

Contextualise that and youll realise that in, maybe a years time eg, that carefree attitude of buying/ downloading a free mixtape wont actually exist. To any one of us that makes music for more than just a passion or hobby, imagine you wanted to gain notoriety and market your brand by doin a free mixtape. You were doing great, thousands of hits, then even more, you found your name in places youd never expected; high-end media and every music mag and website youd heard of. Then the suits came in and said, hold up you used this, pay me, and you used this, pay me, ‘But sir, I didnt sell my music, I gave it out for free’… Say youd been touring off the back of the marketing, youd been on the road, dj’ing and performing worldwide, exhausted and detached from family for months at a time. Then after a year of endless headaches and poor health caused by fiscal freefall, you had to pay out thousands and THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS of dollars, even though you hadnt had any physical sales from that actual tape. Then EVERY SINGLE PENNY was retrieved from your tour-based coffers, and you were back to square one, po’ broke & lonely.

People like Finesse and dozens of other producers have jacked others music for years, its part of our musical landscape, its what Hip-hop is based around, and I for one am proud of our collective ingenuity, but all of a sudden its not okay to jack a beat cos the legal eagles and getting paid is more important than cultural nobility?

“I’m out to get bigger, lounge and make rich figures”, at least he sticks to his words…

Finesse just made a big mistake IMO. He jacked an Oscar Peterson riff, so he’s okay with taking Oscar, but not okay with Mac taking his interpretation of Oscar? Erm. I smell doody.

Its a sin that so so many Rap artists missed out on profiting off their talent from the days of way-back, way back in the days, but as it has been documented so many times in the past, they didnt have the business acumen, and they got jerked themselves. Perpetuating the problem will not offer a solution, it might get Lord Finesse a fat cheque but is it something positive for the listeners? Its frustrating that the Funkyman cant see how the inconsistency of his sampling ways make him look buckfoolish.

Paying dues is one thing, paying an artist for their talent is a completely different situation. Greed has never been an attractive trait and I will no longer pay for any material by Lord Finesse due to his myopic ways. Yes, im an ardent cunt like that, I have no time for petty-minds and I for one will continue to enjoy the back catalogue from Finesse, and vote with my pocket.

I now consider him a great DJ, a legendary producer and sadly, a disposable hero of hipocrisy.

The pair of them could come to an out of court agreement, a pay per view rhyme off, instead of hatin they could do it the old fashioned way and ‘battle for some loot’. I know who I’d put my money on…

‘Me take a loss, that shit dont even sound right’…

4 responses to “Lord Finesse – ‘Isn’t he somethin’…

  1. co-sign, it feels a bit ‘trouble funky’

  2. Laughin my toast out my nose, thanks for that.

  3. ‘Greed has never been an attractive trait and I will no longer pay for any material by Lord Finesse due to his myopic ways.’

    there is no greed here craig. ness is makin a stand – doesnt want or expect mad millions. nu-mixtape culture is one sided

    • The stand I stand for myself. What im tryin to outline is the “part of a strategy to build a fan base” infringement. If Finesse wins, that will be legislation that we will ALL have to follow, ergo, no one tryna make a mixtape will be able to do what they want any longer, cos Finesse has created a tipping point in the creative license landscape, like Biz. This is a moment in time, a moment in Hip-Hop that no one is recognising as a shitty point where its all gonna go downhill

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