Minnesota hip-hop artist, Lizzo has officially reached the tipping point in her career. After years of releasing original music and performing her songs across the US, her hard work is finally paying off.
Her song, “Truth Hurts” from her 2019 album, Cuz I Love You has recently made its way to regular radio rotation. In the month of May 2019, “Truth Hurts” peaked at number four on Spotify and has also landed on the European and Canadian charts.
On September 3, 2019, just days after her live performance at the VMA’s, “Truth Hurts” claimed the number one spot on the Billboard Hot 100, surpassing Taylor Swift’s, “Lover”.
The first time I heard this tune, the chorus sounded oddly familiar. Play the video below and listen for yourself.
It makes sense why this song is so catchy and easy to listen to. Lizzo’s vocal melody is nearly identical to Rae Sremmurd’s 2016 hit, “Black Beatles” featuring Gucci Mane.
It’s no coincidence that thousands of listeners have revisited the “Black Beatles” video on Youtube around the same time people began hearing “Truth Hurts” on the radio.
“Truth Hurts” was released on September 19, 2017, almost exactly a year after “Black Beatles” was released. The song was produced by the owner of Nice Life Recording Company, Ricky Reed and written by Melissa Viviane Jefferson, Jesse Saint John (Brittney Spears, Charli XCX, The Neighbourhood), and Steven Cheung.
Ricky Reed also borrowed a melody from himself, oddly. Lizzo sings, “I put the sing in single. Ain’t worried ’bout a ring on my finger,” a tune heard in the pre-chorus of his previous band’s 2013 song, “Hesher.”
Below, Ricky Reed takes you through the making of “Truth Hurts”, but unfortunately he doesn’t touch on melody or lyrics.
Copyright In The Music Industry
Copyright infringement is actually pretty common in the music industry. When done correctly, artists will borrow ideas or samples from other songs with approval from the original artist.
Here are some examples of songwriters who dealt with legal backlash due to cutting from the same cloth without permission.
Ed Sheeran vs. Marvin Gaye
Most recently, Ed Sheeran is facing court appearances over potentially plagiarizing Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On” in his song “Thinking Out Loud”.
Sheeran has also been accused of copyright issues in his songs “Photograph” and “Shape of You.”
Pharrell Williams vs. Marvin Gaye
Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke were court-ordered to pay Marvin Gaye’s Family $5 Million dollars over similarities between their song “Blurred Lines” and Gaye’s “Got to Give It Up”.
Justin Beiber vs. Casey Dienel
Justin Beiber and Skrillex’s “Sorry” was also targeted and accused of stealing a vocal riff from indie-pop star Casey Dienel’s song “Ring The Bell.”
Lana Del Rey vs Radiohead
Even Lana Del Rey’s “Get Free” was said to be too closely inspired by Radiohead’s “Creep,” from which Radiohead’s team demanded 100% of the publishing earnings.
The Verve vs. The Rolling Stones
Going back to the 90s, The Verve’s 1997 song “Bittersweet Symphony” was considered a rip off of The Rolling Stones’ “The Last Time”.
In the end, The Verve lost all control of their biggest selling song. “Bittersweet Symphony” was even nominated for the ‘Best Song’ Grammy award with Keith Richards’ and Mick Jagger’s names listed rather than the members of The Verve.
Being inspired by other artists and musicians is impossible to avoid, and is encouraged, but get too close to the original piece of art and you may find yourself in trouble.
What do you think? Did Lizzo match Rae Sremmurd’s melody too closely? Let us know in the comments!