Madonna famously sang “music brings the people together.” However, if you’re the one making the music, that is not always true. Us mortals aren’t aware of the amount of cooks who work on just one track. Producers! Sound engineers! Songwriters! If they’re all not happy, bad things can happen. Really bad things.
These seven examples are proof of that. (Well, five of them are. A random producer decided to shade Kanye West, and the messed-up issue between Kesha and Dr. Luke has nothing to do with music.) Artists and producers must trust each other implicitly to make beautiful work, and it is catastrophic when that bond breaks. And expensive. Put on your boxing gloves.
Lil Wayne and DeezleGetty Images
In 2011, “Lollipop” producer Deezle sued Wayne for $20 million, asserting he did not get proper compensation for helping craft the hit song in addition to other tracks on 2008’s Tha Carter III (which grossed $70 million). Wayne originally scoffed at the suit, but the two eventually settled the issue outside of court–which in my mind means Deezle got paiiiid. And rightfully so! “Lollipop” is Wayne’s only Billboard Hot 100 No.1 single. Deezle deserved his coins.
Lady Gaga and Rob FusariGetty Images
The music producer, who goes by the stage name 8bit, sued Gaga for $30.5 million in March 2010, claiming he was responsible for cultivating Gaga’s image and co-wrote several songs from her debut album The Fame (2008). However, when Gaga hit the big time, she allegedly cut him out of getting his piece of the cake. By September 2010, they resolved the issue. However, these two dueled again years later when Fusari exposed confidential details about Gaga’s private life to a jury during his trial with fellow Gaga producer Wendy Starland. Put your
Azealia Banks and MunchiGetty Images
Banks was all set to release her single “Esta Noche” in 2012, until its producer Munchi called foul play. According to him, Banks teased the song’s covert art, release date and other details before even asking him permission to drop it. Banks’ team reportedly offered him $25,000 for rights to release the song. Then $50,000. He refused each and then took his anger to Twitter. “B–ch trying to buy me off after trying to blame me on this sh-t, f–k outta here. ’25.000 and a public apology’ GTFO with this bi-chsh-t,” he wrote. “@azealiabanks good luck being a d–kriding, trackstealing, sorry excuse for a artist. Have fun with the fame – it’ll get back at ya.” Banks is no Twitter war rookie, and she quickly hit Munchi back with, “@originalmunchi I suggest you shut the f–k up… Seriously.” Munchi later released a statement about the situation, but it looks like the two never reached a resolution. “Everything was done backwards, instead of having the decency to contact me about it first, they did everything they had to do and contacted me last,” he wrote. “It is common in this music business to get f–ked over and a lot of people are afraid to talk out. It is uncommon to speak out and say the reality of situation.” Yikes.
The Weeknd and Jeremy RoseGetty Images/Soundcloud
In 2012, Rose (who goes by Zodiac now) publicly accused The Weeknd of ripping him off. Rose allegedly helped The Weeknd craft his aesthetic and was even originally credited on three of his tracks: “What You Need”, “Loft Music” and “The Morning.” But soon Rose’s name was erased completely. “I’ve never heard from him since I told him I didn’t want to work with him anymore,” he told Vice. The Weeknd’s camp contacted Pitchfork after the outlet credited Rose in its review of 2011’s House of Balloons. They claimed Rose was never a producer on the EP. Who is lying?!
Zayn Malik and Naughty BoyGetty Images
Malik and Naughty Boy’s friendship was white-hot in 2015, but things fizzled that July when the former One Direction member accused the producer of leaking his first solo project: a remix version of “No Type” by Rae Sremmurd. “Someone learned how to upload a video… maybe now he should learn how to use logic ha you ain’t sh-t but a faker,” Malik tweeted. But it got worse. “@NaughtyBoyMusic you fat joke stop pretending we’re friends no one knows you,” Sir Z tweeted shortly after. Petty Wap.
Kesha and Dr. LukeGetty Images
Perhaps the most publicized artist-producer feud on our list, Kesha filed suit against Dr. Luke (Lukasz Gottwald), in October 2014, claiming he “sexually, physically, verbally … abused” her over the course of 10 years and even detailed a specific 2005 rape. (Ten months prior, Kesha entered rehab for an eating disorder because Dr. Luke excessively fat-shamed her–allegedly.) In February 2016, a Manhattan judged denied a preliminary injunction that would allow Kesha to make music outside her contract with Dr. Luke. Gottwald, for his part, denies raping Kesha. The singer recently posted a picture on Instagram and claimed Sony offered to release her from the contract if she retracted her accusations against Dr. Luke. “I would rather let the truth ruin my career than lie for a monster ever again,” she wrote. Preach.
Kanye West and Bob EzrinGetty Images
Famed producer Ezrin–responsible for albums like Pink Floyd’s The Wall and KISS’ Destroyer–wrote an opinion piece for the Lefsetz Letter in February 2016 criticizing Yeezy’s artistry, and he didn’t mince words. Ezrin called West’s songwriting “sophomoric at best” and said his work isn’t timeless like some of Jay Z and Tupac’s songs. “But in spite of what the aspirationally-cool media keeps saying about him, unlike other creators in his genre like Jay-Z, Tupac, Biggie or even M.C. Hammer for that matter, it’s unlikely that we’ll be quoting too many of Kanye’s songs 20 years from now,” he wrote. Ezrin also added, “Kanye’s greatest achievements have been in the form of excessive behavior, egomaniacal tantrums and tasteless grandstanding.” You know West clapped back. Soon after Ezrin’s essay went live, ’Ye took to his favorite website Twitter and spilled some tea. “Has anybody ever heard of Bob Ezrin??? he tweeted. “Bob please never speak in public again… you are everything that is wrong with the old guard …” Read the full string of tweets here. Vicious AF.
West isn’t a Twitter rant rookie. Relive one of his most iconic 140-character feuds with Wiz Khalifa in the video below.