French Montana is arguably one of the hottest New York rapper on the scenes today, especially with the momentum his latest single “Shot Caller” has garnered.
However, if you were a hip-hop head in the 1990’s, the horns on track’s instrumental should sound familiar …because they’re from the Lords of the Underground’s classic 1993 single, “Funky Child.”
As explained by HipHopDX.com, in the introduction of its recent interview with Lords member Doitall, sample clearance battles first arose in the late 1980s and early 1990s, when some newcomers were hit with legal action over the sampling of past works from rock, jazz and soul artists.
Due to the outcry from their predecessor, artists like Biz Markie was forced, by a federal judge, to pull albums from store shelves. In Biz’s case, his 1991 release I Need A Haircut, was pulled for failing to clear the well-known piano sample used in his remake of Gilbert O’Sullivan’s “Alone Again (Naturally).”
Ironically, the Lords are seeking royalties over French Montana’s usage of the horns from their classic nearly 20 years later.
While Doitall admits the group appreciates the Bad Boy signee’s help in introducing them to new artists, it’s the fact that the hit single is now for sale and he’s now profiting off the sample, and they want their publishing rights.
“French Montana and them, they used the record without our permission, but it was a mixtape record. When it’s a mixtape record, you really can’t do anything about it, unless you go to the artist,” Doitall explained to HipHopDX. “It wasn’t that deep, ’cause Harry Fraud, who produced the record, called me and was telling me how he’s a big fan and how he sampled the record. But now that they selling the record and he generating all of this airtime and — it’s generating money. It’s not like it’s not generating money, so now we about to go in and take a little piece of that.”
Doitall continues, saying that he doesn’t have any ill will toward French Montana or Diddy. In fact, he likes them both, and believes things will be resolved.
“He’s signed to Bad Boy [Records], it’s a [new push for] ‘Shot Caller.’ They got the remix and all of that. But they gotta come talk to us. Honestly, I like French. They camp cool. I ain’t never had a problem with Diddy. I think Diddy will do the right thing.”
The New Jersey rap veteran also says that French’s camp reached out to the Lords for the remix of “Shot Caller” … but says it was after the fact.
“Harry Fraud and them actually reached out to us for a remix, but I think it was done out of respect after the fact,” Doitall explained. “It shoulda been done beforehand, and not like an afterthought. And I think that they knew that they was gonna get the deal and they knew all of these things was gonna come and they knew it was gonna go public, and then now once that happens [they’re like], ‘We got the right to whatever you made, and now we can make up our own price.’ And I think that’s when they tried to reach out like, ‘Oh, we tried to reach out.’ It’s like, c’mon man. But, I don’t have no love loss for them, as long as they do the right thing.”
At press time, it’s unclear if the Lords of the Underground are planning legal action, or have reached out to Bad Boy directly to settle the issue.