50 Cent & Fat Joe — Producer Files Copyright Infringement Lawsuit Against Rappers Over Their Respective Hits ‘Candy Shop’ & ‘Lean Back’
Moments after a New York City jury found that Ed Sheeran didn’t rip off Marvin Gaye with his hit song “Thinking Out Loud,” David W. Smith, a Maryland-based independent hip-hop producer, accused the rappers of the same unlawful act.
Smith‘s copyright infringement lawsuit claims that 50 Cent‘s 2005 hit “Candy Shop” and Terror Squad‘s 2004 song “Lean Back” both lifted parts of his song “WHACHACOM4?,” which he published as a duet with rapper Moe Wet (real name Molik S. Hippolyte).
The two songs were among the biggest of the decade and both peaked on the Billboard Hot 100 charts. Since then, the Recording Industry Association of America has awarded “Candy Shop” a 5x platinum certification, and “Lean Back” went gold.
The complaint describes the purported similarities between Smith‘s “WHACHACOM4?” and the respective tracks, along with comparisons of musical notation and waveform graphics.
Rapper Remy Ma and Scott Storch, the producer of both “Candy Shop” and “Terror Squad,” are also named as defendants in the complaint. The collective, it claims, “made millions of dollars from their exploitation.”
Smith hypothesizes a relationship between the tracks via Storch, who he contends dealt with the same New York City record pool. He claims that he and Storch “received weekly communications as to the performance of releases on their respective labels.”
The lawsuit also claims that Smith registered a copyright for “WHACHACOM4?” on April 22, 2022, but it doesn’t explain why this was done nearly 20 years after the song’s release.
50 Cent and Fat Joe were actually not on good terms when their respective records were released. The animosity between the two stems from 50‘s beef with Ja Rule, who Fat Joe collaborated with on the albums “What’s Luv?” from 2002 and “New York” in 2004.
They subsequently put the beef behind them at the 2012 BET Hip Hop Awards following the death of their mutual friend and business colleague Chris Lighty.
50 recently reflected on their differences, admitting in an interview earlier this year that he regrets dragging Joe into the beef. He said,
“There’s an element, a part of our culture that I’m aware of it because I am it. Your Lil Durks, your NBA YoungBoys, the whole surrounding cast of that … it almost splits our culture in half because when you cool with one, you can’t work with the other.”
“I was using the same thinking in the very beginning of my career because it’s just the thinking you would use in the environment. If anybody went next to Ja Rule, I’d jump on the person who featured with them, anybody who was faintly near them, ’cause I put him on life support and you wanna go resuscitate him.”
As far as the copyright infringement allegations, Smith wants damages, legal fees, and a portion of the money gained from “Candy Shop” and “Lean Back” as payment for his services.
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